Koty and I are manic hikers wherever we go. When we go to national parks we are constantly looking for someplace to hike outside the park because Koty is not welcome. We are quite fond of Canadian parks. Canada welcomes dogs on a leash.
One of the first things we do when we get somewhere is look for hiking nearby but outside the park. Fortunately, Yellowstone is surrounded by national forest. I spied a dead end road that went up the mountain behind above the RV park. The map showed a town called Jardine.
It's a dirt and gravel road about six miles in but well worth the drive. On the drive in we came across this little landscape I thought was quite picturesque.
I don't know exactly was this is or what it was used for but I'm guessing it might have been some kind of pump house.
We kept on until we got to Jardine. I didn't realize it when we started out that Jardine is a listed ghost town in Montana. Although, there are quite a few very live inhabitants. It looks like some folks who work down in Gardiner live up here away from the tourist hub bub.
|Jardine Gold Mine|
The mine is fenced off so you can't really get close to it. The above photo was the best I could do.
|Jardine Mine Office|
The old mine office seemed to still be used but it was closed and no one was around.
But, we were looking for hiking not ghost towns so we went to the end of the road and hit the jackpot. We found the Eagle Creek trailhead which is a popular outfitter entry into the Gallatin National Forest. If you head up Eagle Creek Trail you'll see a bridge .......
|Eagle Creek Bridge|
If you cross that bridge and turn right you'll find a bunch of old buildings you can explore and check out.
I really like exploring out buildings that are not part of a park where you can just poke around on your own.
Now, I did say we came here for the hiking but there was an impediment to my going very far. I had sprained my ankle back in Bozeman and I was just gimping along. First we started up the Eagle Creek trail but it got so muddy we had to turn back cuz I wasn't about to slog through mud on a bad foot. There is another trail on the other side of the bridge that heads into the mountains and was just fine. It too clearly gets a lot of horse and mule traffic. Actually, I like trails that packers use because they are nice and packed.
We also discovered a gated compound that looked like it was mostly inhabited by Native Americans. I thought this tent, with the skull gracing the entry, was kind of interesting. I have no idea what it is used for. Maybe some one lives in it. A pack of dogs came running at us as we approached. I took this photo and we skedaddled.
The point of this story is that if you find yourself in Gardiner, Montana and would like to do something a little off the beaten path I would recommend a trip up to Jardine. It's a great place to to hike, explore and experience little Montana history.
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