Tag Archives: attractions

Ghost Towns

RED LODGE POST

Adventure and the lure of riches brought thousands of prospectors to Montana (before statehood) in the late 19th century. In 1862, pay dirt was hit at Grasshopper Creek in southwest Montana. In a matter of months, thousands of miners flooded to the region. A town called Bannack City was born.

After the gold ran out, Bannack’s miners moved on to the next big strike. The mining camp built when the miners first arrived was abandoned. Wisely, years later, citizens made Bannack a state park, Bannack State Park. Bannack may be the best-preserved ghost town in the west. Every year, thousands of visitors explore Bannack State Park.

In 1863 more gold was discovered along Alder Gulch near present day Virginia City. Today, Virginia City is a “living ghost town.” Virginia City retains its historic roots, even while small businesses seek new-found riches in the pockets of visitors who come to Virginia City every year, hoping experience a little of Montana’s colorful past.

Virginia City MT
Merchants find treasure in the pockets of tourists at a Virginia City, Montana, ghost town. Photo courtesy Sandy Archives.

In 1864 gold was also discovered near Helena in an area fittingly called Last Chance Gulch. By some accounts, this strike produced about $19,000,000 of gold in four years. No ghost town here: Last Chance Gulch is now a prosperous and thriving main street for the city of Helena.

A few years later, in 1870, miners found silver in the Elkhorn Mountains south of Helena. The town they left behind after the silver declined is a well-preserved ghost town called Elkhorn. Some 50 of the town’s original buildings still stand. An old cemetery is nearby, a place where interred bones of miners and their families rest in peace. Some of these miners likely made tidy sum of money for their mining efforts. Elkhorn is now part of Elkhorn State Park.

Elkhorn Ghost Town MT
Elkhorn Ghost Town, near Boulder, Montana. Photo by Tech Sgt. Chad Thompson, courtesy U.S. Air Force, Malstrom Air Force Base, Great Falls, MT. Air Force Reference VIRIN: 150719-F-XA056-013.jpg

Mineral riches were also found in other areas of western Montana. Granite County near Philipsburg boasts a few ghost towns that attract many visitors. Buildings of early mining settlements still claim a part of the landscape at places called Garnet, Southern Cross, Granite, Black Pine, and Red Lion.

At the Granite County Museum in Philipsburg, a replica of an underground silver mine was built in 1996 to give visitors a picture of a mining shaft and to show the equipment used to move riches from the earth.

Ghost towns make wonderful places to visit. They are a window into early days of the west. The architecture of the buildings that still exist serves as testimony to the hopes and dreams of many who came west in the early days before the true pioneers arrived to settle the land in a more permanent way. Every visitor to Montana should experience a ghost town, fun and much to learn from.

https://www.MontanaTraveler.com
Copyright © 2020 John Sandy




Trail of the Cedars

RED LODGE POST

Trail of the Cedars is a nature trail. It is a short loop trail accessed from Going-to-the-Sun Road near Avalanche Creek Campground northeast of Lake McDonald. The trail is about one-half mile long and passes through old-growth forest of western red cedar and western hemlock. Abundant ferns are mosses add to the natural beauty of this area.

trail cedars Glacier
Trail of the Cedars in Glacier National Park. Photo courtesy National Park Service.

The western red cedar is nature’s gift to man. Western red cedars live for a long time, 500 years or more, and reach great heights, up to as much as 150 feet above the forest floor. Western red cedars have a broad base, up to ten feet in diameter. Mature trees are giants.

Western red cedars have grey to reddish-brown bark. Branches sprout soft, green leaves, not needles as is characteristic of conifers. A peculiar feature of western red cedar is an unusual scent, some say like spicy pineapple, emitted from leaves when crushed. At the Trail of the Cedars, these trees add special diversity to Glacier’s wild landscape.

About mid-way on the Trail of the Cedars a footbridge passes over Avalanche Creek. This point on the trail is very scenic. Avalanche Creek is a vigorous mountain stream cascading down from high mountain peaks in a narrow gorge. A waterfall is visible from the footbridge.

Avalanche Creek gorge
Avalanche Creek gorge, Glacier National Park. Photo courtesy National Park Service.

In this same area, a short two-mile trail branches off from the Trail of the Cedars and goes to Avalanche Lake. As the trail to Avalanche Lake rises in elevation, the forest cover changes dramatically, becoming a mix of spruce and fir trees. Deer and other wildlife are often seen along the trail.

The Trail of the Cedars is part boardwalk and part paved. It is wheelchair accessible, so everyone can enjoy. Trail of the Cedars is a nature lovers paradise. Due to popularity of the trail, parking is limited. Go early in the day to snag a parking spot. Besides, nature is always at its best during early morning hours. Be rewarded. Don’t miss this special place in Glacier National Park.

As an aside, more western red cedar forests are found in other areas of northwest Montana. Red cedars are abundant in the Purcell and Cabinet Mountains near Libby. Ross Creek Scenic Area, southwest of Libby, is another great place to view these magnificent trees.

https://www.MontanaTraveler.com
Copyright © 2020 John Sandy




Snapshot of Kalispell

RED LODGE POST

The city of Kalispell (pop. 23,938) and the region around the city are a major tourist destination in northwest Montana. Glacier National Park, a few miles to the east of Kalispell, draws more than 3,000,000 visitors annually. Many arrive during peak season, June thru September.

