Million Dollar Treasure Hunt in Montana

About 10 years ago, Forrest Fenn, a New Mexico art dealer, millionare, and adventurer, hid a treasure chest containing one to three million dollars of treasure somewhere in the wilderness of New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, or Montana. He released his autobiography, The Thrill of the Chase, with a poem that leads to the treasure. Since publishing the poem, the treasure hunt has gone viral. A massive community has grown online of ameatur treasure hunters hoping to find the fortune! As far as Fenn knows, the treasure has not been found, and the hunt continues.

Many searchers flock to New Mexico, as this is where Forrest lives. A number of searchers believe it to be in Montana. Forrest spent all of his summers growing up in Montana, where he explored the wilderness, learned how to fish, got his first job, and developed the sense of adventure that helped him earn his fortune. If I hid a million dollar treasure, I would hide it somewhere important to me, and most of my most treasured memories were made during childhood.

My partner and I headed from South Dakota to Montana and Wyoming for the weekend. The trip was a culmination of months of borderline obsessive research of Fenn’s autobiography, topographic maps, Google Earth, and guides to various parks in the Yellowstone area.

We spent the weekend in Yellowstone area, trying to find the Fenn Treasure. We waded through creeks, traversed forests, and climbed mountains. Despite the massive amount of research and time spent developing my “solve”, or a theory about where the treasure is, we found no treasure. However, we did not go home empty-handed, as the fun memories made hiking through such a beautiful area are treasure enough. For now anyway. 😉

IMG_0717While driving through Montana, we passed a trail called “Joe Brown” trail. After some quick deliberation, we decided to turn around and take a look around due to the “home of Brown” clue.

When leaving Yellowstone, we passed a creek called Warm Creek. Due to the clue, “begin it where warm waters halt”, we had to stop and find where the creek joined the larger river. The hike turned very swampy and unfortunately we could not find the “canyon down.”

For fledgling Montana treasure hunters, try looking at Hebgen Lake, around Yellowstone, and the Shoshone Forest. Hebgen Lake is popular with searchers due to the fact the Forrest has spent a lot of time fishing in the lake. It is also filled with brown trout, making it a “home of Brown” in some ways.

Other Montana searchers believe it to be located in Glacier National Park, as warm water is locked on the peaks and therefore is the place where warm waters halt.

Trade ideas with other searchers online on the unofficial meeting place of searchers at the Thrill of the Chase Blog, http://www.dalneitzel.com. Other popular forums are on Reddit at FindingFennsGold (www.reddit.com/r/FindingFennsGold) and a number of Facebook groups. I suggest avoiding the Facebook groups as they tend to attract a large number of misinformed searchers, but it can be an interesting source of treasuring hunting stories if you can weed through the misinformation.

One searcher, Susan O’Hara has searched New Mexico and Colorado but now believes the treasure to be in Montana.

When asked why she searched, she stated “I love the outdoors. I like a reason to hike and see new places that I normally would have passed by. Also it’s about the challenge of using my mind to solve the poem.”

To find her solves, she reads Forrest’s books, reads interviews, watches Youtube videos, and studies topographic and park service maps. Her newest solves are around Hegben Lake and the Madison River.

She has even planned out what she’d do if she found the treasure.

“I’d act a fool for a while and take pictures of it once I had it in a safe spot, and post them online to taunt my fellow colleagues in searching- you have to have fun! Most likely I’d ultimately want to sell it to a museum as an entire collection to be put on display somewhere. I’d also want to sit down with Mr. Fenn and talk about each piece and let him look at the treasure pieces again – I’d return his treasured bracelet to him though.”

 

3
Dylan hiking back from the Warm Creek hike.

Remember that Forrest stated that the treasure is not located anywhere dangerous and it isn’t anywhere that an old man couldn’t hike to in an afternoon. Stay safe and have a grand adventure!

As I have gone alone in there
And with my treasures bold,
I can keep my secret where,
And hint of riches new and old.

Begin it where warm waters halt
And take it in the canyon down,
Not far, but too far to walk.
Put in below the home of Brown.

From there it’s no place for the meek,
The end is drawing ever nigh;
There’ll be no paddle up your creek,
Just heavy loads and water high.

If you’ve been wise and found the blaze,
Look quickly down, your quest to cease
But tarry scant with marvel gaze,
Just take the chest and go in peace.

So why is it that I must go
And leave my trove for all to seek?
The answers I already know
I’ve done it tired, and now I’m weak.

So hear me all and listen good,
Your effort will be worth the cold.
If you are brave and in the wood
I give you title to the gold.

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