THE 10 BEST Arizona Ghost Towns

Ghost towns in arizona.

  • Points of Interest & Landmarks
  • Historic Sites
  • Churches & Cathedrals
  • Monuments & Statues
  • Ghost Towns
  • South Mountain
  • Budget-friendly
  • Good for Kids
  • Hidden Gems
  • Good for Big Groups
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  • Adventurous
  • Honeymoon spot
  • Good for Adrenaline Seekers
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  • Things to do ranked using Tripadvisor data including reviews, ratings, photos, and popularity.

where is ghost town in arizona

1. Goldfield Ghost Town

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2. Oatman Ghost Town

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3. Gold King Mine Museum and Ghost Town

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4. Vulture City Ghost Town

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5. Chloride, Arizona

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6. Fairbank Historic Townsite

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7. Arizona Grand Golf Course

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8. Jerome, Az

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9. Swansea Ghost Town

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11. Perkinsville Ghost Town

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12. Gleeson Jail

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13. Gleeson Ghost Town

where is ghost town in arizona

14. Valentine Station Gift Shop

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15. Two Guns, Canyon Dyablo Bridge

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16. Fairbank Historic Townside

where is ghost town in arizona

17. Adamana Ghost Town

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Urbex Underground

27 Ghost Towns In Arizona [MAP]

Last Updated on October 5, 2023 by Urbex Underground

If you’re searching for ghost towns in Arizona, we’ve got you covered! Below are 27 different ghost towns you can explore across the great state of Arizona along with their status and exact GPS coordinates.

We rate ghost towns in Arizona based on their status. Here’s how our system works:

  • Abandoned: Is abandoned with ruins and structures in a decayed state. Great for urban explorers .
  • Historic: Preservation efforts have been made and sometimes plaques installed. Great for everyone .
  • Barren: Almost nothing remains of the town. Ideal for metal detectorists.
  • Commercial: Is commercially owned with amenities, restaurants, and stores. Great for families .
  • Semi-Abandoned : Abandoned areas with a small population in the area.
  • Privately Owned: Tours might be available but not open to the general public.

1. Adamsville

2. agua caliente, 4. bellevue, 10. hilltop, 11. lochiel, 14. swansea, 15. duquesne, 17. big bug, 19. goldfield, 21. castle dome landing, 22. chloride, 23. klondyke, 25. stanton, 27. vulture city, the anarchist’s guide to exploration.

If you’re looking to dive deeper into the world of urban exploration, this book is for you. Learn how to uncover more abandoned places and the techniques used to capture their beauty.

33.012778, -111.441944 Status: Abandoned

where is ghost town in arizona

Adamsville, Arizona, once a bustling farm town, was established in 1866 by Fred A. Adams, originally from New Mexico. Located in the Gila Valley, it was moved later to the Salt River Valley to capitalize on the fertile lands.

The Bichard brothers, notable entrepreneurs, built a state-of-the-art flouring mill and opened various stores, contributing to the town’s growth. Despite its modest size, Adamsville was once the hub of activity in the Gila Valley. However, the town was largely abandoned after the Gila River flooded it in the late 1800s, leading to its eventual decline.

What’s Left?

Today, Adamsville exists as a ghost town, having seen its population taper off considerably by the 1920s. Situated at an elevation of 1,450 feet on the south bank of the Gila River, west of Florence, the town offers a few relics for urban explorers. Among these remnants are an old cemetery and a smattering of ruins from buildings that once stood there.

32.985278, -113.324444 Status: Abandoned

ghost town in Arizona that are abandoned

Agua Caliente in Arizona was once a bustling resort town, particularly popular during the 1930s. Originally named after its natural hot springs, the area was first used by Native Americans before attracting white settlers.

In the 1940s, the town underwent a consolidation into three districts. Over the years, agricultural activities like farming and irrigation led to the depletion of the springs, contributing to the decline of the town. Despite this, the population remained mostly white throughout its history.

The ruins of the old Agua Caliente resort can still be seen today, along with some signs of life scattered throughout the town. The natural hot springs that once drew people to the area have diminished due to agricultural use, but the Pioneer Cemetery remains a historical point of interest.

Contrary to popular belief, the cemetery is not a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but it does offer a glimpse into 19th-century life in the region. Visitors exploring the area can experience a touch of the past amid the remnants of this once-thriving resort town.

31.62062, -110.87613 Status: Abandoned

where is ghost town in arizona

Alto, Arizona, has a rich history that extends beyond mere ruins. The town holds the distinction of being the home to the United States’ first female postmaster, Minnie Bond. Established as a small community, Alto flourished briefly but like many other ghost towns, faced a decline and was eventually abandoned.

Today, the area features various ruins scattered across an isolated stretch of the Arizona desert, inviting explorers to uncover its past. Additionally, a campsite is conveniently located just outside the ruins, making Alto an ideal destination for urban explorers who enjoy camping while delving into the historical aspects of the region.

33.33194, -110.94333 Status: Abandoned

ghost towns in Arizona that used to be boo towns

Bellevue, Arizona, located five miles south of Miami, was once a thriving mining community. Established in the 1880s, the town saw its peak population of about 300 people by 1925.

Bellevue boasted various amenities like a post office, an assay office, and two newspapers. However, a decline set in when several mines closed in 1927, leading to the abandonment of the community. Today, the town serves as an atmospheric locale for those interested in Arizona’s mining history.

Visitors to Bellevue can still find remnants of its once-prosperous mining era. The Gibson Copper mill stands in partial ruin, a testament to the town’s past, along with scattered ore piles.

While the post office and newspapers are long gone, these enduring structures and deposits provide a fascinating glimpse into what life was like during the town’s heyday. Explorers can walk among these historical markers, taking in the eerie atmosphere of this abandoned mining town.

32.58957, -109.96939 Status: Abandoned

where is ghost town in arizona

As you traverse Arizona, you’ll encounter various abandoned towns, each with its own unique tale. Bonita, located in Graham County, is one such intriguing ghost town. Unlike some forgotten locales that leave no lasting impression, Bonita offers both historical insight and natural beauty, making it a worthwhile detour for travelers.

To reach Bonita, visitors can take a dirt road that not only provides access to the town but also offers stunning vistas and opportunities to observe local wildlife. Due to the remote location and the condition of the road, caution and preparation are advisable for those planning a trip.

Once in Bonita, explorers will find the remnants of a community that once thrived here, an atmospheric setting that combines both the historical and the natural in a compelling way.

34.778611, -113.794444 Status: Abandoned

where is ghost town in arizona

Arizona is home to numerous ghost towns that offer glimpses into the history of mining and the Old West, and Cedar is one such town. The community saw the establishment of its first post office in 1895, although it eventually forwarded its mail to the nearby Yucca District as the town declined.

Visitors to Cedar will find a wealth of rock ruins and mining remnants, offering an extensive look into the town’s past. Nestled in a canyon, the area is dense with both natural beauty and historical structures. A surprisingly large number of abandoned buildings are scattered throughout the town, making it a rich site for exploration and a deeper understanding of Arizona’s mining history.

35.303056, -114.139722 Status: Abandoned

where is ghost town in arizona

Cerbat is an Arizona ghost town with a captivating history. Founded in the early 1860s, it flourished for a time and even served as the county seat in 1877 before the designation was transferred to Mineral Park. Despite its early promise, Cerbat eventually fell into decline and became a ghost town.

The area around Cerbat now features a cemetery that stands as a solemn reminder of the town’s past. Located adjacent to the ghost town itself, the cemetery is accessible only by a high-clearance vehicle due to the rough terrain. For those who make the journey, the experience offers a poignant look into the history and the lives that once populated this now-deserted community.

31.658889, -111.2725 Status: Abandoned

where is ghost town in arizona

Situated 55 miles southwest of Tucson on the Arivaca Road, between Amado and Arivaca, Cerro Colorado is a mining district steeped in legend and history. The town is particularly famous for two things: the tragic massacre of mining workers by Mexican outlaws and its high-grade surface silver, which comes from the nearby Cerro Colorado Mine.

Today, Cerro Colorado remains a largely abandoned mining town in southern Arizona. The once-rich deposits that initially spurred the growth of small communities have since led to the cessation of mining operations.

For those who venture to this desolate area, the remnants of the town provide a compelling glimpse into the Wild West era, complete with all its complexities and contradictions.

31.46752, -110.7075 Status: Abandoned

where is ghost town in arizona

Harshaw, Arizona, situated in the Coronado National Forest, was a thriving community during the early 1900s, buoyed by the gold and silver booms. As the price of silver fluctuated, the town’s population declined. In 1963, the Forest Service initiated a plan to help residents relocate to a more sustainable area, but the efforts proved unsuccessful, leaving only a few inhabitants

Located just south of Patagonia, Harshaw stands as one of Arizona’s most intriguing ghost towns. The majority of the town remains vacant, offering a haunting but captivating tableau for visitors.

Explorers can walk among the dilapidated buildings and the empty streets, each a silent testament to the community that once thrived in this challenging landscape.

31.99444, -109.2775 Status: Abandoned

where is ghost town in arizona

The Hilltop Ghost Town in Arizona offers a rich historical experience, particularly for those interested in the state’s mining past. Established as a mining community, the town was abandoned in the late 1920s after the closure of the local mine. Notable remnants like the old schoolhouse still stand, making it an intriguing destination for those looking to delve into history.

