Missoula History & Museums: Garnet Montana Ghost Town

Missoula Montana
> History Museums
> Garnet Ghost Town

Garnet Ghost Town

Take a side trip to Garnet Ghost Town during your Missoula visit and walk amongst the restored buildings of this old mining town and then enjoy a scenic drive and great outdoor recreation. Read More

  • Garnet, Montana is an hour’s drive east of Missoula. 
  • Restored buildings of the old mining settlement include cabins, a saloon, jail, and mercantile. 
  • Open year-round. Accessible by vehicle in summer and by ski or snowmobile in winter. 
  • Additionally, drive the Back Country Byway or enjoy a range of outdoor recreational activities.  


At the turn of the 19th century, more than 1000 people resided in the mining town of Garnet, Montana. Gold, garnet and other precious minerals and gems were mined during that time, with 20 mines in operation as well as four hotels, four stores, stables, shops and schoolhouse. However, by 1905 most of the mines were abandoned and the town’s population had shrunk to just 150. The population continued to dwindle; by 1940, Garnet was considered a ghost town.


Garnet, Montana Ghost Town is located 40 miles east of Missoula.

From Missoula, travel 5 miles east on I-90 toward Butte and then take exit 109 for MT-200 E toward Bonner and Great Falls. Travel 23 miles on MT-200 E before turning right onto Garnet Range Road. Continue 11 miles for Garnet.

Contact Information

Garnet is overseen and preserved by the Bureau of Land Management and Garnet Preservation Association.

For information contact:
Garnet Preservation Association
453 Minnesota Ave
Missoula, MT 59802
Ph: (406) 728 – 1695
Website: www.garnetghosttown.net  


BLM, Missoula Field Office
3255 Fort Missoula Rd
Missoula, MT 59804
Ph: (406) 329 - 3914


Garnet is open year-round, with wheeled vehicle access from May 1 – January 1. During winter, you can reach Garnet by parking in designated lots before venturing to town on skis or snowmobiles.

Garnet Visitor Center is open daily during summer from 9:30 am – 4:30 pm. ($3/per person over 15.)


Town Activities: Learn about the town’s history and culture in the visitor center and by walking in and amongst the old buildings including a saloon, jail, schoolhouse, and mercantile.

Recreation Activities: Fish in Elk Creek, hike, bike, hunt, snowmobile, ski, or take a ride on your ATV or ORV.

Also, be sure to take the 26-mile journey down the Back Country Byway, running from Hwy 200 to Bearmouth, featuring several stops along the way such as Sand Park Cemetery, Fairview Mine, and Secret Gulch.

Additional Information

Garnet has two cabins available for winter rental. If you enjoy winter activities combined with rustic experiences (no electricity or indoor plumbing), stay in one of the following:

Dahl Cabin - $40/night, sleeps six
McDonald Cabin - $30/night, sleeps four