Garnet Ghost Town and Recreation Area

Quick Facts

Garnet Ghost Town and Recreation Area

Montana

(406) 329-3914

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Garnet Ghost Town is one of Montana's best-preserved ghost towns. It is located in the northernmost tip of Granite County, nestled in the Garnet Range of the Rocky Mountains, about 40 miles southeast of Missoula, and 14 miles northwest of Drummond. At its peak, more than 100 years ago, Garnet was a thriving gold-mining town with numerous hotels, a newspaper and assay office, two barber shops, a meat market, several general stores, a blacksmith shop, a jail, a stage stop, and almost a dozen saloons.

Besides poking around the old ghost town, visitors can fish, hunt, cross-country ski, snowmobile, hike, and ride horses. Dispersed camping is permitted, and two public cabins are available for rent. The BLM grooms and marks trails in the winter.

The 12-mile long Garnet Back Country Byway climbs 2,000 feet through the scenic Garnet Range to Garnet Ghost Town. Thanks to extensive preservation efforts, the 30 buildings in this historic town look much the same as they did in 1895. Whether you just want to catch a view from your car window, put some miles on your four wheeler, or walk into a Wilderness study area there exists a wealth of Recreation opportunities around Garnet Ghost Town.

Just 10 miles from Garnet Ghost Town the 11,580 acre Wales Creek Wilderness Study Area (WSA) is an excellent place to hike. This area is characterized by rather steep timbered drainages ranging in elevation from 4,680 to nearly 7,000 feet. The WSA is heavily forested with stands of spruce, lodgepole pine, douglas fir and sub-alpine fir. Mining, grazing and firefighting activities have left structures and other imprints of human activity on portions; however, the majority of the WSA is essentially undisturbed by human activity. Fishing, hunting, OHV riding, and snowmobiling are also popular activities.

Map of Garnet Rec. Management Area

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Activities

  • Boating

    Canoe or kayak in the area's streams and rivers. No motorized boats in the wilderness study area.

  • Bicycling

    The Bureau of Land Management has designated over 30 miles of back country roads and trails for mountain bike use in the Garnet Range. These seldom traveled roads and trails wind through timbered slopes and climb to elevations of 7,000 feet. At several points these roads and trails open up to spectacular views of surrounding mountain ranges.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    The 12-mile long Garnet Back Country Byway climbs 2,000 feet through the scenic Garnet Range to Garnet Ghost Town. Thanks to extensive preservation efforts, the 30 buildings in this historic town look much the same as they did in 1895.

    Take a virtual 26-mile tour across the byway, starting with the introductory kiosk for the byway and traveling across the mountain range, from Highway 200 to Bearmouth (Interstate 90). There are 8 stops along the way.

  • Camping

    Although there are no publicly owned campgrounds in this part of the Garnet Range you are allowed to camp for up to 14 days on "Public Land" (unless otherwise designated). No camping is allowed within half-mile of Garnet.

    Two primitive cabins are available from December 1 to April 30. They are heated by wood stoves and lit by propane lights. Neither has electricity or indoor plumbing. Outhouses and potable water are near the cabins. Each cabin is furnished with cooking utensils and a propane stove.

  • Fishing

    Elk creek, just two miles North-east of Garnet Ghost Town contains populations of Brook, Cut-throat, and Rainbow Trout. Near by, Elk Creek empties into the Blackfoot River, popularized for it's excellent fishing in the book "A River Runs Through It".

  • Hiking

    Just 10 miles from Garnet Ghost Town the 11,580 acre Wales Creek Wilderness Study Area (WSA) is an excellent place to hike. This area is characterized by rather steep timbered drainages ranging in elevation from 4,680 to nearly 7,000 feet.

  • Historic Sites

    Visit Garnet, Montana's most intact ghost town. Thanks to extensive preservation efforts, the 30 buildings in this historic town look much the same as they did in 1895.

    Guided tours are available whenever BLM staff is on site. Simply ask one of our park rangers for a guided tour. Tours may also be arranged in advance by calling the BLM office in Missoula at 406-329-3914.

  • Horseback Riding

    Horses are permitted on designated trails.

  • Hunting

    The Garnet Range is home to several species of game including: Elk, Moose, Black Bear, Mountain Lion, Mule Deer, and Grouse.

  • Off Highway Vehicles

    The Bureau of Land Management has designated over 30 miles of back country roads and trails for OHV use in the Garnet Range. These seldom traveled roads and trails wind through timbered slopes and climb to elevations of 7,000 feet. At several points these roads and trails open up to spectacular views of surrounding mountain ranges.

  • Picnicking

    The townsite is a great spot to stop for a picnic lunch.

  • Winter Sports

    More than 116 miles of trails, including the 32-mile Garnet National Winter Recreation Trail, wind through the Garnet Mountain range. With none of the crowds found at Lolo Pass or Seeley Lake, these trails offer the chance for leisurely exploring and solitude. Snowmobilers and skiers share the trails, and you may see a dogsledder or two. Show shoeing is also available.

    The trails offer a variety of riding conditions, climb to 7,000 feet and offer spectacular views. Trail conditions vary greatly in the Garnet area. Some trails are never groomed either because of continual drifting or to provide more of a challenge for experienced riders. Most trails however are regularly groomed.

    The visitor center at Garnet Ghost Town is open on weekends throughout the winter. Two cabins are available for rent; arrangements need to be made in advance.

Park Partners

Garnet Preservation Association

The mission of the Garnet Preservation Association is to promote public awareness and appreciation of Montana history through the interpretation, preservation, and stabilization of the Garnet Historic District. The Garnet Preservation Association is a non-profit organization of concerned Montana citizens dedicated to protect and preserve Garnet Ghost Town for all with the partnership of the Bureau of Land Management.

(406) 728-1695

Directions

Driving

Garnet Ghost Town is located in the northernmost tip of Granite County, nestled in the Garnet Range of the Rocky Mountains, about 40 miles southeast of Missoula, and 14 miles northwest of Drummond.

From Montana Route 200: Turn south at the Garnet Range Road located between mile markers 22 and 23, about 30 miles east of Missoula. Follow the Range Road approximately 12 miles to Garnet where the parking area is located.

From Interstate 90: Take either Drummond or Bearmouth exit. Then follow the North side frontage road to Bear Gulch Road which is located 10 miles west of Drummond or 5 miles east of Bearmouth. Approximately 7.5 miles up Bear Gulch Road is the Cave Gulch Road Junction. From here, Garnet and the parking lot are 3 miles up Bear Gulch or 4 miles up Cave Gulch.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(406) 329-3914

Links