For those planning to explore Hilltop, caution is advised. The town’s deteriorating condition makes it unsafe for casual visits, and it’s recommended to explore the area only with an experienced guide.

While some buildings and structures are still accessible to the public, visitors should be mindful of the risks involved and take necessary precautions to ensure a safe exploration experience.

31.33565, -110.62397 Status: Abandoned

where is ghost town in arizona

Lochiel, Arizona, is a small ghost town accessible via a dirt road, offering a unique window into the past. This tiny community once served as a border crossing, and while it may not appeal to all travelers, it holds a certain nostalgic charm for those interested in history.

The journey to Lochiel is a scenic one, offering beautiful landscapes and chances for wildlife spotting. Once there, visitors can find various ancient buildings standing in different states of decay. Depending on the time of day and the safety conditions, you may explore these abandoned structures to get a feel for what life was like in this once-bustling border town.

31.46176, -111.23707 Status: Abandoned

where is ghost town in arizona

Ruby, Arizona, is a captivating ghost town that was abandoned in 1941. Originally a mining community, the town still features a number of well-preserved buildings left behind by the mining company, offering a glimpse into the area’s past.

To reach Ruby, drive a few miles from Arivaca, Arizona. The road turns to dirt halfway through the journey, but it’s well-maintained and easily navigable. Once there, visitors will find an abandoned mine along with a well-preserved mercantile, a three-room school, a playground, and other various structures.

This array of historical buildings makes Ruby one of the more well-preserved ghost towns in Arizona, offering an enriching experience for explorers.

32.52953, -111.44242 Status: Abandoned

where is ghost town in arizona

The Sasco ghost town in Arizona is a small, little-known mining town. Named after the Southern Arizona Smelting Company, Sasco was established in 1907 and operated until 1921. Sasco’s history is intriguing, and you should try to visit it when you’re in the area.

Despite its vanishing past, Sasco has some interesting ruins to explore. Although the ruins of the mining operation are still present, you can still see the old post office, hotel, and all other buildings associated with a mining operation. The plain concrete headstones are also some of the remaining. You may be able to spot a few of them on the ruins.

34.17001, -113.84604 Status: Abandoned

where is ghost town in arizona

Sasco, a little-known ghost town in Arizona, was named after its founding company, the Southern Arizona Smelting Company. Established in 1907, the mining town thrived for a period before it ceased operations in 1921. The town’s history is both compelling and relatively obscure, making it an intriguing destination for those interested in Arizona’s mining past.

Although Sasco has largely faded into the annals of history, a number of intriguing ruins remain. Visitors can explore the remnants of the mining operation as well as the old post office, hotel, and other structures typical of a mining community. Among these remains, plain concrete headstones also dot the landscape, adding another layer to the town’s historical texture.

31.382453, -110.675328 Status: Abandoned

Duquesne, often referred to as “downtown” Duquesne, has been abandoned for nearly a century. This Arizona town was once a bustling mining community, complete with mines, various structures, and even a hotel situated off Duquesne Road in a forested area.

Today, the Duquesne Ghost Town offers a variety of ruins to explore. Notably, it was once the site of the Westinghouse Electric Company’s headquarters and the Bonanza Mine.

Visitors can also see the ruins of homes and businesses, including a house once owned by George Westinghouse himself. Additional remnants like a boarding house, a brothel, and an old cemetery add depth to the town’s layered history.

34.155, -112.70694 Status: Abandoned

Weaver, Arizona, was a gold mining town established in 1863 following the discovery of gold in the area. The town was named after Pauline Weaver, a mountain man, trapper, military scout, and prospector who led a group to discover gold on Rich Hill, situated on the town’s east side. Pauline Weaver became Arizona’s first white citizen and took up residence on the hill, where the cemetery still exists today.

Weaver remains one of Arizona’s more intriguing ghost towns, rich with old, crumbling homes and ruins. The town offers a treasure trove of exploration opportunities, making it an ideal location for history buffs, explorers, and photographers to capture the essence of a bygone era.

34.315, -112.066667 Status: Barren

barren ghost towns in Arizona

Big Bug, one of the oldest ghost towns in Arizona, was established in 1862 by Theodore Boggs and his family during the American Civil War. Originally home to around one hundred people, the town was eventually abandoned and now serves as a recreation area within the Prescott National Forest. It’s named after Big Bug Creek, which got its name from the large bugs that inhabited the region.

Though almost nothing remains of the original town, it still holds historical significance, particularly in relation to the nearby old mining camp at Providence. For those interested in relic hunting or historical exploration, the area where Big Bug once stood could offer some buried treasures. To visit, you’ll need to use GPS coordinates, as it is now primarily a recreation area.

34.916111, -110.323611 Status: Barren

where is ghost town in arizona

Obed, an Arizona ghost town, was once a bustling transportation hub, serving as a stage line to silver mines in the region. For those interested in history and old photographs, the town offers a window into its vibrant past when it was alive with activity and ambition.

Today, Obed stands as a hauntingly beautiful testament to the dreams of fortune seekers, offering an evocative experience for visitors. Although little may remain in the way of buildings or infrastructure, vintage black-and-white photos can offer a glimpse into what the town used to be. Obed is among eight must-see ghost towns in Southern Arizona, each offering its own unique history and atmosphere.

33.45724, -111.49188 Status: Commercial

where is ghost town in arizona

Goldfield Ghost Town is a reconstructed 1890s mining town in Arizona that offers a glimpse into the state’s gold mining history. Visitors can tour an authentic gold mine, witness Old West gunfights, and explore the history museum. Ideal for those interested in Arizona’s past, Goldfield offers a unique and immersive experience that’s not your typical tourist attraction.

Today, Goldfield Ghost Town serves as an entertainment and historical venue that’s not far removed from modern amenities. It is located close to the Superstition Mountains, providing visitors with stunning desert vistas.

Despite being a reconstructed town, it offers an authentic feel, complete with period-appropriate buildings and activities that transport you back to the 1890s.

34.7585, -112.1239 Status: Commercial

where is ghost town in arizona

32.965, -114.463611 Status: Abandoned

famous ghost towns in Arizona

Castle Dome Landing, located northeast of Yuma, Arizona, was once a bustling mining community first discovered by American settlers in the 1860s. The town’s post office opened in 1875 but closed a year later. The mines reopened in 1890 and contributed significantly to lead supplies during World War I and World War II. Castle Dome Landing serves as an important chapter in the region’s mining history.

The site was eventually renamed “Castle Dome” and served as a transport depot for steamboats on the Colorado River, as well as a shipping and supply point. At one point, it even rivaled Yuma and was a lively destination during Mexican Independence Day celebrations. Today, visitors can explore a museum that showcases many elements of the town’s vibrant past, offering a glimpse into its rich history.

35.41395, -114.19859 Status: Historic

Most well known ghost towns in Arizona

Established in 1862, Chloride is the oldest continuously operated mining town in Arizona. At its peak, the town had a population of around three thousand, but by the late 20th century, the number had dwindled to about four hundred. The manpower drain during World War II significantly affected the community, leading to its decline as a mining town.

While the town is considered one of the best-preserved ghost towns, it is experiencing a resurgence thanks to tourism. Among the town’s attractions are colorful murals painted by Roy Purcell in the 1960s. A museum also offers insight into Chloride’s rich history. The vivid murals have largely retained their original colors, making Chloride a popular destination for tourists interested in history and art.

32.83534, -110.33231 Status: Historic

where is ghost town in arizona

Klondyke, Arizona, is located near the eastern entrance to Aravaipa Canyon and is a short day trip from Tucson. Established in 1905, the town was a thriving community with a population of about 500 people. It had essential amenities like a school, church, saloon, and a wooden store. However, like many ghost towns in the region, Klondyke declined as its lead and silver mines were exhausted.

Today, Klondyke remains largely abandoned with its unpaved roads as a testament to its past. While not much is left of the original structures, you can still see some remnants of the old community. The area offers a serene, isolated experience for those looking to explore a piece of Arizona’s mining history.

35.026389, -114.383611 Status: Historic

where is ghost town in arizona

Oatman, Arizona, is a historic ghost town conveniently situated near Las Vegas and California. Known for its year-round warm weather, the town can get particularly crowded and hot during the summer. It’s advisable to visit during the milder spring and fall seasons.

The Oatman Hotel, where Clark Gable and Carole Lombard honeymooned in 1939, was a famous haunt for local miners, who left their mark on the walls with signed dollar bills.

The town’s Main Street is a highlight for visitors, primarily because of the “wild” burros that roam freely. These burros are descendants of animals brought by early miners and were left to roam after the mines closed.

Stores in the area sell nutritional food packets specifically for the burros, so you can feed them safely. Be mindful, though; some of these burros are curious enough to poke their heads through open windows.

34.165278, -112.729444 Status: Historic

historic ghost towns in Arizona

Stanton, Arizona, was a thriving mining and stagecoach station in the 1890s, complete with a general store, a stamp mill, a hotel, and several other buildings. As the gold reserves depleted, the town went into decline. Now a modern-day ghost town, Stanton offers a unique atmosphere replete with ghost stories, and even includes RV hookup sites and a museum to showcase its mining history.

