Washington April 09, 2019
There’s A Hike In Washington That Leads You Straight To An Abandoned Village
The only thing better than a beautiful hike in Washington is a hike with a side of history. There’s a little ghost town in Pierce County known as Melmont that pays homage to our local past — and there just happens to be a scenic trail that takes you right to it.
The Melmont Ghost Town trail is a 7-mile out-and-back hike that begins near the town of Carbonado.
Carbonado is a small community located south of Buckley near Mt. Rainier National Park.
The hike is relatively easy, although it can be muddy after it rains.
The best way to begin is to climb down the Carbonado side of the Fairfax Bridge.
The trail follows an abandoned rail grade, and you'll spend plenty of time riverside...
... and after about 3 miles, you'll reach Melmont.
There's not much left to this old mining town, but there's certainly enough to explore.
The town was founded in 1900 when a subsidiary of Northern Pacific Railway started the Melmont coal mine.
The town once had a schoolhouse, a train depot, a saloon, a hotel (which held a post office, a butcher shop, and a general store), and cottages that were used as housing for the miners.
During the 16 years the mine operated, it produced about 900,000 tons of coal.
The town even had a scandal: In 1905, the house of Jack Wilson, then the foreman of the mines, was bombed with a load of dynamite someone put under the house. Although Jack and his daughter were sleeping inside, they were not harmed. A minder named David Steele was charged with the crime, but he was acquitted due to lack of evidence.
By the early 1920s, the local mines were all closed, and a forest fire destroyed most of what was left of the town soon after.
Aside from a few scraps, all that currently remains of Melmont is part of the foundation of a bridge, a small building once used for storing explosives, and the foundation of the schoolhouse.
Despite its fairly long length, this is one ofd the easier ghost town hikes in Washington, and it's well worth the journey.
It's fascinating to see our abandoned villages, knowing that entire communities once called them home.
If you’re a local history buff who loves to hike, this is definitely a trail worth taking. Here are some
other great ghost town hikes here in Washington.