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retire

Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!

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Thompson Falls, Montana

A Scenic Setting, Outstanding Outdoor Recreation, a Beautiful Golf Course and Abundant Wildlife are Thompson Falls Highlights

Pretty Thompson Falls sits in a lush valley on the banks of the Clark Fork River in northwestern Montana's Rocky Mountains and started out as a fur trading post in 1809. It is completely surrounded by national forests, lakes and rivers and is a remote spot, 100 miles from Missoula and 135 miles away from Coeur D'Alene, Idaho.

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The primary draw here, aside from the breathtaking scenery, is the unlimited outdoor recreation. Opportunities for hiking, camping, kayaking, canoeing, horseback riding, fishing, snowmobiling, cross country skiing, wildlife viewing and more are around every corner. Two reservoirs below the Thompson Falls Dam sparkle, and the River's Bend Golf Course is beautiful. Herds of big horn sheep graze just outside of town, and black bears, deer and moose are never far away. Downtown has wide streets, a couple of gas stations, some mom and pop restaurants, pubs, a movie theater, a grocery, a few banks, outfitters and a liquor store. Two casinos are here, too.

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Most homes sit on a hill overlooking town and include ranch ramblers, cabins, A-frames and chalets.

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Population:  1,500 (city proper)

Percentage of Population Age 45 or Better:  46%

Cost of Living:  9% below national average

Median Home Price: $453,000

Climate:    Thompson Falls' climate is milder than other parts of Montana, but winter temperatures are still in the 20s and 30s, and skies are often overcast. Summer temperatures are in the 80s and 90s. On average, the area receives 20 inches of rain and 40 inches of snow each year. The elevation is 2,556 feet above sea level.

At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients?   No. Thompson Falls does not have a hospital (but it has a medical clinic). The nearest hospital is in Plains, 23 miles away. At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission? No. The nearest accredited hospital is 55 miles away in Polson.

Public Transit:   No

Crime Rate:  Meets the national average

Public Library:    Yes, but it is small.

Political Leanings:   Conservative

Is Montana Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement?    No

Cons: Thompson Falls is on two lane Highway 200, which can be treacherous in winter. Interstate 90 is 50 miles away.

Notes:    Not far from town, a sawmill and a mining operation (United States Antimony Corporation) provide employment. The population started dropping in 2010 but has since rebounded. Home prices have increased 21% since a year ago.

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Recommended as a Retirement Spot?   Yes, although the lack of a hospital should be weighed if thinking of retirement here.

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Montana:

By area, Montana is the fourth largest state in the United States. With an average of only six people per square mile, it is one of the country's least populated states. This Big Sky Country was the 41st state to enter the union in 1889 and is home to 12 tribal nations.

Split by the Continental Divide, the state can experience dramatic climate differences from east to west. The west usually has milder winters and cooler summers than the east. Western Montana is characterized rocky peaks, forests, streams and lakes, while eastern Montana is open prairie punctuated by occasional buttes and hills. This prairie is drained by the Missouri River and its tributaries. Elk, moose, and grizzly bears are still abundant across the state.

Although manufacturing, tourism, and minerals contribute to Montana's wealth, agriculture may be the top economic driver. Cattle, calves, barley, hay, and black cherries are important products.

Tourist favorites include Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument and Glacier National Park. The Park contains 250 lakes. The largest, Flathead, is 28 miles long and between five and 15 feet wide.

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