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HISTORY & PREHISTORY

Sluice Boxes State Park

Sluice Boxes

Sluice Boxes State Park is found by winding along the Belt Creek through a beautiful canyon. The canyon wall rises 500—feet above the stream and is surrounded by forests of ponderosa pine trees. This rugged canyon has seen its share of prospectors searching for precious metals. In October of 1879, two men found rich veins of silver and lead and within a year, there were 100 men mining the ore at the Barker mines. They sent it by wagon to Fort Benton, where it was loaded on Missouri River steamboats. Soon there were many smelters built to accommodate the rich findings. The Barker mines produced $370,000 in high-grade ore. For the next 50 years, the mines continued production until the quality of the ore was unsuitable for the smelters. In 1943, the mines closed and the railroads followed.

Sluice Boxes

The abandoned railway line along the Belt Creek Gorge offers excellent trout fishing and scenic wilderness hiking to the nearby mining ghost town. Today, this 1.5-mile gorge is a favorite for fishermen and lovers of wildlife. This beautiful undeveloped park, with its lasting remnants of the train trestle and tunnel, offers a unique experience to each visitor. There is a parking lot at the Riceville Bridge (the lower end) with a vault toilet. There are no other facilities at this site. The site is 1,454 acres in size and 3,312 feet in elevation.

How To Find It!

Sluice Boxes State Park is located 15 miles south on U.S. 89 from Belt, then 2 miles west on the county road.

For more information and maps visit the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks listing for Sluice Boxes State Park.

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