It's been called "old reliable."

Just off Highway 12 near in Avon, Montana, when you're driving west from MacDonald Pass, there's a freshwater spring near the roadway. If you're not paying attention it might look like any other stretch of Montana highway that rolls over hills and past ranches, but at the base of a hill covered in scree is a freshwater spring that has been producing water for years.

MacDonald Pass Montana
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This spring is popular. It's on public land and there's no fee for the water. You'll see that even when the Google Van was driving by people were stopped by the side of the road filling their jugs with water.

A friend who grew up in the area shared that it was a regular stop every time they drove over MacDonald Pass. Another friend says their young son calls it "Magical Mountain Water."

But is it safe to drink?

Montana's Fresh Water Springs

Drinking any spring water in Montana should be tested first. Even though spring water can have healthy minerals, it can still contain contaminants according to FindaSpring.org. If you drink the water, you are doing so at your own risk.

If you are out recreating in Montana another option is to have a portable water filter with you. That way, even if the water comes from a freshwater spring, there's a better chance that it's clean.

READ MORE: If You See a Montana Tree With a Ball of Leaves, It's Not a Birds' Nest

The FindaSpring website has crowdsourced information from people who have visited the spring at MacDonald Pass. One entry gave detailed information about the water from a visit in 2021. Others mentioned illness after drinking the water. Again, testing is recommended and you're drinking at your own risk.

If you're just curious about where there are other freshwater springs in Montana--FindAspring has a map of springs all over Montana, and all over the world with GPS coordinates for every site.

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