Bannack Days bounces back from flash flood with two-day festival


Each year during the third weekend in July, Montana’s best preserved ghost town of Bannack ‘comes alive’ in a celebration of pioneer life with the annual Bannack Days festival, July 19-20.

Bring your family for activities, including: horse and wagon rides, shootouts, gold panning and candle making. Guests can enjoy cowboy poetry and old-time music throughout both days. Visitors can also check out the mountain men camp, blacksmith shop, surveyor’s camp, the Great Debate on women’s suffrage, and a 1800s U. S. Cavalry camp. There is something for everyone, along with plenty of tasty foods and drinks.

“We are looking forward to a fun-filled Bannack Days festival this year,” said Chas Van Genderen, Administrator for Montana State Parks. “This is the best attended annual, special event in our 55 state parks’ system. We are making up for lost time, as last year we had to cancel the event due to a flash flood that devastated the town site. We hope to see Montana families showing their support this year for this great state park. It’s back and better than ever. You can pan for gold, take a horse and wagon ride, listen to bluegrass music and even witness a stagecoach holdup, there is plenty to see and do, I look forward to seeing you all there.”

The stagecoach from Virginia City will be arriving at 1 p.m. on Sunday. Rumor has it that Gov. Edgerton and other dignitaries will be aboard along with a big gold shipment.

Sunday is a great day to visit as the crowds are smaller and the old-time church services and the stage holdup are on Sunday only.

Many visitors like to dress in period costumes to get into the spirit of things. Bring the family out to Bannack State Park for a fun-filled weekend. Come see what the old west was really like. 

Please carpool if possible, as parking is limited. There is a special event fee of $5 per vehicle to help cover the cost of this event. This fee will apply to both resident and out-of-state vehicles.

Park Staff asks that visitors do not bring pets to this busy event. Smoking is prohibited in the town site.

For directions and more information about Bannack State Park visit

Bannack State Park saw more than 20,000 visitors in 2013, a year that will be remembered for a flash flood in July that damaged the town site, the park was closed and the Bannack Days festival was cancelled as cleanup and rebuilding took seven weeks.

Located in Southwestern Montana, Bannack State Park is a National Historic Landmark where more than 50 buildings, weathered by the seasons still stand on the site of Montana’s first major gold discovery on July 28, 1862. Bannack is Montana’s first territorial capital, it became a state park in 1954. Visitors can stroll down the boardwalks on Main Street and wander through the deserted buildings in one of the state’s best preserved ghost towns. There are campsites, a tipi and a large group use shelter available to reserve.