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Montana: Gold West Country, Family Getaways with Halloween Hauntings.Bannack State Park Historic Hotel Meade  Montana Gold West Country Southwestern Montana is loaded with historical, and sometimes spooky, locations and notorious characters that give the mountains, rivers and communities a colorful past and ghostly autumn vibe.

Here’s the scoop. Share spooky happenings with your kids in Gold West Country (GWC). Southwestern Montana communities were founded on the lure of striking it rich – mining gold, silver, copper and other precious minerals. Evidence of that rough-and-tumble past lives at historic (perhaps haunted) sites across the state including communities of Helena, Butte, Deer Lodge, and the first state capital of Bannack near Dillon - all in GWC. 

Helena haunts prevail. The ornate mansions that line the stately streets of today's capital city of Helena are whispered to have many past residents still walking their halls and stairs. One particular “friendly” spirit lies within the walls of the Brantley Mansion. Workaholic Judge Brantley is said to still roam the halls if his mammoth home searching for bowls of M&M’s (his favorite candy) and watching over children residing under “his” roof. Helena Montana SkylineWait for it. To hear more of the Brantley ghost story and many others, take the “Haunted Helena Tour” on the Last Chance Tour Train, offered a few evenings every year at the end of October.(Last Chance Tours Helena, Montana 59604-6338. (406) 442-1023 or

Wait for ghosts near Grasshopper Creek. The original territory capital of Bannack is a well-preserved slice into frontier life, harsh and unforgiving to its inhabitants—at whatever age. Young Dorothy Dunn slipped while attempting to cross the deep waters of a pond off the rushing Grasshopper Creek near town, clutching the hands of her cousin and best friend. Unable to swim to safety, Dorothy perished. Her bubbly, mischievous spirit is said to walk the halls of the Meade Hotel, where she appeared shortly after her death to her best friend, Bertie, who was with her when she drowned. Wait for it. On the Friday and Saturday evening before Halloween each year, the ghosts of Bannack reappear in the Bannack Ghost Walks—great fun for the family but not recommended for kids under six. (Bannack State Park, 4200 Bannack Road. Dillon, 59725. (406) 834-3413 or

Bannack State Park Montana Halloween EncountersTake no prisoners in Deer Lodge. The Old Montana Prison is just plain cool - actually eerie using your imagination. Built by convict labor, the prison was in use as a containment center until 1979 and now has a new purpose – to educate and entertain. This is the place to inspect the hanging gallows; see the solitary confinement rooms; visit the prison kitchen; gaze at the guard turrets. Wait for it. Last weekend in October is the time reserved for the annual Old Montana Prison Haunted House. "Terror in the Cellhouse" takes willing participants through the 1912 cell house and prison yard creating plenty of startling and scary events. Need to know: This is not recommended for children younger than 10. (Old Montana Prison 1106 Main Street Deer Lodge, MT 59722. (406) 846-3111) or
Nurture your own connection with ghosts.Abandoned Cabins Gold West Country Montana The Montana Historical Society has published two novels on haunting, ghost stories, and frontier lore with a paranormal twist. The author, Ellen Baumler,  is also the nationally award-winning author and editor of Girl from the Gulches: The Story of Mary Ronan. Baumler's first Spirit Tailings book is now in its third printing. The newest book, Beyond Spirit Tailings, is a 200-page book that includes 20 illustrations. (Montana Historical Society by calling toll-free 1-800-243-9900 or Montana Historical Society Books)

Location on the planet. Gold West Country is located in the southwestern part of Montana smack dab between Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park. You will find rolling terrain, valleys ringed by snow-capped mountains, a mother-lode of history. More importantly the area offers free range fun with no waiting lines. From Helena, Deer Lodge and Philipsburg to Dillon, Butte and Anaconda possibilities for family vacation fun are endless. Find your favorite of the Gold West Country Communities.

Make it happen. To plan a family getaway to Gold West Country view the array of  practical offerings including lodging and dining, visit Montana Gold Country West.

Family Vacation Planning Details For additional reasons to travel to Montana’s Gold Country West view more destination information, articles and family vacation tips at Family Travel Files Gold Country West.

Content and images provided by Gold West Country. Copyright 2013.
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