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List of counties in Montana

Counties of Montana
LocationState of Montana
Populations554 (Petroleum) – 170,843 (Yellowstone)
Areas718 square miles (1,860 km2) (Silver Bow) – 5,543 square miles (14,360 km2) (Beaverhead)

This is a list of the counties in the U.S. state of Montana. There are 56 counties in the state.

Montana has two consolidated city-counties—Anaconda with Deer Lodge County and Butte with Silver Bow County. The portion of Yellowstone National Park that lies within Montana was not part of any county until 1978, when part of it was nominally added to Gallatin County, and the rest of it to Park County.

Montana's postal abbreviation is MT and its FIPS state code is 30.


The Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) code, which is used by the United States government to uniquely identify counties, is provided for each county. The FIPS code for each county links to census data for that county.

FIPS code[1] County seat[2] Est.[2] Origin Etymology License plate prefix
Population[5] Area Map
Beaverhead County 001 Dillon February 2, 1865 Original County Beaverhead Rock in the Jefferson River, which is shaped like a beaver's head.[6] 18 9,885 5,543 sq mi
(14,356 km2)
State map highlighting Beaverhead County
Big Horn County 003 Hardin January 13, 1913 Rosebud County, Yellowstone County Bighorn sheep in the area.[7][8] 22 12,751 4,995 sq mi
(12,937 km2)
State map highlighting Big Horn County
Blaine County 005 Chinook February 29, 1912 Chouteau County James G. Blaine (1830–1893), United States Secretary of State and presidential candidate.[9] 24 6,899 4,226 sq mi
(10,945 km2)
State map highlighting Blaine County
Broadwater County 007 Townsend February 9, 1897 Jefferson County, Meagher County Charles A. Broadwater (1840–1892), a pioneer in the area and colonel in the United States Army.[10] 43 8,032 1,192 sq mi
(3,087 km2)
State map highlighting Broadwater County
Carbon County 009 Red Lodge March 4, 1895 Park County, Yellowstone County Coal deposits in the area.[8] 10 11,419 2,048 sq mi
(5,304 km2)
State map highlighting Carbon County
Carter County 011 Ekalaka February 22, 1917 Fallon County Thomas Henry Carter (1854–1911), a U.S. Senator from Montana.[11] 42 1,418 3,340 sq mi
(8,651 km2)
State map highlighting Carter County
Cascade County 013 Great Falls September 12, 1887 Chouteau County, Meagher County Great Falls of the Missouri River. 2 84,900 2,698 sq mi
(6,988 km2)
State map highlighting Cascade County
Chouteau County 015 Fort Benton February 2, 1865 Original County Jean Pierre Chouteau (1758–1849) and his son Pierre Chouteau, Jr. (1789–1865). They were part of the Chouteau fur-trading family. 19 5,847 3,973 sq mi
(10,290 km2)
State map highlighting Chouteau County
Custer County 017 Miles City February 2, 1865 Original County Originally Big Horn County,[12] renamed February 16, 1877 for George Armstrong Custer 14 11,985 3,783 sq mi
(9,798 km2)
State map highlighting Custer County
Daniels County 019 Scobey August 30, 1920 Sheridan County, Valley County Mansfield A. Daniels (1858 - 1919), an early rancher and storekeeper 37 1,633 1,426 sq mi
(3,693 km2)
State map highlighting Daniels County
Dawson County 021 Glendive January 15, 1869 Unorganized lands Andrew Dawson, a trapping official and major in the United States Army 16 8,810 2,373 sq mi
(6,146 km2)
State map highlighting Dawson County
Deer Lodge County 023 Anaconda February 2, 1865 Original County Deer Lodge Valley, which in turn was either named for the Native American name "Lodge of the White-tailed Deer" or a salt lick where deer came in droves 30 9,673 737 sq mi
(1,909 km2)
State map highlighting Deer Lodge County
Fallon County 025 Baker December 9, 1913 Custer County Benjamin O'Fallon, a Federal Native American agent 39 2,994 1,620 sq mi
(4,196 km2)
State map highlighting Fallon County
Fergus County 027 Lewistown March 12, 1885 Chouteau County, Meagher County Andrew Fergus (1850 - 1928), one of the first settlers in the county 8 11,772 4,339 sq mi
(11,238 km2)
State map highlighting Fergus County
Flathead County 029 Kalispell February 6, 1893 Missoula County Flathead Native Americans 7 113,679 5,099 sq mi
(13,206 km2)
State map highlighting Flathead County
Gallatin County 031 Bozeman February 2, 1865 Original County Albert Gallatin (1761–1849), the United States Secretary of the Treasury at the time of the Lewis and Clark Expedition 6 126,409 2,507 sq mi
(6,493 km2)
