There is gold! First mining camps in the area started in the 1870s, and by the 1890s the camp site was a fully explored city with ceveral hundred people living there. By 1893 the city had a railroad connection to Everett. But the potentioal of the mines was greatly overestimated and by 1920 almost all mining activities stopped.
The place got a second life as a tourist attraction, bringing thousands of visitors into town. The railroad was closed after a flood in 1932, and the road was never properly restored after several washout. The last hotel burnt down in 1983.
Today the place can be reached by hiking, parts of the street are good for cycling as well - but keep in mind that you need to carry your bicycle across a few hills, logs, rivers and stony ways.
Links with further information I've found and used to prepare the trip:
- Monte Cristo Preservation Association
- History Link.org
- Ghost Towns of Washington
- Department of Ecology, State of Washington
- The Stump Ranch
- Ghost Towns
- Western Mining History
- Hike of the Week.com
- The Seattle Times
There is absolutely no cellphone reception. In fact, your mobile device will stop working long before you reach the parking lot. No electricity, no telephone. Whatever you need, you have to carry it with you. Be prepared that there are wild animals. They will go after your food - scent plastic bags are a great help. Please also carry back all your trash, and do not leave anything behind.
When we discussed the trip, our original plan was to drive to Mountain Loop Scenic Byway, park the cars, hike to Monte Cristo and from there hike to Silver Lake. Base camp at the lake, and next day hike to Twin Lakes. We couldn't be more wrong ...
After arriving there, we decided to use the camp site and stay there over night.
Putting up the tents only took a few minutes and we used the remaining daylight to visit and explore the town.
Can you believe that they once had 5 hotels there? I found remains of two:
The view from the town and the camping site is impressive. There is still snow on some mountains, in August.