Thursday, September 12, 2013

2013 Western Trip – Virginia City, MT

In looking for another activity to do prior to heading to Yellowstone after Labor Day, we took a drive up to Virginia City, MT.  Like many western towns, Virginia City (no relation to Virginia City, NV) sprang into existence because of a gold discovery at nearby Alder Creek.  By the 1940’s it was a virtual ghost town and, again, like many western towns, it has recreated itself as a tourist attraction – hard to believe that with 190 people, it is the seat of Madison County and was once the capital of the newly created Montana Territory – back when it had 10,000 residents.

Unlike Virginia City, NV where the old structures now house new businesses, several here have been restored to look as they originally did, while others have ongoing new businesses but the outsides all seem to be original.

Quite a variety of architecture exits in the towns buildings.  While the girls checked out the shops, I checked out the Pioneer Bar, in operation since 1863.

On the way home, we drove by the 190' deep by six mile long  Quake Lake which was formed when a 1959 earthquake resulted in a big piece of hillside falling (on a campground) and damming the Madison River.

We also drove past the very big (65 miles of shoreline) man made Hebgen Lake which is noted for its fishing and since I saw no power generation, I assume it was built primarily for water storage.

This is indeed a pretty part of the country even without Yellowstone – different than the East, but still pretty.

Photos best if enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


9/2/2013 event date


  1. I'm so glad you went to Earthquake Lake. When we were in Island Park staying with friends, Meakin caught lots of baby trout in the stream in their back yard, but they were too small to keep, so our friends took us to Earthquake Lake and he caught several good size trout for dinner. We also saw a bald eagle fly over. That lake sure has an interesting history.

    They also took us to Virginia City and we went to the Pioneer Bar. We sat at the bar and ordered Bloody Marys. Meakin finally got to say what he's always wanted to say since he was a kid, "Set 'um up bar keep." Bet you can tell we both grew up watching westerns :)

  2. We spent a couple of days at Virginia and Nevada Cities and had a great time. But that was several years ago and it has definitely come back to life since we were there.

  3. Beautiful country Larry I have never been in that neck of the woods.

  4. Nice side trip Larry! I've never heard of this town. So many places to visit right here in the United States.

  5. I love old towns like that... there are so few of them if you really think about how big this country is... thanks for the tour :)

  6. Very nice photos.. Virginia City looks like a neat town ---keeping things like they were in past years... I love old towns like that...

    Big lakes too.

  7. What a pretty town! I'd enjoy it, too.

  8. Larry, It looks like Virginia City has come a long way since Laurie and I visited the town over 10 years ago! When we visited, there wasn't much going on except a bunch of decrepit but interesting old buildings and rail equipment. Laurie remembers something about there being a 'horse poker' event when we were in town. Sounds like you are all having a good time! I'm planning on fishing at your place on Saturday now that my hand is partially healed. Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

  9. wonderful town... i love reading your post.

  10. It looks like a fun town to visit! My kids would really enjoy the shops with the old fashioned goods in it.

  11. I love the horse tied up on the rail. How fun would that be? Hope you sat down in the bar for a minute - or at least bellied up for a cold one!

  12. What is it about old barns and buildings that attract us so? I wonder who lived there? what were their lives like? a mystery, history...

    Such a wonderful trip you and Bev have had. Can't wait til you see the amazing PNW. ;) You two have a great weekend

  13. Your posts are the next best thing to being there...I'm enjoying tagging along with you. :)

  14. Love the old store. I can actually picture it back in its heyday and the busy shopkeeper filling orders for the townfolk.


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