It is not only Glacier Park that attracts. Vast wilderness areas near Kalispell offer limitless opportunities for outdoor recreation. Fishing, hiking, and boating to name a few. Outdoor recreation is king in the area around Kalispell.

Kalispell mountains
City of kalispell, MT. Photo courtesy Discover Kalispell.

Many tourists arrive in Kalispell at Glacier International Airport. Many others arrive by auto, train, or tour bus. No interstate highways reach Kalispell. Two main U.S. highways connect Kalispell with the rest of Civilization. U.S. Highway 93 runs north-south from the Canadian border to Missoula and U.S. Highway 2 runs east-west connecting Kalispell with Spokane to the west and Havre and other cities to the east.

Many hotels and other types of lodging are available in Kalispell and the surrounding towns and rural areas. Due to the influx of so many visitors, an amazing variety of places to stay can be found here. Cabins, resorts, bed & breakfasts, lodges, and more. As for traditional lodging, the historic Kalispell Grand Hotel may be a better choice than most of the chain hotels in town. The Kalispell Grand offers a continental breakfast, massage studio, and art gallery to make your stay more enjoyable. (406) 755-8100.

Flathead Lake is a few miles south of Kalispell. Fishing and boating on Flathead Lake are a common activity. Five State Parks offer facilities for outdoor activities near the shores of Flathead Lake. Wayfarers/Flathead Lake, close to the village of Bigfork, draws many visitors: Picnicking, fishing, camping, boating, and swimming are a few of the activities allowed at this state park.

A couple of nice attractions are found in the city of Kalispell. The Conrad Mansion Museum, built in 1895, is a window into early pioneer days of Kalispell. Mr. Conrad, a rich businessman, built the house with income from hauling freight and other business activities. The museum features many exhibits and well-manicured gardens enhance beauty of the grounds.

For history buffs, the Northwest Montana History Museum is a must see. The museum showcases the history of early frontier days. A neat glimpse of the old central school in Kalispell is a special attraction in the museum. Artifacts and displays of Native American culture are also interesting.

For upscale dining in Kalispell, try Jagz Fine Dining. A full pound center cut ribeye, char-grilled and topped with bourbon onion sauce goes for $32.95. The Desoto Grill is wildly popular too. The Desoto Grill serves BBQ, sandwiches, desserts, and beer. A smoked chicken sandwich, $12.25. Banana pudding, $4.75. Yum!

Natural beauty is the hallmark of the region around Kalispell. Mountains, pristine lakes, and wild rivers add to the splendor. This part of the country is hard to match anywhere else in the United States. The Visitor Information Center,15 Depot Park in Kalispell, is ready to give good advice and help make your stay more enjoyable. Phone: (888) 888-2308.

Read more about Kalispell and the Wilderness region.

https://www.MontanaTraveler.com
Copyright © 2020 John Sandy




Snapshot of Billings

RED LODGE POST

Billings (pop. 109,550) is called Montana’s Trailhead. From Billings, travelers can easily reach many destinations in south-central Montana and the Bighorn Basin in northwest Wyoming. The northeast entrance to Yellowstone National park is a short drive from Billings.

One major interstate highway, IH 94, connects Billings with points to the east including Bismarck and Minneapolis. A second interstate highway, IH 25, connects Billings with cities in central Wyoming and south to Denver.  Going west from Billings yet another interstate highway, IH 90, connects with Missoula, Spokane, and Seattle. Many flights arrive at Billings Logan International Airport each day.

Billings MT
Swords Park in Billings. Photo Courtesy Visit Billings.

Billings is a major trade, medical, and entertainment center. And the city is a shopping hub for a huge geographic area. Great dining choices here, even yummy German cuisine at the Oktoberfest German Restaurant in west Billings.

Billings offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities, and major attractions are nearby. At the top of the list are the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area southwest of Billings and, for history buffs, the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument located a few miles southeast of Billings. Visitors to Billings often stop by Zoo Montana to learn about and experience nature, without having to take a trip into the wild.

Read more about  Billings and the Yellowstone region.

https://www.MontanaTraveler.com
Copyright © 2020 John Sandy




Red Lodge Music Festival

RED LODGE POST

2020 Season is cancelled, due to coronavirus concerns
Join us June 5-13, 2021

The highly acclaimed Red Lodge Music Festival is a premier event in Montana. Participants learn and perform:  musical groups include wind ensembles, jazz ensembles, and orchestras. Talent shows, ball games and more make this event so enjoyable.

Performances, by faculty and students, are scheduled for the general public and are held at the Red Lodge Civic Center Auditorium. For 2019, this event runs June 1-9.

Schedule of performances open to public, Red Lodge Music Festival:

Faculty Chamber Concerts are June 1, 2, 3, 5, and 8.
Concerts begin at 7:30 and are held at the Civic Center.
Tickets are $12.00 each per concert.