Unfortunately, many original structures were destroyed in the 1960s when a group of hippies moved in and used the old buildings for firewood. However, some of the town’s historical buildings have been restored, including the old dance hall and saloon. These restored structures offer a glimpse into the town’s vibrant past.

31.58055, -110.85888 Status: Privately Owned

where is ghost town in arizona

Salero, located in Santa Cruz County, Arizona, is a well-preserved ghost town that is privately owned by Salero Ranch. Unfortunately, it is not open to the general public. Despite its restricted access, the town retains many of its original structures.

Although Salero is not open to public exploration, you can still see some of its preserved buildings from a distance. If you’re interested in Arizona’s ghost towns, consider taking a guided tour of other locations, as Salero is not accessible. These tours often provide valuable insights into the state’s mining history and can be a great addition to a trip that might also include the Grand Canyon or the White Mountains.

33.8172, -112.83246 Status: Privately Owned

where is ghost town in arizona

Vulture City is a unique, uninhabited ghost town that was once a mining community. Though the town itself is unsupervised, guided walking tours are available for those who wish to learn more about its history. The site is open to the public for limited hours, so planning ahead is advisable for anyone interested in exploring the town.

Visitors can wander through the town to explore various historic buildings and roads. The area is also known for its striking desert landscapes, complete with saguaros and beautiful sunsets. Interestingly, the site even allows for ceremonies like vow renewals, adding a unique, ghostly ambiance to the occasion.

Go out and explore!

That concludes our list of ghost towns in Arizona, but that doesn’t mean that’s all there is to find. Take the back roads, follow train tracks, and find some places for yourself. There are plenty of places I kept off this list so get out there and explore.

If you’re having trouble finding ghost towns be sure to check out our Ultimate Guide to Finding Abandoned Places , or explore other ghost towns across the country .

There are 300 ghost towns in Arizona, however many of them have been reduced to rubble from years of neglect.

The scariest ghost town in Arizona is Two Guns, where the alleged ghosts of murdered natives haunt the nearby cave.

Yes, some ghost towns near Phoenix include Goldfield, Jerome, Vulture City, Weaver, Silver Bell, and Sasco.

The most popular ghost town in Arizona is Jerome. Once a booming mining town known for its rich copper deposits, Jerome is located high on top of Cleopatra Hill between Prescott and Sedona. Unlike many ghost towns, Jerome has evolved into a bustling tourist attraction and artistic community. It offers a variety of shops, restaurants, and galleries, in addition to its historic sites. The town is often dubbed “America’s Most Vertical City” due to its steeply inclined streets, and it attracts many visitors interested in both its modern offerings and its rich history.

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where is ghost town in arizona

You know you’re a real Arizonan if you have a favorite ghost town.

Back in the day, Arizona represented the raggedy edge of the frontier. Despite the harshness of the terrain, communities sprang up whenever ore was discovered. As long as gold, silver or copper flowed from the ground it seemed like boom times would never end.

Yet once the mines closed, towns struggled. Not all survived. Their sun-bleached bones dot the landscape. Discovering them is a journey back in time.

Ghost towns are not typical tourist destinations and therein lies much of their appeal. For the traveler who likes scenic beauty mingled with mystery and a soothing solitude, here are a handful of Arizona ghost towns worth a visit. Please tread respectfully and leave everything just as you found it for the next visitor.

Tubac: Explore one of Arizona's oldest communities in a day trip

Perched on the banks of the San Pedro River, Fairbank thrived as a transportation hub. It was the closest railroad stop to Tombstone and ran a stage line to the town with the thriving silver mines. Like most Old West towns, Fairbank also saw its share of violence.

The most famous incident occurred in 1900 when the Burt Alvord Gang tried a daring train robbery at the depot. But they were foiled by legendary lawman Jeff Milton. Despite catching a bullet that shattered his arm, Milton wounded one bandit and killed “Three Fingered Jack” Dunlop with a shotgun blast. Dunlop was one of the last outlaws buried in Tombstone’s Boothill Graveyard.

Fairbank held on until the 1970s when the last resident pulled up stakes. Today a half dozen structures including a large mercantile building, a schoolhouse and a few homes huddle in the mesquite groves above the river. The site is maintained by the Bureau of Land Management and is part of the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area.

The schoolhouse serves as a visitor center and museum but has been closed during the pandemic. Hiking trails lead through the woodlands along the river and past a spooky cemetery, always a plus for a ghost town. The site is free and open for self-guided tours.

Details: Fairbank is 10 miles west of Tombstone on State Route 82. 520-258-7200, www.blm.gov.visit/fairbank-historic-townsite .

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On the south side of the Dragoon Mountains, the Chiricahua Apache people mined turquoise for jewelry and trade. Anglo prospectors continued the practice in later years. When John Gleeson discovered a large copper deposit in 1900, the small community boomed. In its heyday, Gleeson had 1,500 residents.

Around 1912, 15-year-old Joe Bono immigrated from Italy with his brother, Barney. They worked in Tombstone but soon moved to the more bustling Gleeson and opened a general store. Although time and the elements have gnawed the building, the name Joe Bono is still visible on the facade. That’s significant since the town of Gleeson was purchased in 2014 by another Joe Bono, the son of the store’s owner.

Bono remembers growing up in the town and wanted to preserve its history and the stories that are especially meaningful for him. His uncle Barney is buried in the Gleeson Cemetery.

In addition to the store, a few cabins still stand, and the foundations of the hospital and school. The centerpiece structure is the restored 1910 jail that serves as a museum. Bono opens the jail from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the first Saturday of each month. Admission is free and donations are welcome. Visitors are welcome to stop by Gleeson at any time.

Details:  Gleeson is 15 miles east of Tombstone on Gleeson Road. The road is mostly unpaved but can be managed in passenger cars during good weather. 520-609-3549, http://www.gleesonarizona.com .

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Kentucky Camp

Imagine spending a night in a lonely ghost town far from civilization. Kentucky Camp sits amid the grasslands that cloak the eastern flanks of the Santa Rita Mountains northwest of Sonoita.

It served as the headquarters for the Santa Rita Water and Mining Co. from 1902 to 1906. The company folded soon after the founder, James Stetson, mysteriously plunged to his death from a Tucson hotel window.

Now maintained by the Forest Service, the site includes five partially restored adobes. The headquarters building can be reserved for day use. A small rustic cabin can be rented through the “Rooms with a View” program . The cabin sleeps up to five people and has electricity but no water. The kitchen contains basic amenities like a refrigerator, microwave, hot plate and utensils. A vault toilet, stall for solar showers and outdoor sink are on site.

Since the Arizona Trail is routed through Kentucky Camp, you’ll enjoy daytime hiking and birding. Expect quiet evenings and dark night skies laden with stars. The cabin rents for $75 per night and reservations can be made at https://www.recreation.gov .

Details:  Kentucky Camp is off Gardner Canyon Road, which is 21 miles south of Interstate 10 on State Route 83. Go west on Gardner Canyon Road, drive 0.75 miles to Forest Road 163 and take FR 163 for 5 miles to the Kentucky Camp Gate. Park in the designated area and walk a quarter-mile to the town. 520-281-2296, https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/coronado .

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Vulture City

When prospector Henry Wickenburg spotted a quartz ledge in the desert, he discovered the richest vein of gold ore in Arizona.

Work began on the Vulture Mine in 1863. It would go on to produce 340,000 ounces of gold (and about 260,000 ounces of silver) during its operation. Ranchers and miners soon settled along the fertile plain of the Hassayampa River and the town of Wickenburg was born.

Located 12 miles outside of Wickenburg, the ghost town of Vulture City is being restored and preserved. More than a dozen buildings around the original mine are still standing, including Henry Wickenburg’s old cabin. That ironwood tree shading the cabin earned notoriety as the Hanging Tree. It’s said that 18 men danced from the end of a rope slung over its branches for a variety of crimes.

Walk the graveled half-mile path to see the collection of weathered historic buildings surrounded by old mining equipment such as the stamp mill and headframe. Guided tours are offered at 10 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. 

Details: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. daily; closed March 21-27. 36610 355th Ave., Wickenburg. $15. 877-425-9229, https://www.vultureminetours.com .

In the southernmost part of the state, Ruby is one of Arizona’s best-preserved ghost towns.

Mining started around 1877 and proceeded in fits and starts for decades. Processing was hampered by lack of water. The mine produced gold, silver, lead, zinc and copper. Originally known as Montana Camp because the mining was done at the base of Montana Peak, the town became Ruby in 1912 when the first postmaster named it after his wife.

A history of violence hangs over the town. Between 1920 and 1922, three double homicides took place here and in the vicinity. They were known as the Ruby Murders and led to the largest manhunt in Arizona.

Today Ruby is open to the public for tours, fishing and camping. More than a dozen buildings in various states of disrepair remain. Two small lakes linger from the old mining days, although water levels are low during the current drought.

Ruby is about 12 miles south of Arivaca and the last few miles are on a rough dirt road. Be sure to pack water and food. Permits obtained in advance are required. Visit the website for directions and permit options.

Details:  Open Thursdays-Sundays. Admission is $15; fishing and camping permits cost $20 each. 520-744-4471, http://rubyaz.com .

Find the reporter at https://www.rogernaylor.com . Or follow him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RogerNaylorinAZ or Twitter @AZRogerNaylor .

