Home to Montana's First Gold Strike ...
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|Bannack is one of the best preserved ghost towns in the United States. It is the site of the first major gold rush in
Montana and it was Montana's first territorial capital. Over 50 buildings still stand in Bannack, along with the re-created
gallows used to serve justice to the infamous sheriff Henry Plummer and his gang of outlaws. The cemetery is located
on a hill overlooking the town and offers a fantastic view of Bannack and the surrounding area.
Bannack is now well cared for and managed as part of Bannack State Park. The park and campgrounds are open all
year and it is located about 25 miles southwest of Dillon, Montana, off Highway 278. Bannack Days, a celebration of
pioneer life is held annually. It is normally held on the third weekend of July and is a great way to experience Bannack.
Below and to the right are some pictures of Bannack State Park that we took when visiting in the Summer of 2007.
|Masonic Lodge and School House
|Bannack View from Hillside
|Bannack View from Cemetery
Bannack has a very rich and colorful history.
When gold was first discovered and taken from
the gravels of Grasshopper Creek in July of
1862, it ignited a gold fever that rapidly spread
across the territory. The first gold camp was
located approximately 3 miles upstream from
the original gold strike and became home to
Bannack. The mining camp housed about 400
people by early fall of 1862 and rapidly grew to
around 3,000 by the following spring.
In 1863 a group from Bannack was traveling to
the east and were waylaid by a band of Crow
Indians. While hiding in a gulch they stumbled
onto a rich gold discovery, which would
eventually become the largest placer strike of
all time. The rich strike in Alder Gulch naturally
drew people away from Bannack.
When traveling to the area, the town of Dillon is
a good choice for finding lodging and
restaurants. It is conveniently located right off
of Interstate 15, with Bannack being about 30
minutes to the southwest, and the Alder Gulch
area (Nevada City and Virginia City) only an
hour or so to the northeast. It worked well for
our visit and made it easy to explore the area.
During the few days that our family visited, we
were able to enjoy a horse ride in the
mountains near Dillon and visit Bannack State
Park. We also traveled up to the Alder Gulch
area and visited Nevada City and Virginia City.
The stage ride tour in Virginia City was fun and
educational, and everyone enjoyed panning for
gold. While you are there, be sure and visit the
Alder Gulch Shortline Railroad. If they are running
for the season, consider taking an old-fashioned
Hopefully, this gives you some ideas for your next
trip. Have fun and stay safe!
|Stage Coach Ride, Virgina City
|Mining Equipment in Bannack