Student ensemble concerts are Thursday and Friday the 6th and 7th and start at 7:00.  No charge. The final band and orchestra concert is Sunday afternoon, June 9th.

Don’t miss this one. A ton of talent here. So nice.

https://www.MontanaTraveler.com
Copyright © 2020 John Sandy




Little Bighorn Battlefield, Montana

RED LODGE POST

A new technical paper on Little Bighorn Battlefield is ready for readers. Just released. Abstract of paper is  shown below. This technical paper is a preprint on deposit in the Institutional Repository at The University of Alabama.

Characterization of Geographical Aspects of the Landscape and Environment in the Area of the Little Bighorn Battlefield, Montana

John H. Sandy

Abstract:  On June 24, 1876, a large military force of the United States Army 7th Cavalry converged on the lower Little Bighorn Valley in the Montana Territory, aiming to capture a large number of Native Americans. A major military battle ensued over the following two days. The landscape near the Little Bighorn Battlefield is both gentle and very rugged. The upland to the east of the Little Bighorn Valley is highly dissected by a complex drainage system, consisting of ravines, coulees, and ridges. Elevations from the valley floor to the upland change as much as 340 feet. The slope in parts of the upland is greater than 10 degrees, and in rugged areas of the bluffs and along some ravines and other erosional features in excess of 30 degrees. The Little Bighorn Valley itself is a gentle northward sloping plain, with the Little Bighorn River flowing to the east side of the valley adjacent to the upland. Local vegetation of the area is highly diverse, bearing a close relationship to the physiographic features, hydrology, and climate of this area. Certain characteristics of the Little Bighorn River and the bordering riparian zone add to the diversity of the landscape. A brief analysis suggests ways that elements of the landscape and environment affected the course of the battle.

Keywords:   Little Bighorn Battlefield, physiography, weather, topography, vegetation, Montana, military history, Lakota Sioux, Northern Cheyenne, U.S. Army, George Custer, Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull

URL:  https://t.co/V79tmSlcL7

Visit the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument

https://www.MontanaTraveler.com
Copyright © 2020 John Sandy




Montana Hot Springs

RED LODGE POST

Hot springs are big business in Montana and very popular with visitors. Hot mineral water is thought to have therapeutic value for many of life’s common ailments. Depending on the location, businesses with hot springs offer a variety of amenities, ranging from spas, restaurants, lodging, entertainment, and more. As the hot springs industry has grown, guests are offered plenty of things to do besides taking a dip in pools of warm mineral water.

Bozeman Hot Springs is a great place to relax in one or more of their 12 pools. Bozeman Hot Springs is a full fitness facility too. This business is located about 8 miles west of Bozeman.  (406) 587-3030. Norris Hot Springs about 39 miles west of Bozeman also attracts lots of visitors. (406) 685-3303.

The village of Hot Springs (pop. 557), located about 30 miles southwest of Flathead Lake, is famous for hot mineral springs. Fine indoor bathing facilities are offered at Wild Horse Hot Springs (406) 741-3777. In the same area:  Spa Hot Springs Motel (406) 547-3366  and Clinic (406) 547-3377. Hot Springs also boasts a new outdoor hot mineral pool at the Symes Hotel (406) 741-2361.

Quinn’s Hot Springs Resort is a very popular destination. Quinn’s is located northwest of Missoula in the small village of Paradise not far from Plains (pop. 1,050). This resort offers a pool, lodging, restaurant, and a tavern.  Cabins are modern and extra nice.  Harwood House Restaurant at Quinn’s gets rave reviews. And the wine list at Quinn’s is superb.  (406) 826-3150.

Chico Hot Springs is south of Livingston, in Paradise Valley, in the village of Pray, Montana. Chico features pools, lodging, spa, and dining. This is one of Montana’s best known hot springs . A great location, not far from the north entrance to Yellowstone National Park. (406) 333-4933

Elkhorn Hot Springs is several miles south of Butte in southwest Montana. Guests can stay in cabins or a lodge.  (406) 834-3434. Jackson Hot Springs is located in the same vicinity, a few miles southwest of Elkhorn Hot Springs. (406) 834-3151.

Fairmont Hot Springs Resort is near Butte in Anaconda, Montana. As the name resort suggests, this place offers much to do. Lodging, dining, golf, spa, are more here. (406) 797-3241

Lolo Hot Springs is southwest of Missoula on U.S. Highway 12. Lots of extras offered here, such as entertainment, trails, horseback riding, and more. Lodging and restaurant are on the property. (877) 541-5177

If your trip takes you to Helena, try Broadwater Hot Springs & Fitness, located abut four miles west of town. Several pools and hot tubs offered here. A fitness room on site is a way to boost health.  Some visitors take water fitness classes. Sauna and steam rooms are available too. Guests can enjoy beverages and feast at The Springs Taproom and Grille. (406) 443-5777.

Boulder Hot Springs Inn, Spa, and Retreat Center is located a few mile south of Helena on IH 15 in the town of Boulder.  (406) 225-4339.

https://www.MontanaTraveler.com
Copyright © 2020 John Sandy