Established in 1954, Bannack State Park is a historic park located in southwestern Montana, about an hour and 20 minutes from Butte.
Covering an area of 1,345 acres, it is centered around the ghost town of Bannack, which was once a thriving gold rush town and served as Montana’s first territorial capital.
Today, Bannack State Park is a popular tourist destination that provides a unique window into the state’s rich and fascinating history. Visitors can explore the town’s well-preserved historic structures, including original log cabins, the old jail, and the hotel.
The park also has a museum that provides information on the history of the town and the gold rush era, as well as a self-guided walking tour that highlights many of the park’s key sites and structures.
In addition to its rich history, Bannack State Park also offers a range of recreational activities, including camping, hiking, fishing, and picnicking. All of which make this fabulous Montana state park a must-visit destination for anyone visiting the region.
Bannack State Park provides guests with several ways to enjoy its enchanting surroundings.
Outlined below is a selection of some of the main recreational activities you can do during your visit there.
Ghost Town at Bannack State Park
The historic ghost town of Bannack is one of the park’s main attractions.
Established in 1862, this once thriving gold rush town, is one of the best-preserved ghost towns in the American West.
Many of the original buildings still stand, including log cabins, the old jail, the hotel, and other historic structures.
Visitors can take a self-guided tour of the town and see what life was like during the gold rush era.
Museum at Bannack State Park
The park also has a museum that provides information on the history of the town and the gold rush.
The museum is housed in a restored log cabin and showcases artifacts and exhibits related to the history of the town and the gold rush era.
It also provides information about the preservation and restoration of the historic structures in the park, and about the history of the area and its residents.
Visitors can learn about the people who lived in Bannack, the challenges they faced, and the impact of the gold rush on the area.
The museum provides a deeper understanding of the history of Bannack and the American West, and is a great place for history buffs and visitors who want to learn more about the area.
Fishing at Bannack State Park
Bannack State Park is located along the Beaverhead River, which is known for its excellent fishing opportunities for species such as rainbow, brook, and brown trout.
Visitors can fish from the riverbank, or rent a raft or kayak to explore the river and fish in the more remote areas.
A valid Montana fishing license is required before you can cast a line at Bannack State Park. If you don’t have one, they can be purchased at the park office.
The park also offers guided fishing trips with experienced guides, which is a great option for visitors who are new to fishing or want to improve their skills.
Hiking at Bannack State Park
Bannack State Park offers several hiking trails for visitors to explore.
The trails range in difficulty and length, so there is something for everyone, from short nature walks to challenging hikes.
One of the most popular trails is Bannack State Park Trail. This 1.5-mile loop trail takes visitors through the historic ghost town and past several of the park’s most significant buildings, including the Bannack School, the jail, and the courthouse.
In addition, the Beaverhead River Trail takes you on a 3.5-mile course that follows the Beaverhead River and offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
All of the trails at Bannack State Park are well-marked and maintained, and visitors are encouraged to stay on designated trails to protect the delicate ecosystem and historic sites.
Birding at Bannack State Park
Birding is a popular activity at Bannack State Park.
The park is located in a scenic, rural area with a diverse landscape, providing habitats for a variety of bird species.
Some of the common bird species that can be seen at the park include Western Bluebirds, Mountain Bluebirds, Woodpeckers, and Warblers.
Visitors are encouraged to bring binoculars and bird identification guides to help them spot and identify different bird species.
The park also offers a variety of trails, including a designated bird-watching trail, that allow visitors to explore different habitats and observe birds in their natural environment.
Pets at Bannack State Park
You are welcome to bring your dog with you to Bannack State Park, but there are some restrictions.
For example, they must be kept on a leash at all times and are not permitted in park buildings, on designated trails, or in the swimming area.
Owners are responsible for cleaning up after their pooch and should keep them under control at all times.
Visitors are also encouraged to be mindful of other guests and wildlife, and to follow all park rules and regulations during their time there.
Camping at Bannack State Park
For those interested in camping, the park provides an excellent base to enjoy the historic ghost town and natural beauty of the area.
Overall its campground has 31 standard campsites. All of which have picnic tables, fire pits, and access to potable water and flush toilets. Some of the campsites have electric hookups as well.
Additionally, the park offers 2 group campsites that can accommodate up to 20 people each.
As this park does get busy during the summer, visitors are encouraged to make a reservation well in advance of their visit.
Bannack State Park
4200 Bannack Road
Dillon, MT 59725
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Bannack State Park:
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