Lewistown Ghost Town Tour

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Lewistown Ghost Town Tour

Gilt Edge Road, 59457,Central Montana

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Begin by driving east on Hwy.. 87 approximately 12 miles to the Cheadle turnoff and go north approximately 7 miles to the town of Gilt Edge.

There are several ruins still standing in this town. Probably the most interesting building here is the house of prostitution which still has some of the tattered silk wallpaper hanging. This house is best viewed from the outside looking in as it is in serious decay and a danger to enter. Across the street from the house is an old jail, not much larger than a small horse stall. Legend has it that the notorious Calamity Jane spent a winter here in the late 1890s. There are many accounts of her presence there and a photo of her in the town with Teddy Blue Abbott, author of “We Pointed Them North.”

From there continue on the road through Maiden Canyon. While driving this short but beautiful drive, you can take a side trip up to Judith Peak for a spectacular view of the surrounding mountains and prairie landscapes. From the top you can see the Snowy Mountains (30 miles south), Little Belts (70 miles southwest), North and South Moccasin Mountains (20 miles west), Highwood Mountains (70 miles west), Bear Paw Mountains (70 miles northwest), Little Rockies (70 miles northeast), and the Missouri River nestled in the Missouri River Breaks about 50 miles to the north. When you come back down the mountain continue west to the town of Maiden.

Maiden got its name when a fellow named Maden showed up late for the rush. He was rudely told to move on. He went up the valley to another gulch which he named “Camp Maden” for himself. The word “camp” was eventually dropped and an “i” was added. This was once a town of over 1,200 people with 154 houses and six saloons. It also had a department store, the ruins of which are still visible. The ruins are just east of the current town.

Leave Maiden heading west. In a couple of miles, you’ll come to an old stagecoach road. Turn right here and go approximately six miles to Hilger. (If it has been raining recently or is currently raining—don’t take this road! You will be buried alive in gumbo.) Otherwise, continue on to Hwy.. 191 and head north to Hilger. From Hilger, take the country road west to the Kendall ghost town. This is the best preserved of the three local ghost towns.

On the return trip, take a right at the fork in the road and head south toward Brooks. This scenic stretch takes you along a beautiful valley and through the foothills of the North Moccasin Mountains. Turn left and go to Highway 191 where you will turn right for the return leg to Lewistown.

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