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Downtown Globe

Arizona's Ghost Town Getaways

You needn't travel far in Arizona before coming across a ghost town or two. Try these quirky towns for the perfect spooky—or just plain perfect—day trip.

Arizona's 19th-century mining boom gave rise to several towns that bustled with near-instantaneous commerce (and, in some cases, debauchery), but whose rapid growth ended abruptly when precious metals were depleted or sheer bad luck caused residents to move on. Today, many of these outposts are little more than abandoned buildings. Yet others have taken on new life, drawing artists and free spirits who embrace their town's haunted past and welcome outsiders in search of spooky tales and Old West lore. In a state full of ghost towns, you have your pick from the famous (Bisbee) to the infamous (Tombstone). Below is a list of some of Arizona's most distinctive ghost towns, each with its own quirks and curiosities. But mind your step as you explore these towns' haunted hulls, or you might end up a permanent resident.

Globe-Miami (about 90 miles east of Phoenix)

Not all ghost towns are unpopulated, as the very-much-alive residents of Globe and Miami can attest to. But as mining operations have slowed in the area, the towns—known collectively as Globe-Miami —are luring guests in by drawing the ghosts out. By day, shop for antiques downtown or browse original art at the Cobre Valley Center for the Arts . Nighttime belongs to the ghosts. In Globe, volunteers host monthly ghost tours of the 1910 Gila County Sheriff's Office & Jail , which has seen its share of death, frequently the result of vigilante and mob justice. In nearby Miami, the Bullion Plaza School once served as the segregated school for the town's Mexican-American children. Closed in 1994 due to structural issues, it's slowly being restored, and portions have turned into a history museum with displays that rival larger institutions.

Stay: A former turn-of-the-century boarding house for miners and merchants, the Chrysocolla Inn B&B offers modern-day travelers a peaceful place to stay only two blocks away from downtown Globe. Guests can choose from six rooms, named after gems and minerals such as turquoise and amethyst (with matching color schemes), and relax among the Inn's two garden patios.

Gleeson (SE of Tucson, 16 miles east of Tombstone)

Once home to a turquoise mine favorited by Tiffany and Co. in the mid-1880s, all that remains of Gleeson today are some private ranches, a nearly collapsed general store, and an old jail. The jail was restored and operates as a museum with local artifacts and lore, open on the first Saturday of each month or by appointment. Travelers to Gleeson take note: It's one of several stops along southern Arizona's Ghost-Town Loop Tour that also includes Fairbank, Tombstone, and St. David. Visit www.gleesonarizona.com for more information. Stay: Tombstone Monument Ranch captures the look and feel of an Old West town … but with much nicer bedding and amenities. Guest rooms are designed to look like old storefronts - perfect for those wishing to live out their "Westworld" dreams, minus the robots.

Gold King Mine and Ghost Town (29 miles west of Sedona)

Formerly the town of Haynes, Arizona, the Gold King Mine is part museum, part mining camp. A $5 admission gets you into the site, which also includes a display of vintage cars, trucks and abandoned mining equipment. Self-guided tours take you through exhibits such as a 1914 sawmill, a mineshaft and an array of old buildings that once served as the dentist's office, school, and garage. Kids are welcome, and families can take part in a blacksmithing demonstration or try their hand at gold and gem panning. Stay: Gold King Mine may not be haunted, but ghost seekers can take their chances with a night at the Jerome Grand Hotel , just 45 minutes west of Sedona. The hotel began life in 1927 as the town's hospital, and two different psychics claimed to have felt the ghost of the "head nurse" lingering about.

Chloride (23 miles NW of Kingman and Route 66)

Ghosts likely outnumber residents in this western Arizona town of 350 - give or take. Considered the oldest continuously inhabited mining town in the state, Chloride is home to cattle ranches, brightly painted cliff murals, dark skies and a hand-built ghost town within a town: Cyanide Springs.

Stay: Get the full roadside hotel experience at Shep Miner's Inn , a historic 1800 adobe inn originally designed for passengers on the Butterfield Stage Line. Furnishings are sparse, but guests compliment the inn's charm, comfort, friendly staff and hearty meals provided by the attached restaurant, Yesterday's.

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Ghost Towns

12 Ghost Towns in Arizona with Wild & Woolly Histories

By D.T. Christensen Last updated October 20, 2023

ghost towns of arizona

Arizona’s boom-and-bust mining history left hundreds of ghost towns in its wake. Here’s a look at some of the most interesting ones still around today.

Since 1872, more than one million mining claims have been registered in Arizona, and that’s not including the thousands of years indigenous peoples mined the state for turquoise, copper and other minerals.

Needless to say, mining is at the heart of Arizona’s history — as a region, territory and state — and a century-plus of mining ambitions left ghost towns scattered throughout the Copper State.

Many abandoned towns are concentrated in key areas where precious minerals were once found in abundance: in Yavapai County, where more than 20 ghost towns lie within 25 miles of Prescott, and in southern Arizona, where towns like Tombstone, Bisbee and Ruby once thrived.

Each of these ghost towns has unique stories and timelines — some were gone within a few years, and others survived into the 21st century as revamped tourist destinations. Some were visited by presidents, and others were backdrops for famous personalities and events in Western history.

A Note About Exploring Arizona Ghost Towns

Many ghost towns in Arizona are open to the public and safe to visit. Others, especially more obscure spots, are remote and often located near old mining operations.

If you’re hunting for out-of-the-way ghost towns, keep an eye out for abandoned mine shafts and other pitfalls around old mining camps. According to the Arizona State Mine Inspector , which offers info on safely navigating mine land, there are some 100,000 abandoned mine openings in the state, and it’s not always obvious where they are.

Over the years, several people have died after falling into old mine shafts, so it’s worth keeping an eye out while you explore the backroads and hills of Arizona.

Ghost Towns in Southern Arizona

Honorable mentions : Paradise, Agua Caliente, Fairbank, Castle Dome City, Charleston, Cochise, Contention City, Gleeson, Pearce, Total Wreck, Millville

1. Dos Cabezas

dos cabezas arizona cemetery

Named for two prominent peaks in the Dos Cabezas Mountains to the north, this camp was one of Arizona’s longest tenured mining towns. By the late 1870s it had a post office and typical mining camp merchants — and a number of hopeful frontier families.

“The town of Dos Cabezas has twenty four houses and the population in the district numbers about 175 men and 125 women and children,” reported The Arizona Citizen in February 1880. “There is a good two-story hotel, presided over by Jos. Maley, whose good cheer is the delight of all travelers.”

Mines in and around the Dos Cabezas mountains supported the town, which grew to hundreds of residents within a few years. The town maintained law and order but had its share of mining camp scrapes.

In May 1879, a young man named Meyers was killed by Pat Cannon, a “quite generally known” person in the Arizona Territory, who gave Meyers a “heavy blow with a gun barrel, fracturing his skull and resulting fatally,” reported The Arizona Citizen .

While many mining camps died after a few years, Dos Cabezas survived well into the 20th century, even thriving when a nearby copper mine was established in 1907. Dos Cabezas didn’t really become a ghost town until the 1960s, when the mines were no longer productive and most residents moved on.

Today, there’s a well-maintained pioneers cemetery in Dos Cabezas, as well as adobe ruins and old mines. For ghost town seekers looking to spend the night, there’s a pleasant bed and breakfast on Highway 186.

Related read : 15 Native American Ruins in Arizona that Offer a Historic Glimpse into the Past

ruby arizona ghost town

Deep in the Oro Blanco Mountains just a few miles north of the Mexican border, Ruby is a storied ghost town with a violent past: in a 1965 issue of Frontier Times , writer James A. Long described Ruby as “an open invitation to trouble with renegades, gun-smugglers and murderers.”

Before it was Ruby, it was Montana Camp, a small but lively community sprung up near the Montana Mine in the 1870s. Julius F. Andrews took over the local camp store in 1895, applied for a post office and when it was granted in 1912, renamed the town Ruby after his wife, Lillie B. Ruby.

The following year, Andrews sold the store and post office to Philip M. Clarke, who built a new store and post office some 400 yards away, on the hill of a “padre’s grave.”

The local Mexican population believed the store to be cursed, and in February 1920, two Canadian brothers hired as shopkeepers for Clarke — Alex and John Frazier — were attacked in the store. Alex was murdered at the scene, and John died from his injuries the following month.

Local law enforcement had no leads, and the working theory was that Mexican bandits had looted the store and fled across the border, something that was not uncommon in that region.

Just over a year later, in August 1921, the new owners of the store, Frank and Myrtle Pearson, were ambushed by “seven armed Mexicans,” according to Frank’s sister Irene. The bandits killed Frank, forced Myrtle to open the store’s safe before killing her, and as they left, knocked out five of Myrtle’s gold front teeth.

Yet again, there were few leads in the case, but one day, Arizona Ranger Oliver Parmer got wind of an outlaw trying to cash in gold teeth at a cantina in Sasabe, Mexico. Eventually, Arizona officials and Mexican law enforcement took in Manuel Martinez and Placido Silvas for the murders.

Martinez was sentenced to death and Silvas to life in prison, but before their sentences were fulfilled, the duo escaped while being transported to the Florence prison. After they were caught in the desert some 40 miles away, Martinez was hung, and Silvas spent the rest of his days behind bars.

