With Halloween coming, it's hard not to have your mind on ghosts and goblins. I had the opportunity to meet with some reps from Montana's visitor board this week and learned about a fantastic little ghost town that is very unique. One, they let you stay when the sun goes down. Two, if you visit when there's snow, you can only reach it by skiing or snowmobiling in. That's pretty cool, right?
Garnet, Montana used to be a thriving gold mining town and now it's the state's most intact ghost town that is said to come alive at night. Garnet, gold and quartz was found in the area, which is how the town got its name. It was a great place to live, especially for miners and their families, but once the gold started waning, so did its population. After the war, looters came in and stripped the town of anything that wasn't nailed down, and some things that were! The upkeep and preservation of this cute little historical town is now dependent on public donations/contributions and volunteers.
Stay in an off-the-grid cabin ,where you can really get the feeling of living in Garnet. You may hear a raucous party in the saloon or the Miners Union Hall, which was also used as a dance hall. Visitors have been said to hear footsteps. Entrance fees are just $3 per person and you can stay in a cabin overnight for a mere $19 per night, so it's really budget-friendly, potentially creepy, plus totally fun and educational.
When you aren't exploring the town's rich history, taking amazing pictures or listening for ghosts, you have the option of nearby fishing, including ice fishing in the winter, hiking, hunting and mountain biking. Make sure you have the proper permits for the recreation that requires it.
June brings with it warmer weather and Garnet Appreciation Day. The third Saturday of the month is reserved for visitors to come explore the town, enjoy live music and interact with Garnet's "inhabitants" who want you to understand what life was like a hundred years ago. In addition to the interpretative aspect, get lunch, try your hand at gold panning, cool off with homemade ice cream, get in on some games and more. Commemorate your visit with a trip to the Visitors Center and a purchase from their gift shop.
Garnet makes a great side trip to your visit to Glacier National Park and Missoula, which I'll be talking about more soon. It's even made it on the Travel + Leisure list of America's Coolest Ghost Towns. Have you ever had a paranormal experience, in a ghost town or anywhere else? Tell us about it!