18 October 2010

Jardine, Montana - Ghost Town

This fall we headed down to Gardiner which is situated at the north entrance to Yellowstone. We got snowed out last year so I decided we would give it a go again this year. We waited until after Labor Day thinking the crowds would have thinned some. That may have been the case years ago but not anymore. Now there are so many Baby Boomers thinking to do the same thing the place was packed. We were lucky to get a slot for Clementine at the RV park.

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.

Be sure and check out The Liberated Photographer.com

©Kinsey Barnard


Heather said...

Wow that was interesting! I totally love that first photo, just amazing!

I also like exploring old abandoned buildings, just haven't found any out here lately.

That tent sure is neat. I wonder...

Anonymous said...

Yes, I have been to this little piece of heaven. My daughter drew
the first picture old building in the water. We love the drawing.

I know people who live up the mountain. They are wonderful , helpful individuals. Love Montana

From a little piece of heaven here in Wisconsin.

Unknown said...

I actually went there when the gold mine was active. They had superior technology to treat the cyanide wastes which would have impacted Yellowstone National Park otherwise. It was one scary ride up because the road is only wide enough for one vehicle and if a truck came down as we were driving up, we would have to back all the way down the steep winding road, which had not side rails, just straight down.

Walker said...

Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Hi , Such familiar scenes from my childhood . My great grandpa Win Davis drove the stage in the park in the early days. My daddy was born in Jardine on the Davis ranch in 1917. The Park authorities took the ranch away from my great-grandparents so they,( Yellowstone) could increase the size of the Park. Grandpa Davis came to Montana in 1881.It's so beautiful up there ,a hidden treasure .

Walker said...

Again, thanks so much to all of you for sharing your experiences. It really broadens mine. Montana is a great place. No doubt about it!

Patches said...

Win Davis is my Great Grandpa .. I am hoping to visit there soon!! I would love to get in contact if that is possible

Patches said...

Win Davis is my great Grandpa .. I am hoping to visit the area .. If there is a way to contact .. Please let me know

Walker said...

Patches, you can reach me through my website www.kinseybarnard.com