Visit a Ghost Town in Montana, Wyoming or Idaho

Visit the Yellowstone Park area for quaint ghost towns with empty streets, weathered buildings, tumbling tumbleweeds and abandoned mines.
Ghost Town Virginia City, Montana

Viginia City, Montana

Virginia City (above and below), is the West’s best-preserved gold mining town from the 1860s. Visitors can walk the same boardwalks that desperate vigilantes once roamed, and guests are transported to a time when rowdy miners mingled in saloons. They can also tour more than 100 historic buildings, complete with artifacts and furnishings; ride a fully-refurbished 1910 steam locomotive and a stagecoach; attend live theater; shop in gift and specialty shops; and enjoy fine dining, old fashioned baked goods and candies.

Virginia City, Montana. Photo by Donnie Sexton

Virginia City, Montana. Photo by Donnie Sexton

Nevada City, Montana

Nevada City, just 1.5 miles away, has 14 historic buildings original to the site, plus a collection of more than 100 historic buildings that were saved from locations all over Montana and moved here. Visit the Nevada City Music Hall—its collection of historic music machines, gaviolis and player pianos make up the largest public music machine collection in the world. You can also spend time panning for gold at Alder Gulch.

Philipsburg, Montana

Stephens Hotel in Philipsburg, Montana by Tim Gage [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Stephens Hotel in Philipsburg, Montana by Tim Gage [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Along the west leg of the historic Yellowstone Trail (MT Hwy. 1) is Philipsburg, which had its hard-rock mining heyday in the late 1800s. Silver mining spawned brick and mortar buildings before silver prices plunged and the town’s population dwindled. Today, historic Philipsburg is the best living example of what these ghost towns were once like.

South Pass City, Wyoming

Grecian Bend Saloon and Sherlock Hotel in South Pass City

Grecian Bend Saloon and Sherlock Hotel in South Pass City

South Pass City, 35 miles south of Lander and just north of the Oregon Trail, is one of the most authentic and complete historic sites in the West.

Wyoming’s City of Gold is surrounded by mining claims, several of which are still being worked today. The restored area contains 20 original structures and a Gold Mining Interpretive Center, complete with an original working stamp mill.

In 1868, town resident William Bright introduced a bill in the territorial legislature granting women the right to vote, making Wyoming the first territory or state to grant suffrage to women. Two months later, Esther Morris was appointed the town’s justice of the peace, becoming the nation’s first female judge.

Kirwin, Wyoming

Kirwin, located at the head of the spectacular Wood River Valley, is a historic mining town surrounded by breathtaking mountain peaks that top 12,000 feet. The annual Kirwin Excursion, sponsored by Meeteetse Museums, is held on a Saturday in mid- August, with local speakers giving presentations on different aspects of the area. (Below: Wolf Mine Shaft, Kirwin, Wyoming)

Wolf Mine Shaft in Kirwin, Wyoming

Old Trail Town, Cody, Wyoming

Old Trail Town, on the western edge of Cody, depicts a classic ghost town constructed from a collection of restored and relocated historic buildings.

Silver City, Idaho

Idaho alone has about 150 ghost towns. The best, Silver City, was founded in 1864, just two years after silver and gold were discovered nearby, luring hundreds of miners from all walks of life. Today, all that’s left are about 70 buildings and numerous mine dumps.

Our Lady of Tears Church in Silver City, Idaho

Our Lady of Tears Church in Silver City, Idaho



Pan for Gold in Montana and Wyoming Near Yellowstone

Don’t miss Gold Rush Days and hunting for treasures in the historic gold and sapphire mining towns of Wyoming and Montana when you travel to Yellowstone.

Carissa Mine in South Pass City by m01229

Visit an old Mine near Yellowstone

Go underground to uncover Wyoming, Montana and Idaho’s gold and silver rush history with a visit to a historic mine.

Trail End State Historic Site, Sheridan, Wyomin

Wyoming Museums

Great museums to visit on your Yellowstone vacation from the Buffalo Bill Historical Center to the Teton Flood Museum and everything in between. Wyoming museums in Casper, Meeteetse, Cheyenne, Gillette, Evanston, Dubois, and Jackson Hole.

Buffalo Bill State Park Reservoir

Visit a Wyoming State Park near Yellowstone

While in the Yellowstone region, visit any of the numerous state parks including the Buffalo Bill Dam and Reservoir, Sinks Canyon, and Hot Springs.

Idaho Museum of Natural History

Idaho Museums

Visit the Rexburg Teton Flood Museum and the Idaho Museum of Natural History.

Mountain Chickadee in Wyoming

Go Birding in Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and Utah

The beautiful trumpeter swans are the largest North American waterfowl and the world’s heaviest flying birds. Great birding abounds in Wyoming, Utah, Montana, and Idaho

Wyoming's Fossil Butte National Monument in the vicinity of the Historic Quarry Trail. The trail leads to the site of a fossil quarry in the Green River formation.

Visit a Paleontological Site in Wyoming near Yellowstone

Wyoming’s southwestern region is known as fossil country.

Wyoming Territorial Penitentiary Prison

Tour an Old Wyoming Prison

The lure of historic prisons is irresistible to travelers, and visitors to the Yellowstone Park region won’t be disappointed.

A young visitor experiments with one of Archimedes's creations at the Museum of Idaho

Museum of Idaho in Idaho Falls

On the way to Yellowstone, encounter  world-changing inventions by a Greek mathematician.