BLM Logo
Missoula Field Office
Release Date: 06/10/09
Contacts: David Abrams , 406-533-7617  

Garnet Ghost Town Comes Alive

The Garnet Preservation Association and the Bureau of Land Management will host Garnet Interpretive Day June 27 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The day promises to give  families a fun, wild-west experience in one of Montana’s most intact ghost towns.

Located 35 miles east of Missoula, the ghost town will be the site for gold-panning demonstrations, music, kids’ games, pie auctions, and guided tours of the town. In addition, Louis Adams of the Salish-Kootenai Tribe will speak about the centuries of Salish culture in this area. 

This year also marks the return of the historic ice cream social which was an annual event 100 years ago in Garnet. Just as was done a century ago, blocks of ice were cut this past February and hauled into Garnet for storage in the Davey’s Store ice house. These 100-pound blocks harvested by BLM employees will be pulled from their sawdust insulation, chipped into small chunks and used to cool the hand-cranked ice cream makers. Lunch will also be available for purchase on site. Visitors to the day-long event will be charged the standard usage fee of $3; no admission is charged for those 15 and younger.

“Our goal is to give visitors a total immersion in history,” said Dick Fichtler, Outdoor Recreation Planner with the BLM’s Missoula Field Office. “When they arrive at Garnet, it will be like stepping back in time. I think everyone will come away with a deeper appreciation for our state’s treasured past.”

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 full-time resident passed away in 1947. The ghost town is now publicly owned and managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

From Highway 200 turn south on the Garnet Range Road between mile markers 22 and 23 and travel about 11 miles to Garnet Ghost Town. Visitors using I-90 should take the Bearmouth or Drummond exit, then take the Frontage Road to Bear Gulch. Garnet is 10 miles north on Bear Gulch Road. The Bear Gulch Route is steeper and not suitable for towing units.

For more information on the event, contact Dick Fichtler at the BLM Missoula Field Office, (406) 329-3884.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to manage and conserve the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations under our mandate of multiple-use and sustained yield. In Fiscal Year 2013, the BLM generated $4.7 billion in receipts from public lands.

Missoula Field Office   106 North Parkmont      Butte, MT 59701   

Last updated: 06-28-2012