Big Sky History & Museums: Karst Camp, Big Sky Montana

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Historic Karst Camp

Take a giant step back to the early days of Yellowstone tourism with a visit to the Historic Karst Camp, located near Big Sky, Montana, on Hwy 191, between Bozeman and West Yellowstone. Read More

  • Established in 1901 by Pete Karst to host early visitors to Yellowstone National Park.
  • With 25 guest cabins, Karst Camp saw up to 600 tourists a summer.
  • Ghost town today preserves original cabins and entrance to old asbestos mine.
  • Located southeast of Big Sky, Mont., off Hwy. 191.

What can I see and do at Karst's Camp?

This genuine Old West ghost town is the remains of one of the region's earliest dude ranches, and features original buildings and the entrance of an old asbestos mine. While there isn't much to see and do today, you can either drive by or go for a short hike.

Where is the Karst Camp?

Located between Bozeman and Yellowstone National Park, near Big Sky on Highway 191. Drive 7.4 miles north of the junction to Big Sky. Cross the bridge and you’ll find a new subdivision of houses and cabins. Some of the originals are here and there is also a trail that leads up to the old mine.

When can I visit Karst's Camp?

Accessible year-round, but it's easiest to visit in the summer.

Tell me about the history.

Developed by Pete Karst around 1901, the ranch at one time bustled with summer visitors eager to see Yellowstone National Park and the surrounding rugged environs. Karst was given the land as back payment by his employer, the Cooper Tie Company. He first built a cabin for himself followed by a total of 25 guest cabins. Karst later put in a tow rope for skiers – long since vanished – as well as a bar and brothel for the local miners.

At its peak, Karst's ranch saw up to 600 summer visitors. Today, only a few of the old cabins remain surrounded by a modern-day subdivision, but access is easy to this beautiful canyon in the Gallatin Mountains. Visitors can take a peek at a few of the original cabins, enjoy a short hike up to the old mine, and imagine the rugged conditions both residents and tourists must have had to endure to appreciate Yellowstone Country 100 years ago.

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