Between Yellowstone and Glacier, 3 Must-See Mining Ghost Towns sponsored by Southwest Montana

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Out West, when the gold ran out, the people often did, too. See for yourself with a visit to Southwest Montana’s best-preserved ghost towns.

Walk the deserted streets of Bannack State Park to step right into the Old West. A registered historic landmark and the site of Montana’s first major gold discovery in 1862, history and heritage surround you here. The first territorial capital, Bannack was once home to the infamous Sheriff Henry Plummer, who was hanged by a vigilante committee without a trial. Decide his innocence for yourself. Town tours, mill tours, living history, gold panning and Saturday entertainment programs are scheduled Memorial Day through Labor Day. Learn more about Bannack HERE.

Garnet Ghost Town sits at the head of First Chance Creek in west-central Montana. Its population boomed in the 1890s when mining companies consolidated the best properties in the area as millions of dollars in gold were extracted. There were hotels, saloons, stores, a school, a Chinese laundry and a barbershop during the town’s prime. But by 1950 it was deserted. Today, enjoy a self-guided ghost town experience through the preserved buildings. Learn more about Garnet Ghost Town HERE.

Step back in time and relive the Montana frontier gold rush experience in Virginia City. A short drive from Yellowstone, Virginia City offers stagecoach rides, gem mining, ghost tours, train rides, fire truck tours and old-time theatre. A vast National Historic Landmark, Virginia City and neighboring Nevada City are home to America’s finest collection of 1860s “boom town” buildings plus collections of Old West artifacts. Learn more about Virginia City HERE.

For more memorable trip ideas, visit Southwest Montana. Plan your trip at SouthwestMT.com.

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Rhiannon Deremo

Editor of Social Media at True West Magazine.