The 5 Best Ghost Tours in Montana

Kurt Norris
Last Updated: February 24th, 2023

As a state riddled with abandoned mining communities and a historic homesteading culture, Montana is filled with mysterious landmarks and haunting tales. And while Montana may be world-renowned for its iconic natural attractions and national parks, it is also a hotspot for lovers of all things haunted and the occult.

Several tours throughout Montana delve deep into the countryside’s haunted roots. Some are seasonal, opening every October and operating through Halloween. Others remain open throughout the year and even attract tourists specifically for the opportunity to witness the site’s paranormal wonders.

From abandoned mining towns to a retired prison complex, these are the five best ghost tours in Montana for beginning your exploration of the state’s haunted destinations.

Top 5 Haunting Ghost Tours in Montana

  1. Montana Prison Ghost Tour ­— Deer Lodge
  2. Spooks and Spirits — Butte
  3. Bannack Ghost Walk — Bannack State Park
  4. Virginia City Night Tours — Virginia City
  5. Haunted Helena Tours — Helena

montana prison ghost tour deer lodge

1. Montana Prison Ghost Tour – Deer Lodge

While the Montana Old Prison and its museum welcome visitors throughout the year to explore its retired premises, visiting in October is truly a chilling experience. This is because the prison opens its facilities for night tours and welcomes guests to wander its haunted halls from 8:30 pm to 5:00 am.

Opened in 1871, the Old Montana Prison operated in Deer Lodge for nearly a century, during which time it was home to some of Montana’s most dangerous and violent criminals. Throughout its tenure, the prison became overcrowded and boasted abysmal living conditions which spurned several riots in its time.

A year after its closing in 1970, the prison was converted into a museum. Tales of the facility’s ghostly presence have been regaling the general populace ever since. Even today, visitors to the complex claim to feel unexplained chills as they walk through its empty halls during day tours of the museum.

These foreboding sensations are even more enhanced when visiting the museum at night during the Montana Prison Ghost Tour.

During these tours, the prison opens new locations that are unavailable during regular museum hours. Sites such as the Death Tower, the Hospital, and The Hole are said to be home to the prison’s most ghostly presence and are only available throughout the limited-time tour.

While the event begins with a guided introduction through the complex, most of the night is a self-led wandering through the facility, and that’s when the true paranormal interactions start.

While this tour may not be for the faint of heart, the Montana Prison Ghost Tour is one of the best activities in Montana for ghost hunters and haunted house lovers.

2. Spooks & Spirits – Butte

spooks and spirits butte

Boasting one of the most significant concentrations of haunted locations in Montana, Butte is a ghost hunter’s dream. With over 38 recognized haunted structures, visitors can spend days exploring Butte’s paranormal side. Or, they can visit most, if not all, in a single afternoon while enjoying local beverages with a Spooks & Spirits Tour.

Owned and operated by a local history teacher that works at Butte Highschool, Spooks & Spirits visits all of Montana’s haunted attractions over the course of a single day broken up into two tours.

Each stop along the tour is home to some of Montana’s great paranormal mysteries, with several of Spook & Spirit’s Tour groups experiencing these encounters firsthand.

While not all groups are visited directly by the local spirits, every guest will receive fantastic insight into Butte’s past, the population that once lived there, and the residents that never left, even after their demise.

As one of Montana’s premier haunting tours backed by historical records and archival evidence, Spooks Spirits is a top-rated service, especially in the fall season. Tours should be booked in advance to guarantee your spot as you explore the haunted corners of the city.

3. Bannack Ghost Walk – Bannack State Park

bannack ghost walk bannack state park

Founded in the 1860s, Bannack was an active and vibrant mining town until the 1930s. By then, much of the gold that had triggered immigration to the area had largely dried up, and within 20 years, the community was all but abandoned.

Today, many of Bannack’s buildings continue to stand, marking the locations where the early 19th-century miners left their mark on Montana’s society. The ghost town is operated by the state as Bannack State Park and invites visitors to explore its mining community history.

However, what is typically largely left unmentioned during tours throughout most of the year is that throughout its heyday, Bannack played host to many shootouts and public hangings and was even home to many notable outlaws, most famously the notorious Henry Plummer.

Throughout October, Bannack’s less-than-reputable past comes to the forefront of the public’s attention as the park opens its facilities to its annual Bannack Ghost Walks. The guided tour leads guests to the park’s most haunted corners while the informative guide recounts tales of the town’s paranormal encounters.

Visitors with keen aspirations of having an unearthly encounter will want to head to the Hotel Meade, which is renowned for hosting an abundance of the park’s paranormal interactions, or to the old home of Henry Plummer, who is said to still roam the streets seeking vengeance on the townsfolk.

Throughout the tours, the park engages a collection of actors to perform live re-enactments that genuinely bring the park’s past to life. So whether you’re lucky enough to experience something paranormal or not, the Bannack Ghost Walks are sure to promise an evening of fun and chilling adventure.

4. Virginia City Night Tours — Virginia City

virginia city ghost town

As one of Montana’s oldest mining communities, Virginia City was a bustling town of cowboys and outlaws and was the epitome of frontier living between 1863 and the 1870s.

While the city lay primarily abandoned for the better part of the century, independent preservation efforts to restore the community began in the 1940s, and the town has since grown into a popular tourist attraction.

While Virginia City is a vibrant restoration that welcomes dozens of tourists each day to explore the early mining lifestyle of Montana, the town is also considered one of the state’s most haunted destinations.

From wild Western shootouts to local hangings, there are plenty of unsavory stories to explore in the town, which only heightens the fact that several paranormal encounters have been reported by tourists and locals alike.

Brave visitors can explore these inexplicable occurrences via an intrepid evening tour offered nightly starting from the Bale of Hay Saloon. Along the tour, groups are led through the city’s streets while their informative guide shares true spooky tales of the city’s mysterious past.

While only the lucky tour groups may experience one of these supernatural ghostly encounters firsthand, every visitor on the tour will be left with a fun evening of spooky ambiance.

5. Haunted Helena Tours — Helena

haunted helena tours

Operated by Last chance Tours, the Haunted Helena Tour guides guests via trolley ride to all of Helena’s spookiest and most haunted sites. And as one of Montana’s longest inhabited cities that has been a prosperous society ever since Montana’s early gold rush days, there are plenty of haunted attractions to explore.

As such a long-running community established in 1864, it is no wonder that the city has garnered a massive concentration of ghostly locales, particularly in Reeder’s Alley, one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods.

The Haunted Helena Tour starts and ends in this haunted corner of Helena and is led by an informative historian guide living in the area.

Along the tour, the guide shows visitors throughout the city’s historic quarters, all the while recounting the true spooky tails of the community and the series of paranormal events that have occurred there.

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About The Author

Kurt Norris

A Canada-based freelance writer, Kurt acquired his bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Windsor. Upon graduating, Kurt left the courtside media desk behind and began venturing the globe. Throughout his journeys, Kurt enjoys partaking in slow travel and loves to explore the histories and cultures of each destination, which he shares with others through his writing.

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