Granite was a mining boomtown from the late 1870s to the early 1890s. It is now completely uninhabited. At its peak, it had a population of around 3,000. Granite is in the mountains above (east) of Philipsburg. The site is a designated Montana State Park but few improvements have been made as of 2014. Very little of the town of Granite survives. The Miners Union Hall (above) is the one of most significant surviving structures. There are several other remnants of smaller buildings and miners cottages around the townsite. Many are hidden in the woods and are easy to miss. A Granite Ghost Town handout/guide is available at the National Forest Service office in Philipsburg. The Granite trail map and guide can be downloaded from the Philipsburg Chamber of Commerce here. There are no state park offices or facilities at the Granite site. There are several informational signs and trail markers though. The mine supervisor's house (not pictured) is nicely preserved and might one day become the park office.
There are extensive surviving remains of of the Ruby Shaft Mine/Granite Mine, mill and aerial tramway a little to the east of Granite townsite. This mine was the primary reason for Granites' existence. It operated from around 1880 to the early 1890s and intermittently for a few decades after that. Silver was the most economically important metal it produced. Mining activity had begun in the area in the early 1870s and reached a peak around 1890. The aerial tramway was constructed to move ore to a stamp mill built about a mile and a half south of Granite in Rumsey. The mill and tramway were built around 1888. Some remains of Rumsey exist but I didn't make it there. I saw maybe 10 other cars/groups at Granite during the several hours I spent in and around Granite on a nice, summer, weekend afternoon.
The road to Granite from Philipsburg is rough in places. The trip from the end of paved road to the townsite is only 3 miles but the road climbs over 1,200 feet during that stretch and is not well maintained. It is extremely narrow with no possibility of two vehicles passing each other for a few pretty long stretches with very steep drop-offs. Large rocks tend to fall into the roadway. There are also a few very steep climbs and uneven sections but my two wheel drive CRV made it okay. I would not want to attempt the trip in anything with lower clearance but it probably would be possible. The Forest Service office in Philipsburg has a handout map to Granite. There are also several small directional signs at key intersections pointing the way.
There are several other large abandoned mines and mills north of Granite in the mountains above Philipsburg that I didn't get a chance to visit. As well as the abandoned mines there are several small active mines in the area. A very small active mine is visible from Granite.
All content on these pages Copyright Mark Hedlund 2012-2017. All rights reserved. Use in school projects and with links on social media is always okay. Please send me an email to request permission for any other use: firstname.lastname@example.org Non-exclusive commercial publication rights for most photos is $25 per image.