State map highlighting Gallatin County
Garfield County 033 Jordan February 7, 1919 Dawson County James A. Garfield (1831–1881), the twentieth President of the United States 50 1,211 4,668 sq mi
(12,090 km2)
State map highlighting Garfield County
Glacier County 035 Cut Bank February 17, 1919 Teton County Glacier National Park, which borders the county 38 13,609 2,995 sq mi
(7,757 km2)
State map highlighting Glacier County
Golden Valley County 037 Ryegate October 4, 1920 Musselshell County, Sweet Grass County Probably named in a promotional attempt to lure settlers to the area 53 835 1,175 sq mi
(3,043 km2)
State map highlighting Golden Valley County
Granite County 039 Philipsburg March 2, 1893 Deer Lodge County, Missoula County Named for the granite rock which is common in the area's mountains and also held the area's rich gold and silver ore; the old mining town of Granite shared the name.[13] 46 3,595 1,728 sq mi
(4,475 km2)
State map highlighting Granite County
Hill County 041 Havre February 22, 1912 Chouteau County James J. Hill (1838–1916), a leading railroad tycoon 12 16,276 2,896 sq mi
(7,501 km2)
State map highlighting Hill County
Jefferson County 043 Boulder February 2, 1865 Original County Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), the third President of the United States 51 13,048 1,657 sq mi
(4,292 km2)
State map highlighting Jefferson County
Judith Basin County 045 Stanford December 10, 1920 Cascade County, Fergus County The Judith River which was in turn named by William Clark for Julia "Judith" Hancock, whom he would later marry 36 2,093 1,870 sq mi
(4,843 km2)
State map highlighting Judith Basin County
Lake County 047 Polson May 11, 1923 Flathead County, Missoula County Flathead Lake 15 33,338 1,494 sq mi
(3,869 km2)
State map highlighting Lake County
Lewis and Clark County 049 Helena February 2, 1865 Original County Originally Edgerton County), renamed March 1, 1868 for Meriwether Lewis and William Clark 5 75,011 3,461 sq mi
(8,964 km2)
State map highlighting Lewis and Clark County
Liberty County 051 Chester February 11, 1920 Chouteau County, Hill County The sentiment of the inhabitants when the county was formed soon after World War I 48 1,974 1,430 sq mi
(3,704 km2)
State map highlighting Liberty County
Lincoln County 053 Libby March 9, 1909 Flathead County Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865), the 16th President of the United States 56 21,895 3,613 sq mi
(9,358 km2)
State map highlighting Lincoln County
Madison County 057 Virginia City February 2, 1865 Original County James Madison (1751–1836), the fourth President of the United States and the Secretary of State at the time of the Lewis and Clark Expedition 25 9,521 3,587 sq mi
(9,290 km2)
State map highlighting Madison County
McCone County 055 Circle February 20, 1919 Dawson County, Richland County George McCone (1853 - 1929), a Montana state senator who helped create the county 41 1,676 2,643 sq mi
(6,845 km2)
State map highlighting McCone County
Meagher County 059 White Sulphur Springs November 16, 1867 Chouteau County, Gallatin County Thomas Francis Meagher (1823–1867), an acting Governor of the Montana Territory 47 2,071 2,392 sq mi
(6,195 km2)
State map highlighting Meagher County
Mineral County 061 Superior August 7, 1914 Missoula County Many mines and mining prospects within the county 54 5,090 1,220 sq mi
(3,160 km2)
State map highlighting Mineral County
Missoula County 063 Missoula February 2, 1865 Original County Supposedly a contraction of the Flathead word, "im-i-sul-e-etiku", meaning "by or near the place of fear or ambush", a reference to Hell Gate Canyon, in which Flathead Native Americans were sometimes attacked by Blackfeet 4 121,849 2,598 sq mi
(6,729 km2)
State map highlighting Missoula County
Musselshell County 065 Roundup February 11, 1911 Fergus County, Meagher County, Yellowstone County The Musselshell River, named in turn by the Lewis and Clark Expedition presumably due to mussels found on its banks 23 5,308 1,867 sq mi
(4,836 km2)
State map highlighting Musselshell County
Park County 067 Livingston February 23, 1887 Gallatin County Nearby Yellowstone National Park 49 17,903 2,656 sq mi
(6,879 km2)
State map highlighting Park County
Petroleum County 069 Winnett November 24, 1924 Fergus County The production of petroleum at Cat Creek 55 554 1,654 sq mi
(4,284 km2)
State map highlighting Petroleum County