Back in Ruby, the Montana Mine employed about 300 men at its peak and population estimates ranged between 1,200 and 2,000, including women and children. Despite its remote location, Ruby prospered for a time, but by the 1930s, a lack of water limited mining operations. The Montana Mine finally shut down in 1941.

Today, Ruby is on private property, but you can get a permit for a day tour or overnight camping trip — check out the caretaker’s website for more information.

3. Tombstone

tombstone arizona ghost town

In some respects, Tombstone is hardly a ghost town: each year, hundreds of thousands of tourists flock to “The Town too Tough to Die” to catch a glimpse of Old West history.

But like most mining camps in Southern Arizona, Tombstone had humble origins. Back in 1877, prospector Ed Schieffelin, on his march from California to Camp Huachuca with the cavalry, scoped out the San Pedro Valley and thought it looked like the kind of place you’d find silver. He may have been right, but for years prospectors avoided the area because of local Apache bands.

Schieffelin took his chances in the desert, and when he was told he’d only find his own tombstone, he used that moniker to name one of his first claims (the other was Graveyard, though it didn’t produce like his Tombstone claim).

Several other claims in the area quickly produced more silver, and in short order Tombstone became one of the most bustling camps in the West. The mines in the region would produce upwards of $80 million in silver bullion through the 1880s. By 1882, more than 7,000 residents could get liquored up at some 150 saloons and restaurants around town, and it was as rowdy as it sounds.

In the mid-1880s, the mines around Tombstone began to flood, and eventually production ceased. Less than one thousands residents stuck around by the turn of the century, but a few decades later, as Western nostalgia ramped up, Tombstone reinvented itself as a tourist destination for history buffs around the country.

Naturally, the gunfight at the O.K. Corral is Tombstone’s main claim to fame, but plenty of colorful characters and events took place in town over the last part of the 19th century.

Today, Tombstone retains the sepia-toned vibe visitors often picture in ghost towns, but at its peak, it was a colorful, metropolitan community that rivaled San Francisco in terms of style and flair.

“If you look at clothes left from that period, if you look at wallpaper samples and paint samples and books, people have very wild use of color, they use lime green and purples and very jarring color schemes,” said Tombstone movie production designer Catherine Hardwicke in John Farkis’s book The Making of Tombstone .

Despite its touristy air, Tombstone retains much of its pioneer past: in 1962, the Tombstone Historic District was named a National Historic Landmark District and today preserves several key buildings and artifacts from its heyday.

If you’re a fan of Tombstone the movie, check out our favorite Tombstone quotes , what Doc Holliday meant by “ I’m your huckleberry ,” and see how much of Tombstone is a true story .

Related read : 6 Tombstone Filming Locations You Can Still Visit Today

bisbee, arizona

Bisbee’s reinvention, like Tombstone’s, saved it from the fate most Arizona ghost towns faced, and today it’s a lively artistic community home to an eclectic mix of residents and local businesses.

In 1877, an army expedition in the Mule Mountains found mineral deposits that would eventually become the mines around Bisbee, including the Copper Queen Mine. Over the next decades, millions of pounds of silver and copper would be dug from the mines (as well as some gold), and Phelps Dodge didn’t officially cease mining operations until 1975.

Bisbee had its share of frontier shenanigans, and because it was close to Tombstone and the “Cowboys” of Cochise County, residents of Bisbee were sometimes the target of their mayhem. On December 8, 1883, six outlaws rode into a Bisbee general store, robbed the place and killed five people within just minutes.

“Besides the carnival of blood instituted by the gang, they robbed the store mentioned of about $3,000 in money,” reported the Arizona Weekly Star . “The entire transaction occurred in the space of five minutes. The reports of the rifles were followed by the immediate departure of the bandits, and before the citizens could realize the danger that was upon them they had rode far out into the night.”

Five of the men would be caught and hung, and the sixth — John Heath, leader of the group — was taken by a mob and lynched in February 1884.

By the 1970s, the arts and tourism took place of mining operations, and Bisbee became an under-the-radar haven for local creatives. Visitors today can still tour the Copper Queen Mine and explore the town’s historic roots at the Bisbee Mining & Historical Museum .

Ghost Towns in Central Arizona

Honorable mentions : Clifton, Goldfield, Gillett(e), Ehrenberg, Silver King, Weaver

jerome arizona ruins

When Al Sieber supposedly staked an unofficial claim on Mingus Mountain back in the 1860s, it was hardly the first mining foray in the area: Sinagua people had mined various minerals there for more than one thousand years, and evidence suggests Spanish explorers explored the area in the 16th century.

Things didn’t really take off for the mines around Jerome until the early 1880s, but when they did, blossoming operations catapulted the hillside camp into one of Arizona’s largest towns.

Life in Jerome was fraught with peril: mining made the ground unstable, fires ran rampant in the late 19th century, and the market for copper swung wildly year to year. But the town managed to stick around well in the 20th century, and in the 1930s, Jerome had some of the nicest mining town amenities in Arizona, including a modern hospital and well-appointed digs, including the Jerome Grand Hotel. William Andrews Clark, owner of United Verde Copper Company, was for a brief time the richest man in the world because of the amount of ore his mines produced.

In the early 1900s, it was also one of the few mining camps that relied on electricity and railways to transport ore, making it one of the more efficient operations in the Territory. At one point, the Verde Mining District employed more than 800 men and was the largest copper producer in Arizona.

Mining wrapped up in the 1950s, but the dwindling population was rekindled by the same Western nostalgia that brought tourists to towns like Bisbee and Tombstone. In Jerome, visitors flocked to the “sliding” buildings that moved due to dynamite explosions over the years, and today many of these old buildings are found many yards from where they were originally built.

Like many mining camps, Jerome had its seedy underbelly, and in fact, there was a “tenderloin district” where brothels and madams prospered. The most famous of these was “Belgian” Jennie Bauters, who was shot by a jealous lover on September 3, 1905.

Legend has it that Jennie was the richest woman in the Arizona Territory at the time of her death, and today you can still visit Jennie’s Place in Jerome, one of the few historical buildings that survived the fires that plagued the town in the late 19th century.

Related read : 8 Interesting Facts About the Arizona Rangers

Tip Top Arizona

In 1875, two prospectors working on Cottonwood Creek in the Bradshaw Mountains established the Tip Top silver mine, and for a few years it was a bustling camp in Yavapai County.

“On my arrival at the Tip-top mine, I found the liveliest mining camp in Arizona, with Gen. Gillette in command,” wrote C.E. Hitchcock in a 1877 edition of The Weekly Arizona Miner .

A post office opened there in 1879, and at its peak Tip Top housed between 200 and 500 residents, six saloons, a hotel, restaurant, a number of merchants, and even a school. Ore was first processed at nearby Gillett, but a stamp mill and assay office were eventually founded on-site.

Unlike some of the more rowdy mining camps in Arizona, Tip Top was relatively low key, but did have its moments of violence. In 1879, James Miles, a Tip Top resident, was arrested for the murder of a man named Shannon, a Texan working in the area.

“Yesterday being pay-day he visited Tip Top, partook rather freely of the flowing bowl, met Miles at the saloon of Johnny Bostwick, had trouble with him, and finally struck him in the face with his hand when Miles pulled a revolver and Shannon was shot through the breast killing him almost instantly,” reported The Weekly Arizona Miner .

Tip Top stuck around until 1895, when the post office closed and the mine played out. Today, there are ruins and foundations around the mine, but as of 2020, the road to Tip Top was closed to the public.

7. Vulture City

Vulture City, Arizona

When 44-year-old, Austrian-born Henry Wickenburg staked his claim for the Vulture Mine in 1863, he likely didn’t know it’d go down as the “Comstock of Arizona,” and the richest gold mine in Arizona history.

Wickenburg supposedly discovered the quartz ledge when he was out looking for his lost burro, and spotted a vulture circling overhead. When he got to the bird, he looked down and to his amazement, spotted gold right on the ground.

“Nuggets of all sizes littered the desert next to the quartz outcrop,” wrote Kent J. Keller in a 1991 issue of True West magazine. “In about an hour, Wickenburg, picked up nearly a flour-sack full of gold nuggets.”

From 1863 to 1867, the Vulture Mine produced more than $20 million in gold and silver, and grew Vulture City — about 14 miles south of Wickenburg — into a raucous mining camp. At one point, it was home to 1,500 miners and their families.

In its heyday, the mine was a popular spot for local prospectors, even attracting Jacob Waltz, the “Lost Dutchman” to its operations. Some theorize that the gold Waltz “found” in the Superstitions was actually ore taken from his time at the Vulture Mine.

Vulture City and nearby Wickenburg both grew into sizable communities, but by the 1880s, the Vulture Mine played out and was sold to a New York-based mining company. They continued working the mines, while Wickenburg farmed and ranched on the nearby Hassayampa River.

On May 14, 1905, Wickenburg was found shot to death, likely by suicide, though some suspected he was murdered. The Vulture Mine was finally closed in 1942 when the government enforced a moratorium on gold mining in order to focus on war efforts.

Today, you can tour the remains of Vulture City, where you’ll see a handful of buildings, as well as the “Hanging Tree,” an ironwood tree 18 men were allegedly hung from over the years for “high grading,” or stealing gold ore from the mine.

