“See the Old West come alive!”
Founded in 1862 and named after the local Bannock Indians, it was the site of a major gold discovery in 1862, and served as the capital of Montana Territory briefly in 1864, until the capital was moved to Virginia City. Bannack continued as a mining town, though with a dwindling population. The last residents left in the 1970s. At its peak, Bannack had a population of about ten thousand. Extremely remote, it was connected to the rest of the world only by the Montana Trail. There were three hotels, three bakeries, three blacksmith shops, two stables, two meat markets, a grocery store, a restaurant, a brewery, a billiard hall, and four saloons. Though all of the businesses were built of logs, some had decorative false fronts. Bannack's sheriff, Henry Plummer, was accused by some of secretly leading a ruthless band of road agents, with early accounts claiming that this gang was responsible for over a hundred murders in the Virginia City and Bannack gold fields and trails to Salt Lake City. However, because only eight deaths are historically documented, some modern historians have called into question the exact nature of Plummer's gang, while others deny the existence of the gang altogether. In any case, Plummer and two compatriots, both deputies, were hanged, without trial, at Bannack on January 10, 1864. A number of Plummer's associates were lynched and others banished on pain of death if they ever returned. Twenty-two individuals were accused, informally tried, and hanged by the Vigilance Committee (the Montana Vigilantes) of Bannack and Virginia City. Nathaniel Pitt Langford, the first superintendent of Yellowstone National Park, was a member of that vigilance committee. Sixty historic log and frame structures remain standing in Bannack, many quite well preserved; most can be explored. The site, now the Bannack Historic District, was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1961. The town is presently the site of Bannack State Park. Though not particularly popular among tourists, this site remains a favorite for natives and historians alike. Every year, during the third weekend of July, this abandoned town witnesses a historical reconstitution known as "Bannack Days". For two days, Bannack State Park officials organize an event which attempts to revive the times when Bannack was a boom town, re-enacting the day by day of the miners who lived there during the gold rush. An authentic, old-timey breakfast is served in the old Meade Hotel, a building of brick (well preserved) which was the for many years the seat of Beaverhead County , before Dillon, Montana became the seat of the county. The Bannack Town Site Hours: During the month of May, the Town Site is open from 8:00am until dusk. Memorial Day through Labor Day the Town Site is open from 8:00am to 9:00pm. From the first week of September until the third week of October the Town Site is open from 8:00am until dusk. From the third week of October through the end of April, the Town Site is open from 8:00am to 5:00pm. Opening Times: May through August, open on weekends 10:00am to 6:00pm. On weekends after Labor Day through October 31st, the Visitor Center will be open 11:00am to 5:00pm, depending on staff availability.
AWESOME!!! MUST GO HERE!!! Campground is SUPER but NO electricity or water hookups and only a pit toilet. Expect to spend at least 3 hours looking at the town - bring water to drink as only one water fountain and restroom at the front gate - views of the surrounding terrain are extremely beautiful.
Montana is filled with ghost towns and Bannack State Park is definitely the best preserved. Although it's off-the-beaten-path, Bannack is not that far from Interstate 15. I visited on a fall day when there was a touch of color left on the trees. Less crowds, too. The interpretive staff brings Montana gold mining history to life.
This little gem is off the beaten path but well worth the diversion. We spent a couple of hours her walking through many of the buildings and exploring the history. Our kids enjoyed the adventure. This is a very clean and well preserved place.
Back from my second visit to Bannack. I love this place and my two year does too.
This place was featured on Haunted Highway if anyone wants to learn more about it. Really creepy episode. I would love to go just to see the old buildings.
Bannock just had a huge mud slide go through the town. It'll take them about a year to get everything cleaned up.
This place is incredible. I've been to a few ghost towns but this was the best by far. The amount of buildings and to be able to go in and explore them made the town come alive in a unique way.
It took a couple hours to get through and even though I saw most all of it, I didn't stop and look at everything. It was a bit of a hike up the hill to the cemetery, but well worth it as it gave a beautiful view of the town, the paths coming into town and the mining building on the far mountainside.
The building pictured has a free masons symbol on it if you look real close
This looks so cool.
Even though they did suffer a devastating flash flood, Bannack is up and running and in beautiful repair. A magical place, you can feel the history.
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Bannack State Park
- Sun - Sat: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
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Credit Cards Accepted
Not Wheelchair Accessible