The sights, sounds and smells of a 19th-century mining town will come back to life during this year’s family-friendly Garnet Day.
The annual event, which brings a bustle of activity to the now-dormant ghost town 50 miles east of Missoula, will be held on Saturday, June 15 from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. It is hosted by the Bureau of Land Management and the Garnet Preservation Association.
This year, Montana pioneer impersonator Jennie Pak will give an appearance as Garnet resident Jennie Starr Adams telling tales about the town. Music throughout the day will be provided by the Old Time Montana Fiddlers Band.
Other activities on the day’s schedule include a wool-spinning display, gold panning (fee charged), various old-fashioned games for children, and a pie auction. Other highlights for all ages are a watermelon eating contest, free sarsaparilla and taffy. Lunch will also be available for purchase on site. The day’s events are designed to give families a fun, wild-west experience in one of Montana’s most intact ghost towns, located 35 miles east of Missoula.
Visitors will be charged the standard usage fee of $3; no admission is charged for those 15 and younger. For those needing assistance, a shuttle service will be provided from the main parking lot to the town’s main street.
More than 100 years ago, Garnet was an active gold-mining town, but after a fire destroyed many of the buildings and as the gold became more difficult to mine, 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’s Missoula Field Office.
To reach Garnet 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 the BLM’s Missoula Field Office at (406) 329-3914.