Related read : 15 Western-Inspired Things to do in Prescott, Arizona

8. Congress

congress arizona

In May 1901, President William McKinley visited Congress during a six-week tour of the West shortly after his second term began. It may seem a strange destination now, but at the time, Congress was touted as one of the next premier gold mines after Tombstone and other operations around the Territory had begun to falter.

McKinley’s three-hour tour included a walk into a mine shaft and a photo with Arizona’s signature saguaro cactus, then the 25th president of the U.S. headed back to Phoenix for more media opps.

Congress was established in 1884, but didn’t take off until the late ’80s, when Diamond Joe Reynolds sunk his financial resources into the area. By the time the president visited in 1900, there were 30 active mines around Congress, and the train station connecting the town to Phoenix — Congress Junction, some three miles away — had also become a popular stop in the region.

If you’ve driven from Phoenix to Prescott through Congress (instead of taking I-17), you’ve likely noticed how dry and rocky the community is. This was fine for mining operations, but living comfortably in that part of the desert was another matter. Residents back then — about 500 people in 1905 — all had to get their water from the same, small source.

“All water for the camp was obtained from a small spigot in front of the company’s store in ‘Mill Town,'” wrote James and Barbara Sherman in Ghost Towns of Arizona . “Each family had a fifty-gallon whisky barrel which could be rolled up the hill to the faucet, filled with water, then allowed to roll down the hill by its own weight.”

The mines — which would produce more than $8 million in gold — and post office all closed by the 1930s, and Congress Junction, the town’s railroad stop, became what is now known as Congress, where a handful of businesses and residents still remain.

Ghost Towns in Northern Arizona

Photo: Chloé Stein/Unsplash

Named after Olive Oatman , the young woman kidnapped by Tolkepaya Yavapai in February 1851, Oatman is a former mining camp located on historic route 66 in the Black Mountains of northern Arizona.

Like Jerome and Bisbee, the town’s become a quirky stop on Western road trips: visitors come to see burros wandering the dusty streets between the few historical buildings left standing, including the Oatman Hotel (formerly the Durlin Hotel).

Mining in the area dates back to the 1860s, and in the early 1900s, a number of profitable mines put Oatman on the map. The region produced more than $13 million in gold in its few decades of operation.

The mines shut down in the 1920s and most folks left by the 1950s, when I-40 was routed around Oatman, cutting out most of its passing tourists. Today, resident burros outnumber the humans living here — no doubt part of its timeless appeal as a route 66 pit stop.

Related read : Skeleton Cave: Exploring the Salt River Cave Massacre Site

10. Chloride

chloride arizona

Arizona’s first incorporated town and oldest still-inhabited mining town is just north of Kingman, on the western flank of the Cerbat Mountains. It’s a small, kitschy road stop now, but beginning in the 1860s, it was a profitable mining district that produced silver — including silver chloride, the town’s namesake mineral — zinc, lead, gold and turquoise.

Their post office opened in 1871 and is the oldest operating P.O. in Arizona, though there aren’t a whole lot of people around to send letters these days. At its peak, Chloride had about 75 nearby mines and was home to an estimated 2,000 to 5,000 people, but like most boomtowns, the mines played out within a few decades.

In the 1920s, famous Western author Louis L’Amour sought work at the Tennessee Mine, one of Chloride’s best producers up until the 1940s. But while he was in town, a fire ripped through the main drag.

“We had come over, thinking of trying for a job at the Tennessee Mine, but the town caught fire and I found myself sloshing water over some very hot roofs,” L’Amour wrote in his memoir, Education of a Wandering Man . “The water was passed up to me from below, and taken from barrels kept for the purpose along the streets. There weren’t enough barrels and we lost a good fight.”

If you drive through Chloride today, check out the historic museum, Shep’s Miners Inn , some of the old buildings still standing, and the murals painted by artist Roy Purcell east of town.

11. Two Guns

Two Guns arizona

There’s no other way to put it: the history of Two Guns is batshit crazy, though it’s less of a ghost town than a ghost “pit stop” along I-40, about halfway between Flagstaff and Winslow.

Long before it was a midcentury tourist trap, the area around Two Guns and nearby Canyon Diablo was home to various indigenous groups, including Navajo and Apache, who would often skirmish in the region that bordered both tribes’ homelands.

According to legend, in one 1878 battle, a group of Apache raiders on the run from Navajo holed up in a cave in Canyon Diablo. Upon discovering the Apache, the Navajo group trapped their enemies in the cave, blocking the entrances and lighting desert brush on fire to suffocate the warriors inside. Apache who attempted to flee were shot down on sight.

“In a wild rage the Navajos poured a stream of bullets into the cave mouth but of course hit no enemy,” wrote Gladwell Richardson in Two Guns, Arizona . “Again the passageway was refurbished with flammable material and kept burning furiously like the pits of hell. At first not too much smoke poured up through the cracks but finally it drifted against the starlit sky unabated. The last desperate measure of the Apaches to escape death by asphyxiation had failed.”

In the early 1880s, the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad came through just north of Two Guns, in Canyon Diablo, and for a time the railroad workers created a makeshift town that was just as wild and murderous as anywhere else on the frontier. Railroad workers waiting for the line to reorganize its financing had plenty of entertainment in the desert, including 14 saloons and a number of brothels and gambling halls.

In the 1920s, the spot now known as Two Guns was purchased by Earle and Louise Cundiff, who built a store, restaurant and gas station right off the highway. A few years later, the Cundiffs leased some of the land to Harry E. Miller, who had even more ambitious plans for the highway stop. Among other ventures, Miller built a zoo, complete with mountain lions and Gila monsters.

“He has a Gila monster farm, an interesting and rapidly growing zoo of southwestern animal and reptile life, and plans soon to put in a moving picture plant, to show along with the movies, slides advertising the more scenic points around Flagstaff,” reported The Coconino Sun in March 1925.

The following year, Miller and Earle Cundiff got into an argument over the terms of their lease, and Miller shot and killed Cundiff. Miller was acquitted and moved on, and Louise Cundiff would later open a new, improved gas station and zoo.

Strange but true.

For a few decades small roadside businesses lingered at Two Guns, but by the 1960s there weren’t enough tourists stopping to support the Cundiffs’ grand vision. A fire in 1971 destroyed the service station, and today there’s all sorts of wild graffiti on the ruins of the nearby KOA and other buildings.

If you have the time, it’s well worth reading Richardson’s full account of Two Guns, especially if you’re heading out to the area on a classic route 66 road trip.

Related read : 10 Fascinating Facts About Jack Swilling, the Founder of Phoenix

12. Goldroad

goldroad arizona

Just a few miles north of Oatman on historic route 66 lies Goldroad, a low-grade gold mine that produced more than $7 million in the early 1900s. Gold mining in the area dates back to the 1860s, but it wasn’t until prospector Jose Jerez went out looking for his burro — much like Henry Wickenburg — that he stumbled upon the claim that would become Goldroad Mine, around 1899.

At its peak, Goldroad was home to about 400 residents, mostly miners housed near the mines. Today, there are numerous mines throughout the area, and one recent visitor said he stopped at the main Goldroad Mine, which is still in production, to take photos. “Just drive safe throughout his road. It has a huge history of lives lost along the stretch from the mine all the way to Cool Springs Station.”

If you’re on that stretch of historic route 66, you can stop at Sitgreaves Pass View Point just before Goldroad for sweeping views of the surrounding desert.

What to Read Next

  • 7 Facts about Johnny Ringo You Won’t Learn from Movies
  • 10 Famous Guns of the Old West, from Revolvers to Rifles

20 Wild West Towns Where You Can Still Experience the Frontier

  • 8 Murderous Facts about John Wesley Hardin
  • 17 Old West Insults, from Greenhorns to Bluebellies and Everything in Between

References & Further Reading

OldWest.org strives to use accurate sources and references in its research, and to include materials from multiple viewpoints and angles when possible.

  • Austin, N. (2020). Arizona Ghost Towns: 50 of the State’s Best Places to Get a Glimpse of the Old West . Arizona Highways Books.
  • Heatwole, T. (1991). Ghost Towns and Historical Haunts in Arizona . American Traveler Press.
  • Hinckley, J., & James, K. (2010). Ghost Towns of the Southwest: Your Guide to the Historic Mining Camps and Ghost Towns of Arizona and New Mexico . Voyageur Press.
  • Richardson, G. (1968). Two Guns, Arizona . Blue Feather Press.
  • Sherman, J. E., & co-author, S. B. H. (1988). Ghost Towns of Arizona . University of Oklahoma Press.
  • Tatterson, S. (2018). Abandoned Arizona: Ghost Towns and Legends . Arcadia Publishing.
  • Varney, P. (2010). Arizona Ghost Towns and Mining Camps: A Travel Guide to History . Arizona Highways Books.

by D.T. Christensen

D.T. Christensen is the founder and editor of OldWest.org, a history website committed to sharing and preserving stories of the American West. He was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, studied journalism at Northern Arizona University, and lives in Massachusetts with his wife and kids.

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12 Abandoned Ghost Towns in Arizona You Can Explore

Published: March 11, 2022

Modified: December 27, 2023

by Angela Magsajo

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Wide shot photo of Jerome, one of the ghost towns in Arizona, surrounded by plateau and with mountain ranges in the background.

