Montana Ghost Town Route

Visit Montana's ghost towns and deepen your experience of our history!

Layers
Yellowstone National Park
1
Yellowstone National Park
Natural Area | National Park
You'll need more than a day to have an experience of a lifetime!

Just yesterday, in geological time, the area that is now Yellowstone National Park exploded, creating a caldera 35 miles wide and 45 miles long. A mere 640,000 years later, geysers, mud pots, and fumeroles remind visitors that this precious…

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West Yellowstone, Montana
2
West Yellowstone, Montana
Community | Village or Town
Take a little time to stroll through this authentic Rocky Mountain town

West Yellowstone was incorporated in 1966 but has existed as a gateway community to Yellowstone National Park since the early 1900s. The most recent census reported that West Yellowstone has a population of approximately 1200 people, but our…

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Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center
3
Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center
Museum, Theater, Interpretive Center | Nature and Wildlife Center
Keep checking their web site for special events and activities!

See live grizzly bears and wolves and get a fascinating glimpse into their worlds! Watch the bears forage for food and play in their ponds and with each other. Early morning and evening visitors may witness active wolf packs howling. Activities include:…

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Hebgen Lake Earthquake
4
Hebgen Lake Earthquake
Natural Area | Lake, River, or Waterfall
Stop and view what is not only a beautiful lake, but a moment in geological time and history

The 6-mile (10-kilometer) long Quake Lake began to fill in 1959 when an earthquake-triggered landslide plugged the Madison River canyon. The slide buried 19 campers, but protected the lower Madison Valley from the tsunamis that sloshed over…

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Virginia City, Montana
5
Virginia City, Montana
Historic or Pre-historic Place | Historic Site or District
Stay overnight in this very much alive ghost town! Explore this remarkably well preserved old west Victorian gold mining town just 20 miles west of Yellowstone National Park

ll of Montana has the deepest pride and affection for Virginia City. No more colorful pioneer mining camp ever existed. Dramatic tales of the early days in this vicinity are legion. Rich placer diggings were discovered in Alder Gulch in the…

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Madison County Courthouse
6
Madison County Courthouse
Historic or Pre-historic Place | Historic Site or District
The new Montana Territorial Legislature named Virginia City as the territorial capital in the Legislature Act of 1865, moving the seat of government from Bannack. Virginia City lost the honor of being Territorial Capital to Helena in 1875, but the town remains the Madison County seat.
Virginia City is a living town of 150 year round residents who host the West's best preserved gold mining town from the 1860s. Visitors walk the same boardwalks that desperate Vigilantes once patrolled. Guests are transported to a time when rowdy…
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Nevada City Ghost Town
7
Nevada City Ghost Town
Historic or Pre-historic Place | Historic Site or District
Just 1 ½ miles west of Virginia City, the old mining camp of Nevada City is definitely worth the visit

Just 1 ½ miles west of its more popular neighbor ofVirginia City, the old mining camp of Nevada City got its start at the same time when gold was discovered in Alder Gulch in 1863. In fact, numerous settlements were established all along Alder Gulch,…

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Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge
8
Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge
Natural Area | Fish and Wildlife Refuge
The best time to visit the Refuge for most activities is from May through September.
Just 33 miles to West Yellowstone Red Rock Lakes National Wioldlife Refuge (NWR) is a great place for wildlife viewing and bird watching. The Refuge was established in 1935 to protect the rare trumpeter swan. Today, this 45,000 acre Refuge…
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Bannack Ghost Town, Montana
9
Bannack Ghost Town, Montana
Historic or Pre-historic Place | Historic Site or District
Over sixty structures remain standing, most of which can be explored. People from all over visit this renowned ghost town and Montana State Park to discover their heritage.

Bannack was founded in 1862 when John White discovered gold on Grasshopper Creek. As news of the gold strike spread many prospectors and businessmen rushed to Bannack hoping to strike it rich. In 1864, Bannack was named as the first Territorial…

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Crystal Park
10
Crystal Park
Natural Area | National Forest
This is a great place for prospecting, rock hounding, and invertebrate fossil hunting!

Crystal Park is a unique recreation area at an elevation of 7,800 feet in the Pioneer Mountains in southwest Montana. Crystal Park is open for day use only and has a fee per car. Facilities include 3 picnic sites with tables and grills,…

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Garnet Ghost Town
11
Garnet Ghost Town
Historic or Pre-historic Place | Historic Site or District
Don't stop here! Continue to Colona Ghost Town via the Garnet Backcountry Byway and other attractions north to Glacier National Park. Go to: http://crownofthecontinent.natgeotourism.com/content/montana-ghost-town-route/cotc50211204825d2b01. Or, see other discoveries in Montana Ghost Towns at: http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/local-montana/small-towns-ghost-towns-road-trip/. Or, do you want to see what other travel experiences are possible in Montana? Go to: http://montanapressroom.com/story-ideas/between-the-parks-two-day-road-trips-across-big-sk/

There was a time, a hundred years ago, that Garnet was a thriving town, filled with gold miners and their families. Working hard to carve out a community in the heart of the Garnet Mountains. In 1898, somewhere around 1,000 people called Garnet…

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the best travel advice comes from the people who live here
Tim O'Donoghue

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Trip Plan Details

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In This Trip Plan

1 Yellowstone National Park
2 West Yellowstone, Montana
3 Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center
4 Hebgen Lake Earthquake
5 Virginia City, Montana
6 Madison County Courthouse
7 Nevada City Ghost Town
8 Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge
9 Bannack Ghost Town, Montana
10 Crystal Park
11 Garnet Ghost Town