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Ghost Towns & Mining Camps of Montana

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There are numerous ghost towns in Montana that provide vivid peeks into the life in the Old West, especially at the many old mining camps located in the "Treasure State." From the time that gold was first discovered in Gold Creek in 1852 to the first major gold rush boom in Bannack in July, 1862, and all the way through today, millions of dollars in gold, silver, copper, zinc and other precious ores have been scoured from the mountains of Montana. Some of the best known mining towns include such places as Virginia City and Nevada City in Alder Gulch; Bannack, where the first gold rush and first territorial capitol were located; Elkhorn and Comet, which continue to display numerous old structures; all the way up to Butte, which is not a ghost town, but has a long mining history.


Along with these many historic sites, legends and tales of outlaw gangs, road agents, ghosts, and hidden treasures also abound along with the state's rich history.


Ghost Towns and Mining Camps:


Gold Creek, Montana

Gold was first discovered at Gold Creek in what became  known as

 the Pioneer Mining District in 1852. This old  mining equipment

in the creek,  as well as numerous  tailings lining the banks, attest to

 later dredging  to recover  any precious ore left in the area.

This image available for photographic prints and editorial downloads HERE!





Bannack, MontanaBannack - From Gold to Ghosts - Beaverhead County, mining camp ghost town, some 50 preserved buildings, currently a state park.


Barker & Hughesville - Ghost Camps in the Little Belt Mountains -  Judith Basin County, two mining camps located just two miles apart, a few scattered cabins and mining remnants.

Basin - Mining Camp to Artist's Retreat - Jefferson County, semi-ghost, mining camp, active town of about 250 residents, historic buildings and mining remains.


Cable - Deer Lodge County, abandoned mining camp, just a few buildings and the Gold Coin Mine and Mill. Located on private property, but can be viewed from the highway.


Castle Town, aka: Castle City, Castle - Meager County, mining ghost town, no residents, just a few buildings, privately owned.


Charter Oak Mine & Mill - Powell County, mine, mill and a few buildings.


Coloma Mining District - Missoula County, just a few tumbling buildings and mining remains.


Comet - Silent on the Eastern Slope - Jefferson County, numerous buildings in various states of decay, mill operations.


Cushman - Golden Valley County, fading remains of old ranching town.


Elkhorn Survives - Jefferson County, mining camp, ghost town, several remaining buildings, a few  residents.

Ewing - Carbon County, ghost ranch, in Big Horn Canyon National Recreation Area. 


Farlin - Beaverhead County, just a few remaining buildings and mining remains.


Garnet - Best Kept Ghost Town Secret - Granite County, mining ghost town, preserved by Bureau of Land Management, several buildings, on-site caretakers, no other residents.


Glendale - See Hecla Mining District


Gold Creek - Powell County, site of first gold discovery, no mining remains in town, but some just to the southwest of town.


Granite - Montana's Silver Queen - Granite County, mining camp, several buildings, mine and mill. 


Hassel - Broadwater County, mining camp, active mining operation, a few old buildings.


Hecla Mining District - Beaverhead County, remains of several mining camps, including Hecla, Glendale, and Lion Mountain, a few remaining buildings and mining remains.


Homestead - Sheridan County, semi-ghost, railroad/agriculture town, less than 50 residents, no active businesses. 


Independence - Park County, mining camp located high in the Absaroka Range, several buildings including an old brothel, mining remains. Requires high clearance vehicle.


Jardine, aka: Bush - Park County, mining remains, old cabins.


Kendall - Fergus County, mining remains and a few old structures.

Kirkville - Clark County, just a few remaining buildings, private property.

Laurin - Madison County, not a ghost town, mining camp, several historic buildings.

Lion City - See Hecla Mining District

Marysville - Growing Once Again - Lewis and Clark County, mining camp, current residents, restored, preserved, and tumbling buildings. Mine is being reactivated.


Elkhorn, Montana

Two of the most photographed buildings in Montana

 include Gillian Hall on the left and the Fraternity hall on

 the right. Both buildings form Montana's smallest state

 park today. July, 2008, Kathy Weiser.

This image available for photographic prints and editorial downloads HERE!


Nevada City - Outdoor History Museum - Madison County, one time mining camp, collection of original, moved, and recreated buildings.


Pony - Madison County, mining town, semi-ghost, active residents, numerous historic buildings and mining remains

Princeton - Granite County, only a few dwellings occupied by summer residents.

Red Bluff -  Madison County, just a couple of buildings, mining remains to the south.


Rochester - Madison county, mining camp, a few stone buildings and mining remains.


Rimini Lives On - Lewis and Clark County, mining camp, current residents, several historic buildings.


Southern Cross - Deer Lodge County, a few remaining buildings, endangered due to redevelopment.

Vipond/Quartz Hill - Beaverhead County, a few building and mining remains.  

Virginia City - A Lively Ghost Town - Madison County, restored mining camp, active town, numerous historic buildings, caters to tourists.


Zortman - Phillips County, mining camp, mining and building ruins.




Montana Ghost Town Slideshow:



All images available for prints & editorial downloads HERE.



Ghost Town IconTake nothing but photos - leave nothing  but footprints -

break nothing but silence - kill nothing but time.


--Explorer's Code


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From Legends' General Store

Ghost Towns: America's Lost World DVDKathy Weiser-AlexanderGhost Towns (America's Lost World) 2 Disc DVD


Unearth America's Lost World! This 5-Part series ventures into the roots of our nations high hopes and hard labors to discover the towns that boomed fast and went bust even faster. Through original footage, interviews with experts and archival materials, this fascinating documentary takes viewers on an amazing journey through our abandoned history. From the deserts of California and mountains of Colorado to the forts, trails and battle sites of war, witness the precious remains of the past that only exist today as shadows of former glories and empty promises.

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