There’s a cornucopia of abandoned cities and ghost towns in America . And you can find a number of them in Arizona. Ghost towns in Arizona consist of abandoned buildings and homes that hide in plain sight within the dry deserts and plateau of the old Wild West . Most of these abandoned towns are former mining sites during the mining boom in the 19th century. When the mineral seams gave out, however, plenty of these old towns was abandoned, with residents seeking job opportunities elsewhere.

Nowadays, we see abandoned towns in Arizona as top tourist attractions. When on a road trip through the Copper State, those on the hunt for unusual places stop by to visit. And while not all of these Arizona towns come with eerie stories, their desolate states will surely leave a haunting impression. If you’re looking for pit-stops when heading to national parks in Arizona or are simply wanting to explore spooky places on a day trip , you should definitely visit these Arizona ghost towns !

Wide shot of abandoned buildings and houses in Jerome, one of the ghost towns in Arizona, with mountains in the background.

Photo by Dan on Flickr

Dubbed as the “Wickedest Town in the West,” Jerome is a former mining town nestled within the Verde Valley. A once thriving copper-rich land, it was home to 15,000 residents during its heyday. Unfortunately, that number quickly dwindled down to a mere 50 by the late 1950s. Today, you can still see remnants of the town’s mining past with crumbling facades and bare foundations of buildings that greet visitors. 

But this is not the only reason why Jerome got its “ghost town” status. Jerome is also known as one of the haunted places in Arizona due to the several tragedies that struck the town, including fires and violent murders. At the center of this belief is the Jerome Grand Hotel , a former hospital reputed to be the home of spirits of patients and staff. Join ghost hunting tours and spirit walks and hunt down Jerome’s most famous haunted locations. You can even add gold panning at the Gold King Mine and Ghost Town to your itinerary for an experience like no other!

2. Tombstone

Dirt road with a giant wooden sign of Old Tombstone, an abandoned city in Arizona.

Photo by Anna Irene on Flickr

Situated in Cochise County , Tombstone is the “town too tough to die.” With its dirt road and dusty streets lined with old-time saloons, restaurants, and shops, the town looks straight out of old western movies. A popular tourist destination , it offers visitors a glimpse of the past with its ghost town museum and other attractions.

Explore the original underground silver mining grounds that turned Tombstone into one of the boomtowns of the 1880s. Hop on a horse-drawn wagon or stagecoach to explore the historic district. Alternatively, go on foot to visit the most haunted spots, including the area where the O.K. Corral shootout took place. Afterward, you can watch a reenactment of the gunfight at the local theaters or enjoy a meal at the Big Nose Kate saloon.

3. Oatman 

Wooden exterior of the Oatman Museum in Oatman, one of the ghost towns in Arizona.

Photo by Graeme Maclean on Flickr

What was once a bustling gold mining town is now home to more burros than people. Situated along the old Route 66, Oatman is a living ghost town with several residents still living on the site and running shops and restaurants that cater to over 500,000 visitors yearly. It’s one of the remaining Western towns in Arizona that exudes a Wild West atmosphere, with its rugged area lined with dusty streets, wooden sidewalks, and kitschy shops.  

It’s also home to the Oatman Hotel, a two-storey adobe hotel that is rumored to be where Old Hollywood supercouple Clark Gable and Carole Lombard allegedly honeymooned in 1939 . In fact, the suite that the lovebirds stayed in is one of the town’s top attractions! Some guests claimed to have encountered the spirits of the famous couple. And while it may not be one of the most romantic hotels in the world , it’s certainly a great stop for those looking for spooky and haunted places in Arizona to visit.

Stone exterior of the old jailhouse in Gleeson, AZ.

Photo by The Old Pueblo at English Wikipedia on Wikimedia Commons

Just 16 miles west of Tombstone in Cochise County , Gleeson is unlike other ghost towns in Arizona that were founded on gold, silver, or copper. Instead, the native tribes mined the area for turquoise. Before long, white settlers discovered that the land was also rich in copper, lead, and silver. This led to an increase in miners, prospectors, and consequently, the general population of the area.

After World War I, however, the demand for copper began to fall, which led to the closure of mines and the exodus of the town’s residents. Nowadays, we still see remnants of Gleeson’s booming past with ruins of its hospitals, schools, saloons, and a general store . The ruins of the town’s jail have since been restored and turned into a museum. 

Old time cars covered in dust parked outside stone bricked buildings in Bisbee, one of the living ghost towns in Arizona.

Photo by Mobilus In Mobili on Flickr

With a population of over 4,000 residents, Bisbee doesn’t exude the same eerie feel as the other creepy ghost towns on this list. Located in Cochise County, it was once a mineral-rich land that served as a mining settlement to over 20,000 miners, prospectors, and their families. After almost a century of mining, though, the mines ceased operations.

Nowadays, the town is home to an art and culture-rich community, but you can still get a glimpse of its mining past. Tour several of the museums to get an in-depth look into the lives of miners and settlers back in the day. Want a more immersive experience? Go 1,500 feet underground and explore one of the abandoned mines. Meanwhile, for those looking for spooky adventures for a Happy Halloween celebration , take part in one of the ghost hunting tours or haunted pub crawls. Looking for places to stay overnight or longer? Head on over to the Copper Queen Hotel , a historic hotel that dates back to 1902! 

Worn out vintage sign in Nothing, Arizona, surrounded by overgrown hedges.

Photo by W Lauzon on Flickr

With a population of, well, nothing, Nothing is as abandoned as abandoned places in Arizona can be. Located about a hundred miles northwest of Phoenix, it was founded in 1977 and, during its height, had a population of four . It was abandoned in 2005 but saw life again in 2008 when a businessman purchased the town and set up a pizza stand, gas station , and even grounds for an RV park for RV motor homes . 

Unfortunately, by 2011, the new owner closed up shop and Nothing was once again an abandoned town with only worn-out signs and collapsing structures. Since it never truly saw a boom in residents, there’s not much to see in this small town, but it does provide a nice break in scenery between the miles of dirt road between Wickenburg and Kingman. 

7. Fairbank

Exterior of the restored schoolhouse in Fairbank, AZ, one of the ghost towns in Arizona.

Photo by Brian Henderson on Flickr

Not to be confused with Fairbanks in Alaska , Fairbank is another abandoned town in Cochise County , located just 10 miles west of Tombstone and east of the San Pedro River. Fairbank played an important role in the development of Southern Arizona. The town served as a waypoint between the then bustling town and the rest of the state. Though when the mines in Tombstone dried out, Fairbank’s significance soon faded away too.

Today, the land is under the management of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Visitors can take a self-guided tour around the deserted town and its abandoned buildings and structures, including the restored schoolhouse from the 1920s, a railroad depot, and a few cemeteries. 

8. Goldfield

Old buildings, old-time vehicles, and a gigantic cactus erected beside the structure in the streets of Goldfield, a ghost town near Phoenix. 

Photo by Jasperdo on Flickr

Over an hour away from Seneca Lake — one of the best lakes in Arizona — you’ll find Goldfield. Situated within the city of Apache Junction,  it was a former gold mining town home to around 4,000 residents during its heyday in the 1890s. Nowadays, it serves as a tourist attraction for those who want to immerse themselves in the world of the old Wild West .

Begin your tour by hopping aboard an old-time train to learn all about the history of the Goldfield ghost town , while gazing at the beauty of the Superstition Mountains . Afterward, tour a 100-year-old gold mine or watch reenactments of historic gunfights. The town even has its own shooting range, complete with interactive targets! So, you take a turn at holding a firearm and shooting your shot.

9. Crown King

The facade of the general store at Crown King, a living ghost town in Arizona, with an American flag outside.

Photo by curtis roberts on Flickr

Perched on top of the Bradshaw Mountains, Crown King is one of the ghost towns in Arizona only accessible through a rough dirt road . But the journey to reach it offers incredible views and plenty of wildlife spotting opportunities. Technically, a living ghost town , it was once a gold mining town turned into a tourist attraction and summer destination for residents living in nearby towns and cities. Unfortunately , several fires destroyed many of the original buildings and structures of the town.

One of the still-standing buildings is the Crown King Saloon on Main Street . First established in the 1890s, it currently serves as the main attraction for many visitors. The walls of the establishment are full of photos showing the history of the area. As such, not only can you get delicious food and beer, but you can also learn about Crown King and Arizona’s history . 

10. Vulture City

Abandoned wooden structure, surrounded by overgrown weed and a cactus found in Vulture City, one of the ghost towns in AZ.

Photo by Christine Olson on Flickr

Established in 1863, Vulture City was once a thriving gold mining town and home to one of the most productive gold mines in the state’s history. The mine’s closure in 1942 caused its residents to relocate and soon afterward, Vulture City was a ghost town. While the land that the town is on is now privately owned, visitors can still explore the remnants of the once-booming town through self-guided tours. Although, if you want to learn more about the restoration process of the town, guided tours are also available.

11. Swansea

Ruins of buildings surrounded by plateau and overgrown bushes at Swansea, AZ.

Photo by Space][rucker on Flickr

Swansea is one of the Western towns in Arizona that sits near the Arizona- California border . It was once a thriving mining town and was even home to a gold and copper mining company. Just like most Arizona ghost towns , though, it was soon abandoned after the mining company went bankrupt. On top of that, the dry surroundings and lack of water sources contributed to the town’s demise.

Today, the BLM is working to preserve and restore what’s left in the area, including old mine shafts. Visitors are free to explore dozens of abandoned buildings and structures and learn all about its history from the plaques installed by the BLM.

