Nevada City: Step Back in Time to Montana’s Gold Rush Era
Nestled in the heart of southwestern Montana, Nevada City is a picturesque ghost town that offers a unique glimpse into the legendary Gold Rush era. Situated just one and a half miles west of its sister ghost town, Virginia City, this historic site is a must-visit for anyone looking to relive the exciting history of Montana.
This article will explore the rich history, main attractions, and recreational activities available in and around Nevada City, making your visit to this Montana Ghost Town an unforgettable experience.
Nevada City’s Rich History
The history of Nevada City dates back to before gold miners settled in the town. You can learn about the earlier inhabitants from the archaeological remains found between the Nevada City Hotel and the Music Hall.
In 1863, miners who followed the Fairweather party settled in Nevada City and established homes and businesses along Alder Gulch, the 14-mile city. Nevada City was incorporated as a city in 1865 and thrived as a Gold Rush town until 1876 when gold miners moved to other lucrative sites.
The Conrey Placer Mining Company destroyed most of the city’s buildings in 1896. The company dredged the Gulch and abandoned it, leaving heavy wooden barges. When gold mining ended in 1922, it’s estimated that miners had extracted $2.5 billion of gold from the area.
Today, when you visit Nevada City, you can’t miss the feeling of living in a frontier mining town, with numerous historical buildings and collections of Old West artifacts.
Your Guide to Nevada City, Montana Ghost Town
Thanks to the Bovey family, who turned the Montana ghost town into a museum through restorations in 1945 and 1978, Nevada City is now a living history museum that offers an interesting look into the origins of the Treasure State. As a famous tourist attraction, the site provides visitors plenty of activities and education.
Best Hotels for Nevada City
BEST FOR COUPLES
- Indoor Swimming Pool
- Pets Allowed
- Free WiFi
BEST HOTEL OVERALL
- Swimming Pool
- Tea/Coffee Maker
BEST SKI LODGE
- Games Room
- Fitness Centre
Main Attractions in Nevada City
Nevada City Ghost Town is a destination chock full of historical attractions. You won’t go far without encountering iconic ruins of old structures, mills, and mines. Below are popular attractions in Nevada Ghost Town and neighboring areas.
Nevada City Music Hall
Most age-old music organs, pianos, and machines in the US are in the hands of private collectors. However, this isn’t the case in Montana. Big Sky Country is home to the largest collection of Music machines, available for public viewing. These collections rest in a Music Hall in Nevada City Ghost Town.
Nevada City Music Hall will charm you with its collection of the world’s biggest music instruments and machines. The machines were collected in the 1940s by Charles and Sue Bovey. The headliner attraction is the mammoth 90 key Gavolli military band organ, measuring 27 feet (width) by 12 feet (height) by 4 feet (depth).
More attractions in the Music Hall include:
- Three Wurlitzer band organs
- Two violin players built around 1911-1920
- A Wurlitzer theater organ
- Arcade machines
- Piano-based machines
- The largest rifle in Montana
- Giant chandeliers that once graced the State Capitol in Helena
Nevada City Ghost Town has much to offer those who want to experience Montana’s Old West history. You can explore over 90 structures and ruins preserved since the Gold Rush era.
A glimpse at what used to be a bank, jail, school, pioneer cabins, and business buildings during the Gold Rush time will dazzle you. These historic buildings feature a large selection of unique furniture and fittings that date back to Montana’s Old West history.
Head over to mining areas at Alder Gulch and marvel at the ruins of what used to be gold mining areas.
Recreational Activities in Nevada City
Nevada City Ghost Town offers plenty of recreational activities to visitors. Below are the things to enjoy in this town.
Alder Gulch Train Ride
Enjoy a train ride along the Virginia City Shortline Railroad that connects Montana’s sister towns – Virginia City and Nevada City. The ride is about 15 minutes, and it’s a perfect way to soak up the beautiful scenery around.
Nevada City has plenty of historical sites. You can visit the outdoor museum in the city that features an extensive collection of Old West artifacts. Exploring the town is a perfect way to step into Montana’s Gold Rush days.
Rafting on the Yellowstone River
If you’re a fan of water sports, the Yellowstone River has more exciting activities to offer. You can raft with your family or friends from Gardiner and admire the charming scenery of the Gallatin National Forest. Your instructor will help you navigate the river, and your professional photographer will help you capture memorable photos and videos.
Explore Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park is America’s oldest national and UNESCO World Heritage site. Its pristine landscape offers a wide variety of attractions for every outdoorsy person.
You can explore the spectacular mountains, forests, rivers, and lakes and discover the history of the exciting national treasures. Yellowstone National Park is also rich in wildlife, including gray wolves, grizzly bears, bison, elk, bighorn sheep, and bald eagle.
If you’re a culture aficionado, you can visit Livingston near the Yellowstone River for arts, shopping, and dining.
Enjoy Exciting Shows
- Enjoy a show each summer with the Virginia City Players.
- Enjoy two shows daily each summer with Brewery Follies.
Explore Virginia City’s Museum
Visit two of the most prominent museums in Virginia City Ghost Town.
- The J. Spencer Watkins Museum
- The Thompson-Hickman Museum
Take a Tour
Enjoy a tour of Virginia ghost town with:
- Vigilante Carriages
- Fire Engine Tour
Looking for an ideal hotel or lodging to accommodate you and your loved ones in Nevada City Ghost Town? Here’s a list of facilities that offer suitable accommodation.
- Red Bear Inn
- Nevada City Hotel & Cabins
- Best Western Paradise Inn
- FairBridge Inn Express
- Quality Inn Dillon
- La Quinta Inn & Suites
- Holiday Inn Express & Suites Belgrade
- Sacajawea Hotel
- The Lodge at Big Sky