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Day trip to Virginia City, MT?

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Allentown, PA
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299 posts
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Day trip to Virginia City, MT?

I will be spending 4 days in the West Yellowstone area and am considering taking a day trip to Virginia/Nevada City, which seems like an interesting old west mining town. Has anyone else did this and is it something you would recommend doing while visiting? The alternative would be to spend another day at Yellowstone National Park. Any advise or thoughts would be most welcome since I would like to make the most of my visit.

Beaverton, OR
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1. Re: Day trip to Virginia City, MT?

My mother-in-law lives about 20 minutes west of VC and it's an easy day trip from West.

VC has a bunch of shops on main street, some historic buildings that we have never seen open to the public, the Opera House, the Bale of Hay Saloon, some places to eat, Cousins Candy Shop, etc. My husband has friends who own a shop, so we go to VC every year we go to Montana. The Virginia City Players do a vaudeville style show and a short melodrama play (I believe they have some matinee performances) at the Opera House. I'm not sure what the schedule is like for the brewery follies. There is a stage coach that does tours and they also do horse back rides. There's a mining museum and a place to pan for gold and other minerals for a fee. There is a ghost walk that leaves the Bale of Hay Saloon at 9 pm. The hotel is open and I believe has a tour (My parents did the tour several years ago).

Nevada City is mostly a collection of old buildings brought in from other locations (with some buildings that were already there) and placed to represent how a big old west mining town might have appeared. It takes 2 or 3 hours to go through, read all the signs, etc. There have been a number of movies shot there. There is a narrow guage train that runs between NC and VC (1.5 miles). A steam train on weekends and holidays and a gas train during the week. The Star Bakery has really good food and the owners, John and his wife (can't remember her name right now) are nice people. John works the front and is a trip!

As far as old west mining towns go, I prefer Bannock State Park (18 miles west of Dillon - maybe 90 minutes from VC?) to VC/NC. Garnet Ghost Town east of Missoula is fantastic.

Would I take a day away from Yellowstone to do it? No but I'm not a fan of VC -- never have liked it and don't know why. If I had my choice, I wouldn't make the trip just to go to VC/NC and miss out on another day in the park. BUT, we have seen lots of the "old west" towns like that (not to mention actual ghost towns and old mining relics we have stumbled across in the mountains) and have pretty much seen VC every year for the past 10 years.

If you have never seen anything like that, and are bored with the park, and will never have the chance to see something like that again...........I might do it with a stop at the Quake Lake Visitor Center on the way and a trip to Bannock. But that is just my opinion.

I'm hoping some other people will give their opinions.

Calgary, Canada
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for Waterton Lakes National Park, Nelson
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2. Re: Day trip to Virginia City, MT?

We really enjoyed our day in VC. Your trip from Yellowstone will also take you through Ennis, MT. This is a really interesting old town, with quite a few great restaurants.

I second the suggestion for Garnet ghost town. We were fascinated by it. (As you might have guessed hubby and I are history fans!)

You can find pictures of VC and Garnet on my personal web page - here's the link:


Feel free to look at any pages that interest you.

West Yellowstone, MT
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3. Re: Day trip to Virginia City, MT?

If you enjoy history (especially the early West) and geology, I think it is worth taking a day. It is one of the few places in the U.S. where living actors re-enact daily life experiences.

We live in West Yellowstone and always take a day during the summer to go over. We take Highway 287 along Hebgen and Quake Lakes. (Watch for moose, mountain goats, and mountain sheep.)

We always stop at the Quake Lake Visitor Center. I think it is interesting to watch the movie and learn about the massive earthquake (one of the largest ever in the U.S.). We also stop at Resteveldt's (next to the DQ in Ennis) for some of the best home made jerky you will ever taste!

Virginia City offers events and activities throughout the summer. The "living actors" are historical experts and the plays they put on interesting! Ride the train or catch the Brewery Follies. More information can be found at this website, www.virginiacitychamber.com/activities.cfm

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for Saint Joseph
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4. Re: Day trip to Virginia City, MT?

The part we always love best about Virginia City is going to the Opera House show in the evening. The play followed by the fun vaudville acts have alway been one of our favorite Montana activities. We usually stay in town - or in Nevada city in the rustic cabins or hotel tho, since we are on our way from Yellowstone to Glacier. If you can't be there for the evening show -- then I don't know if just hanging out in town would be worth it. On second thought --the drive over through the lovely ranch land is pretty great!

5. Re: Day trip to Virginia City, MT?

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