Bannack State Park survived the flash flood of 2012 and once again the town looks and feels as it may have in the gold rush days. With new board walks and some of the buildings put back where they belong it is again something to see and a great place to visit. Our photos show there is little sign that the flood even happened.
The town long survives after the gold discovery on Grasshopper Creek in 1862 and many years of mining history all the way into the 1930’s. Along with the mining history Bannack boast considerable wild west history to include Sheriff Henry Plummer. Some still question whether Henry Plummer was a Lawman or an Outlaw while others are quick to say he secretly lead a gang of road agents called the Innocents who robbed and killed all around Bannack and Virginia City. Henry Plummer’s biography is a great history lesson and it offers some insight that will let you judge for yourself. Take a few minutes at the link and read a short story about the wild west.
Above photos are of Skinner’s Saloon, a supposed hang out for Plummer and his gang. Cyrus Skinner, the owner of the bar, was an escapee from San Quentin Prison in California, a known outlaw and a suspected member of the Innocents gang. Enjoy reading more of the story of Cyrus Skinner.
Another exciting and interesting aspect about Bannack State Park is that it is a Ghost Town. Not just because it is deserted and no one lives there but it is literally a Ghost Town with multiple spirits existing. Is the town haunted? Are the buildings haunted? Some will say that if there are ghosts then it is haunted. Are they evil spirits or just spirits that haven’t departed. The Hotel Meade is said to have a number of ghosts. For you to decide. For other stories about Ghost Towns of Montana check this link.
For us much of the attraction of Bannack is that you can enter most all the buildings. This makes it a great place especially fun for kids. On the way to Bannack you can keep the kids occupied by having them use their mobile device to read the Kid’s story on Bannack at Montanakids.
When you get to the park you will find that the school house has a great feeling of a hundred and fifty years ago. At the same time the jail cells don’t offer such a good feeling but it is pretty cool to step inside and think about what it would be like to spend a couple of days locked up. Think about attending Bannack Days on Saturday July 19th and Sunday July 20th. Go to the link for a complete Schedule of Events.
Now that you are about to head home which way are you going to go? If you didn’t already come through Wise River that is a definite option. Along with the view of the Beaverhead Mountains, the Bitterroot Mountains and the Pioneer Mountains there is a ton of history to be had. The history includes the Lewis and Clark Expedition and Native American history including the Big Hole National Battlefield.
On the way through the Big Hole you can stop in Jackson and enjoy Jackson Hot Springs. If you came down that way you can go back north through Polaris and stop at the Elkhorn Hot Springs. There are also a number of campgrounds on the route through Polaris if you want to plan some camping.
Yet there is another way out of Bannack and that is south to Clark Canyon Dam where you will find the Lewis & Clark Memorial. There are campgrounds and good fishing at the Clark Canyon Reservoir.
And still one more route to or from Bannack and that is over Lost Trail Pass from the Bitteroot. South of Missoula and over the pass the first thing you will come to is the Nez Pierce Battlefield.
Anyway you go there is sure to be beautiful scenery, interesting history, and lots to do! Have fun exploring Montana!