Melmont Ghost Town
Relics of Time Past
Happy Halloween! It's the time of year when our imaginations lean toward the eerie and mysterious. A perfect time for us to share one of our trip reports of a ghost town, Melmont Ghost Town. Uninhabited and reasonably easy to get to, it's worthy of your chill seeking!
Hiking to Melmont Ghost Town
Melmont was founded in 1900 along the Carbon River. A coal mining town built by a subsidiary of the Northern Pacific Railway. The town boasted a schoolhouse, saloon, powder house, train depot, post office and numerous cottages, among others. The coal the mines produced was tracked to nearby Carbonado for processing. As the coal production began to decline, so did the population. The town being nearly deserted sometime in the early 1920's, many of the buildings were destroyed by fire.
Today there remain echos of this once lively community in the forms of crumbling block walls, and vegetation covered foundations. The trail begins along one end of the Fairfax Bridge, a thrill in itself! The round trip will require only around 4 miles out of you, depending on how much you explore. The first remnants you encounter are off to the right of the trail. A good length of block wall, mossy and worn is all that remains of this structure. Continuing on the path leads to a 4 walled, roofless, block building. In researching this, it appears on blueprints as the "Powder House". We cannot confirm or deny the identity of the place, but it's pretty neat to stand in the middle of this square and imagine the past.
Further up, the trail forks and going right will lead to Melmont. There is field below the trail, flat and boggy that is said to be the site of the cottages that housed the workers. The remnants of an old bridge are supposed to be in this area, but we didn't see it. The left fork leads up to what was once purportedly a schoolhouse. Partial walls and foundations that nature has reclaimed are to be found here.
Since it is Fall and the sunlight paints long shadows, it does make for the perfect setting to explore a ghost town. The draw of mystery and something inexplicable are easy reasons to lead one to a place such as this. We didn't experience anything supernatural or the least bit spooky. The sense that there is an impermanence to all we create and eventually all things are lost to memory is perhaps the scariest part of Melmont Ghost Town.
A lovely Autumn hike steeped in history. A muddy, sun dappled trail with the rushing of the Carbon River as a soundtrack. The trees have all donned their Fall palettes and are awaiting your arrival!
Coordinates to Parking: 47.040978, -122.041857
Elevation Gain: 100'
Distance: 2 miles roundtrip (further if you continue on trail past the ruins)
Difficulty: Easy (hardest part is descending from bridge down to trail)
Pass Required: None