In Montana of yesteryear, the booming mining towns attracted those who dreamed of striking it rich. Some did, but many failed, eventually leaving communities abandoned once resources dried up. Fast forward to the present. The city of Butte and nearby towns of Bannack and Deer Lodge bring history to life with tours exposing the cities’ colorful (and ghostly) pasts.
In Butte, sign up for the Spooks & Spirits Tour (spooksnspiritsmt.com). Butte, like so many early settlements in the West, went from boom to bust. Butte survived to the present day on copper mining, but in its early days gold and silver were king. Butte is reportedly home to 38 paranormal activity sites, many of which you’ll discover on the tour, including the subject of Discovery’s “Ghosts of Devil’s Perch.” Whatever your perspective on the paranormal, the three-hour tour is guided by a local historian and makes an entertaining history lesson.
In Deer Lodge, take a chilling tour of the Old Montana Prison (pcmaf.org), either with a guide or on your own. You can ramp up the creepy factor if you sign up for a special ghost tour (runs through September) that allows after-hours admittance into areas of reported paranormal activity not normally open to the public.
When gold was discovered in Southwest Montana in 1862, the town of Bannack sprang up on the site of the discovery. Bannack (fwp.mt.gov/stateparks/bannack-state-park) experienced boom and bust, and today’s remaining structures offer a window into life in a gold-rush settlement. Some claim ghosts linger on Bannack’s streets and in its remaining buildings, but you be the judge when you visit.
Plan your Southwest Montana visit at southwestmt.com.