Date: October 30, 2008
Contact: Ann Boucher (406) 896-5011
Sleep With the Ghosts at Garnet this Winter
Now is the time to plan for a winter getaway to the ghost town of Garnet, 40 miles east of Missoula. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) rents two historic cabins from December through April.
Weekend reservations fill quickly, so a lottery drawing will be held the first Friday of November to determine cabin renters. Applications are available online at http://www.garnetghosttown.net/rental_app.htm
and must be returned to the Missoula BLM office by November 7 to be eligible for the lottery. After the lottery, cabin vacancies will be available on a first come first served basis.
Cabins come furnished with beds, dishes, gas cook stoves, lanterns, and wood heat stoves. The Dahl Cabin sleeps up to six for $40/night, and the McDonald Cabin sleeps four for $30/night.
The only way to access Garnet in winter is via snowmobile, skis, snowshoes or dog sled. There are two routes into Garnet in the winter:
From Highway 200 turn south on the Garnet Range Road between mile marker 22 and 23 and park near the gate about a quarter-mile from Highway 200. The winter journey is about 12 miles with a steady incline from the closed gate to Garnet.
Visitors using I-90 should take the Bearmouth or Drummond Exit, then the Frontage Road to Bear Gulch. They can drive to a gate and a small parking area within four miles of the ghost town. This route is shorter but steeper, gaining 1,500 feet before reaching Garnet.
For more information about cabin rentals or to receive an application, the adventurous can call the BLM Missoula Field Office at 329-3914.
More than 100 years ago, Garnet was an active gold-mining town with 1,000 residents, 31 businesses, and 13 saloons. By the 1920s, the gold had played out, and the once prosperous town slowly went into a deep sleep until its last resident passed away. The ghost town is now publicly owned and managed by the BLM. Proceeds from the cabin rental program are used for the preservation and interpretation of the town.