Friday, July 19, 2019

Road Trip - Garnet Ghost Town in Drummond, MT

Happy Friday! How about a little bit of a 'Flashback' to get this weekend party started? Let's do it! 😁
Truth be told, I'm not flashing back too terribly far this time, but still thought I would share some fun family memories with you from a road trip we took last year. πŸš™πŸŒ²

As many of you already know, I am home educator to my boys, and this coming fall we will begin our 16th year of homeschooling...woohoo! πŸ˜ŠπŸŽ‰ Last year we kicked off our school year with a road trip to Garnet Ghost Town the second weekend of September, and had a fantastic time! πŸ‘»

Garnet in one of Montana's most intact ghost towns, and it symbolizes an important era in the state's hard rock mining industry. There was a time, a hundred years ago, that Garnet was a thriving town, filled with gold miners and their families, working hard to carve out a community in the heart of the Garnet Mountains. In 1898, somewhere around 1,000 people called Garnet their home.

The ghost town sits at an elevation of about 6,000 feet at the head of First Chance Creek. To get there you drive a gravel road for approximately 11 miles to Garnet where the parking area is located, and then make your way down a trail to the town itself.

As we made the drive up to the town, we stopped at the old 'warming shelter', which includes
the 1890's stage stop cabin, and 1940's fire warden's cabin...

Garnet was named for the semi-precious ruby-colored stone found in the area and it was a good place to live. The surrounding mountains were rich in gold-bearing quartz. There was a school, the crime rate was low, and liquor flowed freely in the town’s many saloons. The bawdy houses did a brisk business and Missoula and Deer Lodge were close enough for necessary supplies.

Unfortunately, the town wasn’t built to last. Enterprising miners were more interested in extracting the riches below ground than building above. As a result, buildings grew quickly, most lacking foundations, because they were small and easy to heat.
Yet, a century after Garnet emerged, remnants of the town still stand, hidden high in the Garnet Mountain Range, making it Montana's most intact ghost town to this day.

In this photo you can see the trail I mentioned that leads down to the ghost town from the parking lot. The sign inside the red circle is the same one in the second photo I shared above.

After exploring the ghost town, we also walked the Sierra Mine Loop Trail. It explores two different mining operations from the era...the Sierra Claim and the Forest Lode Claim.
They were some of the earliest claims in Garnet, dating to 1872 and 1884.

Of course my 15 year-old could not resist the climb...😎

In conclusion, I will say that if you ever visit Montana, or happen to live in the area, you should definitely put Garnet Ghost Town on your list of places to visit.
It really is such a neat place to take an adventure back in time. πŸ’•πŸ˜Š

***Garnet historical information via Garnet Ghost Images credit: myself, 5&6, 7-10, 11-16

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