When you visit Rapelje, Montana, you will discover a rural community whose main economic source comes from agriculture. Once a railroad stop, it is now a small farming community and a wildlife refuge. It has plenty of attractions for you to explore. Whether you want to take a hike or bike ride, this small community will make your visit to Montana memorable.

Agriculture is the mainstay of Rapelje communities

Rapelje is a small farming community that sits 25 miles north of Columbus, Montana. It is nestled between the Hailstone National Wildlife Refuge and the Halfbreed National Wildlife Refuge. It is considered one of the most productive areas in central Montana for shorebirds and waterfowl. In addition to its agricultural heritage, Rapelje is home to the original 24 hour mountain bike endurance race in Montana. The race takes place annually during the closest summer solstice weekend.

It was a railroad destination point

Before the railroad left town in the 1980s, the town was a thriving community that boasted grain elevators, a school district, a violin store, a cafe, and clothing stores. However, the population started to dwindle, and the local economy was hit hard. As a result, the town lost residents and sales and slowly dispersed over the following decades. Its town hall burned down and a hotel closed. Today, only a small portion of the town’s businesses remain, including a few houses, a church, and a grocery store.

The town was originally known as Lake Basin, and was named for J.M. Rapelje, the general manager of the Northern Pacific Railroad. In the late 1800s, Rapelje became a railroad workers’ town. It had multiple establishments, including four grain towers.

It is a wildlife refuge

Rapelje is an important wildlife refuge in northeast Minnesota. Located on the banks of the Big Lake, the area is home to numerous birds, including a variety of migratory species. The wildlife refuge is accessible by road. It is accessible from secondary Route 306 in Rapelje or on the county road, Hailstone Basin Road.

The wildlife refuge is located about 25 miles north of Columbus and is part of the Big Lake Complex. It is one of the best places to see waterfowl and shorebirds in central Montana. Rapelje is also home to Montana’s first 24-hour endurance mountain bike race, which takes place on the closest summer solstice weekend.