In the last installment we looked at the upper camp of Coolidge, Montana. This week we will look at where to RV while exploring upper camp, along with several other interesting places to explore in the vicinity.
Price Creek Campground is conveniently located just off Comet Ridge Road which is the jumping off point for exploring upper camp. The road to and within the campground is paved along with the sites. The long spacious sites complete with picnic tables and fire rings will accommodate the largest of RVs. Many of the sites are pull-throughs, providing easy access. As of the summer of 2014, the rate was $8 per night. You will find the campground at: N45°28.773 W113° 04.983 Click here for more information on the campground. Boondockers will find a nice spot along the south side of Comet Ridge Road just past the turn off to the campground at: N45° 28.617 W113° 04.983
After you have explored upper camp you will want to take a short detour to the historical Park Mine located at: N45° 29.064 W113° 02.995. The Park Mine is located just 1/3 (air) mile from the upper camp and the Elkhorn Mine and was believed to have tapped the same mineralized faults. While the neighboring Elkhorn Mine was primarily a silver mine, samples taken by the U.S. Bureau of Mines in 1995 revealed 1.05 to 5.8 ounces of gold per ton at the Park Mine. Historic records show the mine produced millions of dollars in gold and silver while it was active. It is quite possible that the Park Mine connects to the Elkhorn Mine somewhere deep underground. Remains at the site include the mines and several cabins, one which is fully intact and nearly inhabitable.
After you have explored the Park Mine head east about 100 yards to some very photogenic ruins on the edge of a beautiful mountain meadow at: N45° 29.032 W113° 02.934. This could be another part of the Park Mine or a completely different operation. It is unknown as the historic records are unclear. The single lane dirt road to the Park Mine and it’s neighbor is unsigned, but should be accessible by most passenger vehicles. If you are still up for more adventure and have a stout off-road vehicle, perhaps head up Comet Mountain where you will rise above tree line and be rewarded with an outstanding view at the end of the road. Along the way you will pass additional ruins of the area`s mining past with the best ruins at: N45° 27.377 W113° 03.404
While you are camped in the area, be sure and plan a visit to nearby Crystal Park. In the park you can dig for lovely quartz and Amethyst crystals, which average a couple inches in length. Bring along a shovel and sifting screen to find one of these sparkling souvenirs, which will serve as a reminder of your Montana RV adventure. You will find the park at: N45° 29.226 W113° 05.982 Click here for more information.
This concludes our RVing adventure through the mining past of southwest Montana. I hope you have enjoyed it. As always, I welcome your comments (via the comment box below) and suggestions for future blogs.