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Old 07-05-2007, 07:25 PM   #1
Nightstalker OP
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Helena, MT Ghost Town Ride

I got out early before the 100 degree temps and hit some ghost towns in the Helena, MT area. I started from my camp in Deer Lodge and took the dirt road over to Basin.

From there I hit Elkhorn Ghost Town. The state own two of the buildings in the town, both are in good shape and you can go inside both. The rest of the town is privately owned and most of the buildings not currently being lived in are in poor condition. I spoke with two of the locals and they were both very friendly. I continued through town on FR72 about 3.5 miles until it ended on my GPS, however, the road continued on from where I turned around at about 8500 ft elevation. I was huffing and puffing. This road is not for the meek of those with little off road experience. It is both super rocky and very steep at places. It was the highlight of my day!

Next I rode up through Helena to Marysville Ghost Town. There are a couple of old buildings and a few occupied buildings. It's a small clean town. Nice thing about Marysville is that you can loop out instead of backtracking. I rode southwest towards Mullan Pass and then took Priest Pass to route 12, right across from the Rimini Road.

Rimini would be the next ghost town on the list. If you haven't ever been there, don't waste your time. There are a couple of old buildings, but there are many residents in town and they don't seem to appreciate visitors. I did continue through town and there's a nice alpine lake at about 7500 feet. The road ended at a locked gate and a fork with a sign that read "Road impassible past this point". It was a long ride back to route 12 and then to Deer Lodge during the hottest part of the day.

Total loop is about 260 miles or so.

Enjoy.

tz
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File Type: gpx 2007-07-05 Deer Lodge Ghost Town Ride.gpx (337.9 KB, 304 views)
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Old 07-05-2007, 07:28 PM   #2
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Old 07-05-2007, 07:29 PM   #3
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Old 07-06-2007, 12:06 PM   #4
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Speaking of ghost towns - have you done the Garnet Backcountry byway to Garnet? I was thinking of doing a loop that included that route, but haven't been able to find anybody who can tell me if it is worth it.

Later

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Old 07-06-2007, 08:33 PM   #5
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I did do Garnet. In my truck with my wife along. It's the best ghost town I've been in, anywhere. It's an official state park with a $5 per vehicle fee, that's well worth it. Many of the buildings are well preserved and there is a staffed visitor center, in one of the buildings. I took the road in from I-90, that was real nice. Took the road out to the north, which was like a two lane dirt highway, with some nice views.

Here's some Garnet photos:
http://nightstalker.smugmug.com/gallery/3060603#P-2-15

Also did Granite near Phillipsburg, again in the truck with the wife. That's a great road up from Phillipsburg. The town is definitely worth going to. The GPS was showing all kinds of roads up there that I didn't get to explore.

Same day I was at Granite, I went over to Southern Cross. Driving the highway up was pretty cool. There's a steep uphill that you should stop at near the top and check out the cascading waterfall heading down into the gorge. We did scout around Lake George on some dirt roads, but ended up at a locked gate and turned back towards Southern Cross down the road. There's only a couple of original buildings left, and they're private property and boarded up. However, if you take the road up towards the ski area (which was gated) and take a right, there's a great dirt road that gets progressively rougher as you go. There's a bunch of branches to explore too. We got a few miles back before the wife had enough and made me drive back out. If I had more time, I would go back to Granite and Southern Cross to do some exploring.

Here's some pictures of Granite and Southern Cross at this link:
http://nightstalker.smugmug.com/gall...4025#169091974

Quote:
Originally Posted by dandxrman
Speaking of ghost towns - have you done the Garnet Backcountry byway to Garnet? I was thinking of doing a loop that included that route, but haven't been able to find anybody who can tell me if it is worth it.

Later

Danny
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Old 07-06-2007, 08:47 PM   #6
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I liked marysville back in 1974. Have beautiful pics from October of that year, sorry, no scanner. Isn't Virginia City around there too or am I mistaken. Anyway, near M'ville, a friend's grandpappy had his claim cabin, one of three. It was beautiful. Old, still in useable shape, everything intact. The other two were good, but this one? You could move right in. Old Florian kept the place stocked with food and firewood, the bed was made, and the table had a checkered oilcloth cover. A kettle was on the stove. Still have pics of it.

He had a claim at Jefferson City. Not much of a town there-- at all... but boy was it fun blasting dynamyte and digging around. Yes, there was gold there.
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