Phillips County 071 Malta February 5, 1915 Blaine County, Valley County Benjamin D. Phillips (1857 - 1926), a leading rancher and early pioneer in the county 11 4,249 5,140 sq mi
(13,313 km2)
State map highlighting Phillips County
Pondera County 073 Conrad February 17, 1919 Chouteau County, Teton County Originally pend d'oreille, French words meaning "ear pendant"; the name was changed to a form resembling the phonetic spelling to avoid confusion with the lake and town of the same name in Idaho and of a county in Washington. 26 6,125 1,625 sq mi
(4,209 km2)
State map highlighting Pondera County
Powder River County 075 Broadus March 7, 1919 Custer County The Powder River, named in turn for the gunpowder-like sand on its shores 9 1,743 3,297 sq mi
(8,539 km2)
State map highlighting Powder River County
Powell County 077 Deer Lodge January 31, 1901 Deer Lodge County Mount Powell, which in turn was named for John Wesley Powell (1834–1902), the early environmentalist and explorer 28 7,133 2,326 sq mi
(6,024 km2)
State map highlighting Powell County
Prairie County 079 Terry February 5, 1915 Dawson County, Fallon County The county's location on the Great Plains 45 1,112 1,737 sq mi
(4,499 km2)
State map highlighting Prairie County
Ravalli County 081 Hamilton February 16, 1893 Missoula County Anthony Ravalli (1812–1884), a Jesuit missionary who came to the area in 1845 13 47,738 2,394 sq mi
(6,200 km2)
State map highlighting Ravalli County
Richland County 083 Sidney May 27, 1914 Dawson County Named so as to depict fertile soil, in an attempt to lure in settlers 27 11,173 2,084 sq mi
(5,398 km2)
State map highlighting Richland County
Roosevelt County 085 Wolf Point February 18, 1919 Sheridan County Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919), the 26th President of the United States 17 10,319 2,356 sq mi
(6,102 km2)
State map highlighting Roosevelt County
Rosebud County 087 Forsyth February 11, 1901 Custer County The Rosebud River, which was named for the many wild roses along its banks 29 8,160 5,012 sq mi
(12,981 km2)
State map highlighting Rosebud County
Sanders County 089 Thompson Falls February 7, 1905 Missoula County Wilbur Fiske Sanders (1834–1905), a pioneer, vigilante, and U.S. Senator from Montana 35 13,684 2,762 sq mi
(7,154 km2)
State map highlighting Sanders County
Sheridan County 091 Plentywood March 24, 1913 Valley County Philip Sheridan (1831–1888), Civil War general 34 3,498 1,677 sq mi
(4,343 km2)
State map highlighting Sheridan County
Silver Bow County 093 Butte February 16, 1881 Deer Lodge County Silver Bow Creek; there are multiple theories explaining how the creek was named 1 36,360 718 sq mi
(1,860 km2)
State map highlighting Silver Bow County
Stillwater County 095 Columbus March 24, 1913 Carbon County, Sweet Grass County, Yellowstone County Stillwater River, ironically named for its very fast current 32 9,173 1,795 sq mi
(4,649 km2)
State map highlighting Stillwater County
Sweet Grass County 097 Big Timber March 5, 1895 Meagher County, Park County, Yellowstone County The abundant sweet grass in the county 40 3,763 1,855 sq mi
(4,804 km2)
State map highlighting Sweet Grass County
Teton County 099 Choteau February 7, 1893 Chouteau County The Teton Range which is in turn named for the French word for 'nipple', teton 31 6,430 2,273 sq mi
(5,887 km2)
State map highlighting Teton County
Toole County 101 Shelby May 7, 1914 Hill County, Teton County Joseph Toole (1851–1929), the first and fourth Governor of Montana 21 5,133 1,911 sq mi
(4,949 km2)
State map highlighting Toole County
Treasure County 103 Hysham February 7, 1919 Rosebud County Named promotionally to attract new settlers 33 772 979 sq mi
(2,536 km2)
State map highlighting Treasure County
Valley County 105 Glasgow February 6, 1893 Dawson County Much of the county lies within the valley of the Milk River 20 7,474 4,921 sq mi
(12,745 km2)
State map highlighting Valley County
Wheatland County 107 Harlowton February 22, 1917 Meagher County, Sweet Grass County The many wheat fields in the county 44 2,057 1,423 sq mi
(3,686 km2)
State map highlighting Wheatland County
Wibaux County 109 Wibaux August 17, 1914 Dawson County, Fallon County, Richland County Pierre Wibaux (1858–1913), a pioneer and cattleman 52 910 889 sq mi
(2,302 km2)
State map highlighting Wibaux County
Yellowstone County 111 Billings February 26, 1883 Custer County The Yellowstone River, named in turn for the yellow rocks found along its shores 3 170,843 2,635 sq mi
(6,825 km2)
State map highlighting Yellowstone County

