Before the Christmas break we were boondocking and exploring our way through western Montana. Over the next several entries we will look at several other lesser known historic mining towns in Montana.
The area west of Melrose, Montana witnessed plenty of mining activity in the late 1800’s and is worth a visit. There in the majestic Pioneer Mountains you will find the remains of Helca, Lion City, Vipond and Glendale.
Since there are several days needed to explore the area, you will need to find a place to camp. Fortunately, there are many opportunities from a private RV park.
Let’s take a look.
Those looking for full hookups or a place to dump and take on water before heading to a dry camp site will want to visit the Sportsman Motel and RV Park located at the north end of Melrose on Hwy 91.
A less formal campground with easy access and minimal amenities is at the Salmon Fly Fishing Access Site on Trapper Creek Road. Not only does it make a great base camp, as all the sites you will be exploring are up Trapper Creek Road, it is located on the beautiful Big Hole River offering world class fishing opportunities. Fees are $12 / night or $7 / night with a Montana fishing license.
For RVers that like rustic camping in the boonies with wildlife will want to head west approximately 3.5 miles up Trapper Creek Road (consisting of well-graded gravel) to a site we dubbed “Valley of The Bones,” which you will find at N45 38.169 W112 44.904. The reason we gave it the name we did was the area above our camp appears to be a popular disposal site for the locals, including the bones of hunted animals. While the bones weren’t very appealing, the ample supply of firewood in the form of discarded building materials and brush cuttings was very appreciated in an area otherwise dominated by sage. After returning each evening from our exploring we were treated to moose, deer and antelope coming out to feed in the farmers alfalfa field below our camp, followed by a cozy campfire and a good night’s sleep.
Visiting historic sites and enjoying the wildlife while camped at the Valley of the Bones, just another adventure in RVing!
Next week we will explore one of the Ghost Towns up Trapper Creek Road.
For more details about visiting campgrounds in the region visit www.campgroundreviews.com