Ennis Outdoor Art Tour – Backroad to Yellowstone

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Ennis, Montana is a town that proudly admits it has an identity crisis.  Ennis is a cowboy-ranching town with a blue-ribbon fly-fishing river running through it.  We embrace both traditions enthusiastically which is reflected in the amazing collection of outdoor art.  Take some time to explore the many bronze sculptures and painted walls and you will see that our western heritage is celebrated right alongside our fly-fishing passion. Stop in the Ennis Chamber office and pick-up a guide or follow along on this website.  Enjoy your Outdoor Art Tour!

Location:  Main Street, Ennis

#1  “A Wreck Waiting to Happen” 

If a picture is worth a thousand words, this scene in Peter T’s Park on the grounds of the First Madison Valley Bank is a classic survival story.  Cowboy Jake has stopped to readjust the elk quarter from his successful hunt not knowing he has chosen a location fraught with danger.  Will the cub spook his horse?  Will Mama Grizzly charge? Can he reach his rifle to save himself? Decide the outcome for yourself! Artist Jim Dolan’s work can be seen across Montana. His metal sculptures of wildlife are lasting treasures that enhance our appreciation of our natural surroundings. Ennis proudly boasts three of Jim’s sculptures as their own. His work includes a gaggle of flying geese that welcome visitors at the Gallatin-Yellowstone International Airport.

 #2  Largest Hand-Tied Fly Ever

Symbolic of the importance of the Madison River to our valley, the giant “hand-tied” Royal Coachman fly atop the Tackle Shop was created by Tommy Williams. Tommy came to the valley in 1937 as a dude wrangler and had a number of careers – including owner of The Tackle Shop.

#3 The Last Packtrip

For a business sign that get attention, it would be hard to top the string of pack mules on the front of the Ennis Café. A. C. Lyon’s proposed the project which incorporated his talent for carving and building western themed art. It also paid homage to the outfitters of Madison County who donated their equipment to outfit the pack. Another Lyon’s creation is the hand- carved bar top in the Longbranch Saloon which incorporates game animals of the west. The bar was closed for 45 hours while he worked – a record dry spell for the patrons!

#4 Fishing Bench

If you pause to rest in front of the Ennis Pharmacy, you can enjoy the two “fishing” bears bench carved from pondersa pine and cedar by Dave Clarke.  Using just a chainsaw, Dave has been carving for over 30 years with exhibits in the US, Japan and Taiwan.

#5 Lone Elk 

Thousands of elk roam the Madison Valley, but this one got away and surveys Main Street from its perch at the Lone Elk Mall!  Weighing in at over 1000 pounds, this elk was created by Chris Navarro from Casper, Wyoming.  Chris began sculpting after careers in rodeo and the oil fields and specializes in wildlife and rodeo figures.  Emerson and Theda Hall built the Lone Elk mall and commissioned the statue.  

#6 Troutstalkers

On the corner of Third and Main St you can find a painting of the local scenery on the side of Montana Trout Stalkers Building.  Owner, Joe Dilschneider commissioned a large painting from Jackson Hole artist, Abby Paffrath.  In the large painting you can see the iconic Sphinx Mountain with a fisherman fighting a large brown trout in the Madison River.

#7 Berkshire Hathaway Building 

Dan and Mary McClain opened a premier bookstore and antique shop specializing in creels and other fishing equipment in the 1990’s.  Atop the store, the Blue Heron stands 6” tall and was created by Richard Baumann, a Belgrade resident who began his metal sculpting career by restoring old cars.  The inspiration for the heron came from the McClain’s logo and the feathered friends of the Madison Valley.  The store has been remodeled into the new offices for Berkshire Hathaway Real Estate.

Location – Beyond Main Street – North  

#8  Ennis Veteran’s Memorial “Cowboy Soldier” 

Created through the tireless efforts of Andy Debona (USMC, retired) the Madison Valley Veteran’s Memorial was created on the hill overlooking Ennis and the Madison Valley.  Keeping watch is a Montana cowboy/soldier created by world famous bronze sculptor and local resident Dave Lemon.  Dave’s generosity made the memorial possible by donating smaller sculptures for a fund raising effort.  Inscribed bricks honoring veterans with ties to the Madison Valley can be seen on the memorial’s walls.

#9 150 Foot Fisherman

Casting his line at the intersection of US Hwy 287 and MT State 287, the fisherman reminds all who come through Ennis of the love of outdoors and fishing that draws people to our community every summer.  Jim Dolan was commissioned to do this sculpture by a group of summer residents.

#10 Ennis Mustangs

Hometown pride shows in the Mustang Spirit Sculpture created in honor of  Ennis State Championship teams and their mascot.  Arden Ennis fans, ranchers Stanton and Kathleen Frisbee commissioned Jim Dolan to make this special tribute.

Location – Charles Street – 1 block off Main Street

#11 Mustang Herd

Emerson Hall gifted the amazing wild mustang herd to the Ennis schools in memory of his beloved wife, Theda in June, 2006.  The monument was sculpted by Douglas Van Howd whose art has been displayed in the White House and gifted to heads of state around the globe.

Location – 1.5 miles north of Ennis on US Hwy 287

#12 Surveyor Another Jim Dolan statue can be found just north of Ennis on US 287 in front of the American Land Title company building.  The building is shared with the title company and an architect, making the Surveyor an appropriate symbol of their professions.

#13 Sculpted Trout Ennis RV Village pays homage to the Rainbow and Brown Trout with this cast aluminum sculpture created by Dana Kuglin from Salt Lake City and commissioned by Steve Kack to enhance the entrance to the Ennis RV Village.

Location – 1 mile south of Ennis on US Hwy 287

#14  Wildlife Murals

The original log cabins at El Western were the perfect canvas for murals of local wildlife.  Featuring moose, proghorns, bison, coyotes and wolves these works have been maintained for over 35 years after being painted by Scott Fife in the late 1970s.  Inside the office, an usual painting of two opposite-facing eagles greets guests on arrival.  A rare pygmy rhinoceros done by Fife can also be spotted on Bear Creek Meadow.

Location – Various

#15 Trout of many Colors

Enormous trout can be seen leaping from many spots around the valley.   The trout were created by individual artists and raffled as a fund raising effort.   Each one is unique and has been placed or donated for display by the highest bidders.  How many can you find???

#16 Ennis Welcome Signs

The Ennis Lion’s Club sponsored the creation of these iconic western signs to welcome weary travelers to Ennis.  Widely known for friendly western hospitality, these signs reflect the town’s western heritage and Ennis tourism of today.

Things to eat, places to stay, and ways to play