Montana Treasure Hunting Adventures
Fun & Excitement for the Entire Family
There are many stories of miners burying treasures in various areas, such as the miner who was rumored to have buried a 3 ¼ carat diamond somewhere near Ophir Gulch.
Battles between the white men moving into the state and the native Indians trying to maintain control of their land also lead to many stories of buried treasures. As lands were invaded and Indians were forced to fight or flee from their land, it is believed that many buried everything they owned of value to keep it from being looted by the white men.
Montana Ghost TownsMany Montana treasure hunting adventures can be enjoyed just searching out reservations and abandoned settlements that give clues to rich history of the state. There are many ghost towns dotting the Montana landscape, and they are fun to track down and walk or drive through with the family or someone special. These settlements were created during the gold rush or established by miners searching for other treasures in the ground.
Today, these abandoned settlements are ghost towns. This simply means that they are no longer inhabited by steady residents. Some are easier to find than others, and there are different stories behind each of them.
For example, Hell Gate and Garnet are two ghost towns that can be accessed rather easily from Missoula, Montana. Taft is notorious for having been home to prostitutes, gamblers, and other unpleasant characters. Coloma is one of the most mysterious abandoned settlements, since very little is known about who lived there or why the settlement was originally created. You can learn more about all of these settlements as well as seek out the location of others through the Montana Ghost Town Preservation Society.
One of the most popular ghost towns in Montana is the town of Pony. It was a bustling city with more than 5,000 residents during the gold mining days, but today is home to only a handful of residents. Visitors come every year to view the buildings that remain standing, tour the mines, and enjoy the beautiful mountain surroundings. This is a great place to stretch your legs, head out on a walking trail, or simply educate your children on the history of Montana. It is located in the Deer Lodge National Forest.
Montana Treasure HuntingIf you want to visit a ghost town that is still alive with activity, you must see Virginia City. It is located 20 miles west of Yellowstone National Park, and has been preserved to deliver an authentic feel for life in a gold mining settlement.
If you are not content with viewing abandoned settlements and exploring museums, you may want to try your hand at finding your own treasures. You may go to Libby, Montana and head south to pan for gold in the Kootenai National Forest. The Libby Gold Panning area is a safe place for the entire family to hunt for real treasure, and there are campgrounds within a mile of the site. Fishing, hunting, boating, and swimming can also be enjoyed in the area.
It is difficult to find other areas for legal gold panning in Montana. There are some gem hunting sites still available, such as Gem Mountain and Sapphire Mine. If you want to go hunting for gems and gold yourself, be careful of searching on privately owned land. The Alta Ranch in Alta, Montana is another legal option if you are not near the Kootenai National Forest.
Explore UndergroundThe Lewis & Clark Caverns is another must-visit area for those who want to see real natural treasures while in Montana. You dont get to take home the treasures like you get to take home the gold you pan, but you do get to venture underground to experience the richness of the landscape firsthand.
There are campgrounds and dumping grounds for RVs on site, and you have the option of renting cabins as well. Hiking trails are available if you want to get in some exercise or stretch your legs, and there is an amphitheatre for a bit of educational entertainment. You can reach this area from Three Forks or Whitehall.
There is one other way to take the family for a bit of Montana treasure hunting: take them to a working cattle ranch!
The Grant-Kohrs Ranch in Deer Park is a national historic site that will give your group a firsthand feel for the cowboy lifestyle. There are a variety of activities offered throughout the year, but there are different prices for different experiences. Reservations must be made ahead of time for most experiences.
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