A Haunted Tour Montana
Virginia City, Photo courtesy Visit Montana
The American West is filled with legends and lore, and it turns out that westerners love a good ghost story. While New York has glitz and glamour, Montana has wide open spaces, Rocky Mountains and ghost stories galore.
Every town has a scary story, every hotel has a ghost, and ghost towns? Oh yes, there are loads of those too. Get in the Halloween spirit this fall with a haunted tour of Montana.
Bannack State Park, Photo courtesy Visit Montana
Big Sky Country was once home to lots of small mining communities. These settlements dotted the “Treasure State,” and many men and women came here to make their dreams come true. Of course, most didn’t strike it rich, and today the towns they called home are shadows of the past. However, these Montana ghost towns are pretty, especially in the fall.
Bannack, located in Bannack State Park, close to Hwy 15, is one of the best-preserved ghost towns in the country. Bannack was the site of Montana’s first major gold discovery on July 28, 1962. Visitors can browse 50 historic structures on Main Street.
Garnet, about an hour southwest of Missoula, is a ghost town that offers postcard autumn views, as well as 30 preserved buildings from the town’s heyday in 1895. The road to Garnet is closed January 1 through April 30.
Virginia City isn’t really a ghost town, but it does give visitors a real sense of what it was like in a Montana mining town in the 1800s. Located an hour and 20-minutes southwest of Bozeman, it’s a town frozen in time. Tourists can eat and sleep in this famous Wild West town. It’s a little like HBO’s “Westworld” without the violence.
Grand Union Hotel, Photo courtesy Visit Montana
Perhaps it’s not surprising that Montana’s oldest town is home to a fabulous and very haunted hotel. Fort Benton is located 45-minutes northeast of Great Falls, Montana. The Grand Union Hotel is grand indeed and is the oldest hotel operating in the state.
Located next to the famous Missouri River, the Grand Union Hotel is allegedly home to a handful of ghosts, including a drunken cowboy who rode his horse up the hotel’s interior staircase. He was shot and killed by the bar manager and apparently still roams the hallways (source: Haunted Places).
Belton Chalet & Lodge, Photo courtesy Visit Montana
West Glacier is also the location of a haunted Montana hotel. Belton Chalet & Lodge is less than a mile from the west entrance of Glacier National Park. It’s a one-stop shop for all needs including eating, sleeping, drinking and even getting married. The hotel property serves as a beautiful wedding venue.
This historic lodge was once staffed by Minnesota waitresses dressed as Swiss milkmaids. Guests learn this and other intriguing stories at this unique hotel in the wilds of Montana.
Belton is home to several ghosts, and thankfully they are the friendly type. The hotel has an entire page of their website dedicated to ghost stories.
Old Montana Prison, Photo courtesy Visit Montana
Most historic prisons are said to be haunted, but none so much as the Old Montana Prison in Deer Lodge. It’s supposedly the most haunted place in Montana, but if ghosts give you the heebie-geebies, this stop also features five museums including the Montana Auto Museum. Deer Lodge is located an hour southeast of Missoula, Montana.