Nestled in the Garnet Mountain Range about an hour’s drive east of Montana, visitors can tour a rich historical site at Garnet Ghost Town. This ghost town is well-preserved with the remaining buildings carefully stabilized to keep the roofs and walls intact.
When to Visit: Open year round. Vehicle access is best during summer months. Snowmobiles make the trip in the winter months.
Hours: There is a small visitor center and gift store open daily during summer months from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Fee: $3 per person, 15 years or older.
Where: From Missoula, take I90 east to Montana Route 200 and turn south at Garnet Range Road between mile markers 22 and 23. There is a small sign on the highway indicating the turn. Follow the road to the parking area approximately 12 miles.
Facilities: Restrooms, drinking water, and picnic tables are available. The site is managed by the Bureau of Land Management.
What is Garnet Ghost Town?
Garnet Ghost Town is a great touring spot for all ages. Children will enjoy exploring the buildings and looking for ghosts, while adults will enjoy learning the mining history of the town. You can easily plan to spend a half day here, taking in the sites and having a picnic lunch.
Once you arrive at the parking area, take the short hiking trail down to the town. If you are disabled, you can bypass the upper parking area and drive to the lower parking area where several disabled parking spots are available. Keep your eyes and ears open for wildlife as you walk down into and around the town. Deer, rabbits, squirrels and other animals are frequent visitors.
At the end of the short hiking trail, you can pick up a Garnet Ghost Town walking guide. This guide contains some interesting historical information about the town as well as a map with a tour of 22 buildings. You can enter most of the buildings and explore at your own pace. Some buildings still have old artifacts, furniture, or wall coverings. In some buildings, artifacts are enclosed behind protective cases to preserve them. In other buildings, you can still touch objects such as an old stove at the jail or equipment in the blacksmith shop.
If you visit during the summer months, be sure to stop by the Dahl Saloon which is now the site of a small visitor center and gift shop. Ask the staff for a treasure map for the kids or a letterbox challenge for yourself. You can purchase books, clothing, and souvenirs at the store. Kids may enjoy picking out a special rock to buy for $1.
There are 2 very primitive cabins that you can rent at Garnet Ghost Town during the winter months, from December 1 to April 30. Imagine staying here in a cabin with few visitors and listening to the sounds of the past. Cabins have wood stoves, propane lights, and outhouses. You can choose to rent the Dahl Cabin for $40 per night for up to 6 people or the McDonald Cabin for $30 a night for up to 4 people.