The beautiful Garnet Mountains have a wealth of beauty to share with you.
A thousand years ago these mountains sat between two rivers, the Clark Fork and the Black Foot Rivers. They were used primarily by the Native Americans to hunt and gather berries. There are no indications that camps or villages were in existence in the Garnet Mountains.
We have listed a variety of things for you to see and do while visiting us. The first area is right here in Garnet. Take one of our trails, and they all leave from the Garnet Parking Lot.
Warren Park Trail
Edward Brook Warren built a cabin about a mile and a half from Garnet. Not far from this home, overlooking the Blackfoot River Valley, he worked a small underground mine. Few people ever visited or came his way, so he built a park. He built long picnic tables, benches around a tree trunk, swings made out of narrow poles instead of rope, even a glider. Mr. Warren built a well-engineered trail that led the way, which included a mountain spring surrounded by Lady Slippers.
Today you can still travel this trail ending at Warren Park. You will cross a bridge passing the spring as well as the remains of his cabin. Sit a spell, eat your sack lunch, and enjoy the peacefulness of the surrounding mountains. Here you can imagine and wonder what it was like one hundred years ago. Residents of Garnet would regularly come here for rest, relaxation and family picnics.
The trail leaves from the main parking lot and passes through open areas, thick trees, and the ups and downs of any mountain trail. Although not for the faint heart, it is a good hike with beautiful scenery. Bring your water bottle and a camera. You will be glad you did. (Please allow two to three hours for the round trip)
Sierra Mine Loop Trail
Pick up your Self-Guided Interpretive Trail brochure at the Visitors Center. Leave from the parking lot, cross the road and follow the signs. It explores two different mining operations from the era-the Sierra Claim and the Forest Lode Claim. They were some of the earliest claims in Garnet, dating to 1872 and 1884. Numbered sign posts along the trail correspond to the numbers in the brochure.
As you follow the trail back to the parking lot, think about the scene here more than a hundred years ago.
Tired, dirty men moving tons of rock.
The sounds of dynamite blasts and groaning machinery.
Snow and freezing cold eight months a year.
A simple existence focused on working, eating, and a little bit of rest.
Coming from the name of Placer Mining, which is the first gold mining work which started in the steams, as they needed the water to wash the dirt out of their mining pans and leaving the gold behind.
As you walk along the Sierra Mine Loop Trail, there comes a split, where you can turn left to go back to the parking lot or turn right and continue on the Placer Trail.
The trail winds around the mountain side, crossing over bridges, going past private property, old cabins, and ending up at the Visitor Center. Another, beautiful walk that takes about an hour to accomplish, but along the way you can see deer in their natural habitat, listen to the birds and enjoy the peacefulness of where you are, maybe hold someone’s hand, or just plain smile.
This is a day event held in June which BLM and GPA host for the public. Please call the BLM office at (406)329-3914 for details. Add or follow us on Facebook for updates.
Although there are no publicly owned campgrounds in this part of the Garnet Range you are allowed to camp for up to 14 days on “Public Land” (unless otherwise designated). No camping is allowed within 1/2 mile of Garnet. You can obtain a map of the location of Public Land around Garnet Ghost Town for $4 from the BLM, Missoula Field Office (address at bottom of page).
Elk Creek, just two miles from north-east of Garnet Ghost Town contains populations of Brook, Cut-throat, and Rainbow Trout. Near by, Elk Creek empties into the Blackfoot River, popularized for its excellent fishing in the book “A River Runs Through It”. Information on Montana fishing rules and regulations can be acquired from Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks.
Just ten miles from Garnet Ghost Town the 11,580 acre Wales Creek Wilderness Study Area (WSA) is an excellent place to hike. This area is characterized by rather steep timbered drainages ranging in elevation from 4,680 to nearly 7,000 feet. You can obtain more information regarding the Wales Creek WSA from the BLM, Missoula field Office (address at bottom of page).
The Garnet Range is home to several species of game including: Elk, Moose, Black Bear, Mountain Lion, Mule Deer and Grouse. You can obtain more information on Montana hunting rules and regulations at Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
The BLM has designated over 30 miles of back country roads and trails for mountain bike use in the Garnet Range. These seldom traveled roads and trails wind through timbered slopes and climb to elevations of 7,000 feet. You can obtain the Garnet Mountain Bike Trail Map from the BLM, Missoula Field Office (address at bottom of page).
Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) Riding
The BLM ha designated over 30 miles of back country roads and trails for OHV use in the Garnet Range. You can obtain the Garnet OHV Trails Guide from the BLM, Missoula Field Office (address at bottom of page).
Snowmobiling/Cross Country Ski
The BLM has developed over 110 miles of trails for snowmobilers and cross-country skiers in the Garnet Range. The trails offer a variety of riding conditions, climb to 7,000 feet and offer spectacular views. Trail conditions vary greatly in the Garnet area. Some trails are never groomed either because of continual drifting or provide more of a challenge for experienced riders. Most trails however, are regularly groomed. You can obtain a Garnet winter recreation Trails map from the BLM, Missoula Field Office (address at bottom of page).