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Montana’s Garnet Ghost Town, a Photo Essay

Garnet’s main business district

The mining town of Garnet, Montana was founded in 1895 in the mountains east of Missoula. Now it is Montana’s best preserved ghost town and a great destination for a day trip.

Views of Garnet (shot with Hipstamatic Oggl)

In it’s heydey around 1891, Garnet had over 1,000 residents, four hotels, two barber shops, a few stables, a school with 40 students and- you guessed it– 13 saloons. By 1905, most of the mines around Garnet were abandoned and the population dwindled down to only 150 people.

Near the Warming Shack in Garnet

Garnet was briefly brought back to live in 1934 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt raised gold prices to $35 dollars per ounce (from $16 dollars per ounce). In 1936 the town had a population of 250 and several of the resident miners built log cabins in town.

Views of Log Cabins in Garnet

Garnet’s second life was short-lived. World War II and wartime restrictions about the use of dynamite dealt a death blow to mining industry. Garnet’s post office closed in 1942. Only a few residents remained. When the owner of the General Store, Frank Davy died, much of the contents of his business were auctioned off.

Vintage cans from the General Store in Garnet, Montana


Now Garnet is managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the Garnet Preservation Association (a non-profit organization). You can drive to Garnet and explore by foot, or come as part of an ATV tour from The Resort at Paws Up, which is only 11 miles away.

Left: a few outhouses are still intact Center: free ranging cows add to the atmosphere Right: a log cabin in Garnet

Garnet Ghost Town Sign

Adults visiting Garnet are asked to pay $3 each. To learn more or visit Garnet, check out the Garnet Ghost Town website.