Previous counties

Extinct counties

County equivalents

See also


  1. ^ "EPA County FIPS Code Listing". Retrieved February 23, 2008.
  2. ^ a b National Association of Counties. "NACo – Find a county". Archived from the original on April 21, 2005. Retrieved April 26, 2007.
  3. ^ "Montana county seats & corresponding license plate numbers". Montana Association of Counties. Retrieved January 2, 2022.
  4. ^ "What's the deal with Montana's license plate numbering system?". Billings Gazette. May 2, 2014. Retrieved January 2, 2022.
  5. ^ "2023 U.S. Census QuickFacts: Montana". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved April 20, 2024.
  6. ^ Muntmyler, L. E. (April 1914). "An Enjoyable Water Trip?". Hunter-Trader-Trapper. Columbus, Ohio: A. R. Harding: 52.
  7. ^ Greene, Jerome (2008). Stricken Field: The Little Bighorn Since 1876 (Hardcover). Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press. p. 263. ISBN 978-0-8061-3791-9.
  8. ^ a b Hill, Thomas (1915). The Open Door To Independence. Chicago, Illinois: Hill Standard Book Company. p. 225.
  9. ^ Fay, Robert; Branson, Carl (1959). "Oklahoma Geological Survey" (PDF).
  10. ^ "Guidebook … Annual Field Conference" (13). 1962: 143. Townsend, Montana lies in the central part of Townsend Valley at an elevation of 3833 and is the county seat of Broadwater County. The town was named for an official of the Northern Pacific Railroad. The county was named for Colonel Charles A. Broadwater, an early pioneer. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  11. ^ "Carter County Montana". Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  12. ^ a b Big Horn County, Montana Territory was not the same county as present day Big Horn County, Montana.
  13. ^ "Montana Place Names from Alzada to Zortman". Montana Place Names Companion Website. Montana Historical Society and Montana State Library. Retrieved October 31, 2015.
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List of counties in Montana
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