Archive for the ‘Montana’ Category

Virginia City and Nevada City Montana

Two great stops while traveling along hwy 287 in Montana. This area is full of history and well worth taking this route from Ennis (also a great little town to visit). Virginia City is really preserved and still an operational town. If you have time, stop in to some of the shops. The Mercantile and Candy Shop were like stepping back in time. Twice annually the town hosts a themed 1865 Victorian Ball. There are few places like this left in the west.

Virginia City

Virginia and Nevada City

Bannack Montana

A well-preserved ghost town! Bannack was a little bit of a detour, but very much worth the trip. Walking down the main street, I felt like I was in an old west movie set. I would like to go back to visit with more time. The campground looks really nice with a stream and green tree oasis. Allow for at least 2-3 hours and take time to visit the cemetery too. The fee to visit the site is $5 and $2 donation for the guide book.

“Bannack was founded in 1862 when John White discovered gold on Grasshopper Creek. As news of the gold strike spread many prospectors and businessmen rushed to Bannack hoping to strike it rich. In 1864, Bannack was named as the first Territorial Capital of Montana. Remaining in Bannack for only a short time, the Capital moved on to Virginia City. In 1863 gold had been discovered near Virginia City and at that time many prospectors left Bannack in hopes of finding the mother lode in Virginia City. However, some people stayed in Bannack and explored the use of further mining techniques. From the late 1860’s to the 1930’s, Bannack continued as a mining town with a fluctuating population. By the 1950’s gold workings had dwindled and most folks had moved on. At that point the State of Montana declared Bannack a State Park. Today, over sixty structures remain standing, most of which can be explored. People from all over visit this renowned ghost town to discover their heritage.”

Bannack State Park

Here are a few pictures –

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Bear Gulch Petroglyphs


All throughout the world, one can find petroglyphs. It’s rare to find petroglyphs that directly reference women and even rarer, those referencing birth. Bear Gulch Petroglyphs offers a very rare petroglyph of a woman giving birth. I will post a picture soon about that petroglyph, but in the meantime, I wanted to offer this post if you are planning a trip to Montana. The site is near central Montana on the eastern side. You have to call ahead and make an appointment to see it and there is a fee, but it is well worth it. The woman who owns the property is phenomenal – opening her land to research and visitors. If you are lucky, she’ll show you an amazing paleo fossil of a fish. I can’t stress enough how much it’s worth it. The fee may seem steep, but you will walk away with a truly unique experience. Make sure you bring your camera with an extra memory card – you will need it. And please respect her property. I want to stress that this is private land.

Location – 27 miles southeast of Lewistown, Montana, and 17 miles southwest of Grass Range, Mt.

Bear Gulch Petroglyphs


The Shire of Montana

c777a23f-4b37-43a3-8348-60d333f75ac7.1Another great whimsical find – in the back country of Montana. Who would have thought you could find the land of the hobbits, elves and fairies there? It looks magical – I might have to make a special trip. The address seems to be a much guarded secret – but it’s near Thompson Falls. Check out their website!

The Shire of Montana

More info from VRBO

Garnet Montana – Ghost Town

A little bit off the beaten path – Garnet is steeped in history. A beautiful drive in with interesting info along the way, it’s well work the trip. So many of the buildings are intact – some with original furniture, wall paper, history – as if the people just walked away. There are still a few people living there and there’s a lot of wonderful interpretive information available. We had a great day exploring Garnet – it was well worth the drive in.

From Wikipedia –

“Garnet is a ghost town in Granite County, Montana, United States. Located on the dirt Wallace Creek Road, it is an abandoned mining town from the 1860s. In First Chance Creek in western Montana, the town is at the edge of the high desert in the Front Range, but sheltered in a forest. The town is at about 6,000 feet (1,800 m) elevation.

Garnet was named for the garnet, a semi-precious stone, and the first item to be mined here, although gold quickly followed. In 1898, as many as 1,000 people lived here; it was abandoned 20 years later when the gold ran out. A fire in 1912 destroyed half the town, which was never rebuilt. Supplies needed in Garnet were generally obtained from nearby Bearmouth. ”

When I was there, a group or archeologist were excavating the area behind the main store – which also was a butcher shop. Inside the store, you can walk back into the root cellar where the temperature drops significantly. The owner used to bring in block of ice from a nearby creek during the winter, wrap it in saw dust to keep it until 4th of July. On the 4th, he would make ice cream for the townspeople.


Montana on my mind…

If you are planning on traveling through the great state of Montana, there are definitely some amazing places to explore along the way. One of my favorite areas of Montana is on the Northwestern side. From the Bison Range to the St. Ignatious, there is a lot to explore throughout the Mission Valley. Make sure to take time to stop at St. Ignatius. It’s a piece of the Vatican out in the wilds of the west. The Mission Mountains are also pretty spectacular and often overlooked. If you have time to take a detour heading up to Glacier, this would be it.

Ruby’s Inn Missoula, MT

If you are traveling through the Missoula area and need a place to stay, I recommend Ruby’s Inn. Having stayed there many times, I always feel really comfortable and relaxed there – which is saying a lot for a roadside hotel. The rooms are a good deal and they take dogs. The best part is the amazing breakfast – free as a guest. There is everything from eggs, sausage, bacon, biscuits and gravy, juices, to fresh coffee. In the evening there is soup and popcorn. Not too bad when you arrive in the evening and don’t feel like driving anywhere to eat. Definitely worth skipping the chain hotels!

Road Trips Out West

Are you planning or thinking about taking a road trip out west? Here are some places I can help you with-

Oregon – All over – from the Willamette Valley, Central Oregon, Eastern Oregon, and the Oregon Coast. I have backpacked the Wallowas, the Cascades, Coastal Mountains and more. I can help you out with areas around Fort Rock, Christmas Valley, the Strawberries, Elkhorns, etc.

California – All over the northern region and the Yosemite and Sequoia area. I have also driven most of I5. Redwoods, Elk preserves, Shelter Cove…

Washington – most of the coastal areas, and some of the eastern/central areas.

Montana – I have been all over this state from Missoula, Glacier, Western Region, southern region, from Butte to Billings etc.

Idaho – almost most of this state now from the northern tip to the southern region and all over in-between. Idaho is amazing and has a lot to offer.

Utah – I have backpacked the Wasatch range, traveled Escalante, Bryce, Capital Reef, Moab, Black Canyon, Calf Creek and more.

Colorado – I have driven most of this state from the wildlife preserve at the uppermost western tip to Durango and beyond. I have been to Mesa Verde, Hovenweep, Leadville, Estes Park…