Rainbow Valley Lodge
History of a Madison River Fishing Lodge
In the summer of 1957, construction of the Rainbow Valley Motel began in Ennis.
The motel opened in 1958 with 7 rooms and owner’s quarters in what is now #10. Rooms were $8 per night! The Motel was named for the numerous double rainbows commonly seen in the valley and for the numerous rainbow trout in the Madison River.
The Hebgen Lake Earthquake struck in 1959 prompting the owner of the new motel to sell in 1960.
The Story’s purchased the Motel in 1960 and owned it until 1973. In that time they added 4 more rooms and built on a two bedroom home.
In 1973, Bill and Karen Dringle owned and operated the Rainbow Valley Motel. In that time, they added 6 more rooms, another two bedrooms and a bath to the owners quarters and the swimming pool.
Don and Laurie Swynenburg bought the Rainbow Valley Motel in 1984 and owned it until 1989.
In 1989, Ed and Jeanne Williams purchased the Motel. They built rooms 29-34 in 1994 at the height of the Whirling Disease epidemic which struck the rainbow trout in the Madison River. Expanding a bit, they purchased an adjoining 4.3 acres in 1997. In 2004, they built on the lodge and O’Dell Creek Fly Shop offering flies and supplies to guests and visitors. Adding off-property cabins allowed for larger groups to enjoy the Madison River valley and the unequaled hospitality Ed and Jeanne offer today.