Touring The Byway
64 Miles | 5 Days / 4 Nights | Gateway City: Butte, Montana
We recommend starting your journey in Butte, which was the center of mining at the turn of the century. Take the Trolley Tour to introduce yourself to the city before visiting the Carle Gallery, the World Museum of Mining with original historic buildings, and the Clark Chateau Museum and Gallery, while staying at the Copper King Mansion.
On Day Two, it’s on to Anaconda, founded by another Copper King, where a gigantic smokestack announces its presence 25 miles away. Here, you can take a bus tour past historic sites, explore the Copper Village Museum and Arts Center, and Smoke Stack State Park before an overnight at the Hickory House Inn.
View the Detailed Itinerary below to see full route complete with dining and lodging recommendations!
Steep, winding roads lead to remnants of this once thriving 1890s silver boomtown with the richest silver mine on the earth that might never have been discovered. The miner’s backers thought the venture was hopeless and ordered it closed. The message was delayed while the miners worked on the last blast on the last shift, that uncovered a bonanza that ultimately yielded $40,000,000. When word came to shut the mine down in the silver panic of 1893, granite had already been discovered the year before.
Over one hundred years ago, Garnet was home to more than 1,000 gold miners and their families, working hard to carve out a community in the heart of the mountains. There was a school and crime was low. Liquor flowed freely in the town’s many saloons, serving tired, dirty men moving tons of rock. Today, this preserved 1890s gold-mining town is home to compact log cabins with period furnishings. Pay dirt from the Top-O-Deep is available for purchase at the Visitor Center and there are water troughs and pans, if you’d like to pan for gold.
At 585 feet, the 1919 Anaconda Copper Company smelter stack is one of the tallest free-standing brick structures in the world. Since the smelter closed in 1980, it has become a symbol of the challenges that face communities dependent on finite resources. Only viewed from a distance, interpretive signs tell the story.
The World Museum of Mining lets you experience a mining camp once known as Hell Roarin’ Gulch. Over 50 exhibit buildings, countless artifacts, and 66 exhibits in the mine yard reveal the story of the Gulch and the Orphan Girl Mine. As you tour underground, you can almost see the blackened faces and hear the exhausted sighs of the miners who toiled each day.
be sure to take a tour of the Copper King Mansion, which reveals the history of the 34-room Romanesque Revival Victorian residence. After law school, William Clark grubstaked a gold mine in Colorado before heading to Bannock in southern Montana to stake a claim. He decided he was better at helping miners manage their claims than being a miner, and bought a team to haul supplies to mining camps, recorded claims for miners, and made loans, which generated an income of $17 million a month. In addition to serving as a US Senator, Clark owned newspapers, mines, sugar plantations, and oil wells, as well as the Clark Wire Company in New Jersey, and the Henry Bonnard Bronze Company in New York. He even financed the railroad through Montana and established a ranch in Nevada to help miners and railroad workers recover in the dry desert climate. To better negotiate when collecting European art, he learned French and German. A wing was added to the Corcoran Art Gallery in Washington, DC to house his collection.