12. Agua Caliente

Abandoned building of the Agua Caliente Resort. 

Photo by Marine 69-71 on Wikimedia Commons

Unlike other ghost towns in Arizona, Agua Caliente wasn’t a mining town. Instead, it was a prominent tourist stop thanks to a natural hot spring , which was originally used by Native Americans. However, by the 19th century, white settlers and travelers discovered the soothing and healing properties of the spring. A 22-room resort was built in the late 1890s with a swimming pool filled with water sourced from the hot spring. 

The Wild West town continued to thrive as a tourist destination until the hot spring dried out due to irrigation and farming. Nowadays, you can still find remnants of the resort, as well as other ruins of old buildings and a cemetery.

Uncover the Best Ghost Towns in Arizona Today

Arizona isn’t just home to national and state parks or the Grand Canyon . Its rich history also makes it home to several abandoned places. This includes former mining towns and settlements that are now just deserted hamlets left in desolate states. While many may have forgotten about these Arizona ghost towns, plenty of curious explorers still  find their way to them. Scattered along the landscape of the Wild West , an array of these small towns in Arizona even come with eerie stories of tragedy. Visit Arizona today and you might come into contact with some of its ghostly residents. 

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Arizona , Western US & Canada · June 9, 2022

7 of the Coolest Ghost Towns in Arizona

Arizona’s history is etched with cowboy tales and Wild West lore. While many of the dusty streets have since been paved over, there are still legends and ghosts that refuse to die. And they continue to live on in some of the coolest ghost towns in Arizona!

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7 of the Coolest Ghost Towns in Arizona | Simply Wander #simplywander #arizona #ghosttown

1. Tombstone

Arizona is known for its many boomtowns. When mining was at its peak, boomtowns dotted the Arizona landscape.

As the mines began to close, these boomtowns were abandoned almost just as quickly as they popped up.

As a result, there are nearly 300 ghost towns that remain in Arizona.

While many have fallen into desolation, several ghost towns have been restored and are now lively tourist destinations.

One of which is the legendary town of Tombstone, an 1880s silver mining boomtown.

With over 400,000 tourists visiting each year, Tombstone continues to live up to its nickname, “The Town Too Tough to Die”.

7 of the Coolest Ghost Towns in Arizona | Tombstone Ghost Town #simplywander #arizona #ghosttown

Tombstone was once the epitome of the Wild West, with outlaws ruling the streets and Geronimo and his Apache warriors ruling the surrounding mountains.

7 of the Coolest Ghost Towns in Arizona | Tombstone #simplywander #arizona #ghosttown

And Hollywood helped to make Tombstone a tourist destination when it brought the infamous gunfight at O.K. Corral to the big screen in the 1993 movie Tombstone .

7 of the Coolest Ghost Towns in Arizona | Tombstone #simplywander #arizona #ghosttown

Today, Tombstone is a collection of original and restored buildings.

Visitors can see a re-enactment of the gunfight at O.K. Corral, stop by the infamous Bird Cage Theater on Allen Street, grab a bite to eat at Big Nose Kate’s Saloon, and visit the Boothill Graveyard.

7 of the Coolest Ghost Towns in Arizona | Tombstone #simplywander #arizona #ghosttown

To learn more about Tombstone’s dark history, book an adult’s only walking tour , or a more family-friendly walking ghost tour .

You can even stay at the nearby Tombstone Monument Ranch. This fun dude ranch looks like a miniature replica of the real town of Tombstome and includes meals and horseback rides!

7 of the Coolest Ghost Towns in Arizona | Tombstone #simplywander #arizona #ghosttown

For more information about visiting Tombstone, see our guide 11 Things You Can’t Miss on Your First Trip to Tombstone Arizona .

During its heyday, Jerome was one of the largest copper mines in the west and was nicknamed ‘The Billion Dollar Copper Camp’.

It was also one of the richest cities in the US with a thriving population of around 15,000.

Today, Jerome is the largest ghost town in America and is home to a mere 450 residents.

7 of the Coolest Ghost Towns in Arizona | Jerome #simplywander #arizona #ghosttown

One thing that sets Jerome apart from other ghost towns is that it is a living ghost town.

Many restaurants and hotels have been restored and run profitable businesses, yet several buildings have been preserved in their state of ruin.

7 of the Coolest Ghost Towns in Arizona | Jerome #simplywander #arizona #ghosttown

Not only was Jerome considered one of the richest cities, but it was also considered the ‘Wickedest Town in the West’.

This mountainside perch was filled with brothels, saloons, gambling, boozing, brawling, gun fights, and everything in between.

7 of the Coolest Ghost Towns in Arizona | Jerome #simplywander #arizona #ghosttown

The Jerome Historical Society has placed plaques on various buildings that tell about the history of the building and interesting stories about the town.

And trust me, there is no shortage of interesting stories about the town.

7 of the Coolest Ghost Towns in Arizona | Jerome #simplywander #arizona #ghosttown

When visiting Jerome, be sure to grab a drink at the Spirit Room Bar, sample some homemade fudge at OJ’s Copper Country Fudge, see the Sliding Jail, visit Jerome State Historic Park, and eat a burger at the Haunted Hamburger.

7 of the Coolest Ghost Towns in Arizona | Jerome #simplywander #arizona #ghosttown

If you’re brave enough, you can even spend the night at the haunted Jerome Grand Hotel or Connor Hotel!

If you want to delve deeper into the history of Jerome and enjoy a more immersive experience, I would recommend taking a walking history tour or ghost shuttle tour .

For more information about visiting Jerome, click the link for our First Time Guide to Jerome Ghost Town !

3. Goldfield Ghost Town

The town of Goldfield was founded in 1893 when gold was first discovered in the Superstition Mountains.

7 of the Coolest Ghost Towns in Arizona | Goldfield Ghost Town #simplywander #arizona #ghosttown

Goldfield quickly grew and the main street was soon lined with saloons, a boarding house, a blacksmith shop, a brewery, a butcher shop, a general store, and a school house.

7 of the Coolest Ghost Towns in Arizona | Goldfield Ghost Town #simplywander #arizona #ghosttown

However, after only five years the mine veins faulted and the town was abandoned while the miners went in search of gold elsewhere.

7 of the Coolest Ghost Towns in Arizona | Goldfield Ghost Town #simplywander #arizona #ghosttown

Goldfield got a second chance at life in the early 1920s during an attempt to reopen the mines.

Over the years, miners and treasure seekers have also drawn to the area in search of the elusive “Lost Dutchman Mine”.

7 of the Coolest Ghost Towns in Arizona | Goldfield Ghost Town #simplywander #arizona #ghosttown

The city finally boarded up its doors for good in 1926. It then sat vacant until the 1980s when the town was reconstructed as a tourist attraction.

7 of the Coolest Ghost Towns in Arizona | Goldfield Ghost Town #simplywander #arizona #ghosttown

Today, the buildings you see at Goldfield Ghost Town are only replicas of an 1890s gold mining town, but the history of the area is still authentic.

7 of the Coolest Ghost Towns in Arizona | Goldfield Ghost Town #simplywander #arizona #ghosttown

While the structures are not originals, it is still fun to step back in time to see what life would have been like back then.

7 of the Coolest Ghost Towns in Arizona | Goldfield Ghost Town #simplywander #arizona #ghosttown

Visitors today can enjoy a meal at the Mammoth Steakhouse & Saloon, tour an underground mine, ride the Scenic Narrow Gauge Railroad, see a gunfight re-enactment, aim for targets at the shooting gallery, ride a zipline over the desert, and so much more!

7 of the Coolest Ghost Towns in Arizona | Goldfield Ghost Town #simplywander #arizona #ghosttown

For more fun places to go in the Valley, see our guide 101 Things to do in Phoenix and the East Valley with Kids !

4. Chloride

Chloride is another example of a living ghost town. In 1920, Chloride had a population of around 2,000 people.

7 of the Coolest Ghost Towns in Arizona | Chloride Ghost Town #simplywander #arizona #ghosttown

Today, Chloride has a population of less than 400, but the citizens have taken pride in preserving the history of this old mining town.

7 of the Coolest Ghost Towns in Arizona | Chloride Ghost Town #simplywander #arizona #ghosttown

Chloride was founded in 1862 when silver ore was discovered in the surrounding mountains.

During its peak, Chloride had over 75 mines including, silver, gold, lead, zinc, and turquoise mines.

A few landmarks that visitors can see today include the original local jail from 1860, the oldest continually-run post office in Arizona, and the oldest continually-run church in Arizona.

7 of the Coolest Ghost Towns in Arizona | Chloride Ghost Town #simplywander #arizona #ghosttown

Cyanide Springs is also a fun little stop. It’s a replica of a miniature ghost town with an old saloon and other building fronts.

7 of the Coolest Ghost Towns in Arizona | Chloride Ghost Town #simplywander #arizona #ghosttown

Stop in at the general store to pick up some local treats and admire the miniature scale model of the town.

The friendly cashiers are always willing to share any history or stories of the town if you ask!

If you have time, take the dirt road a little way up the mountain to discover some brightly-colored murals painted on boulders by a local artist.

Chloride is located about a half-hour outside Kingman on the way to Las Vegas. If you’re looking for more things to do in the area, check out our guide 7 Unique Things to do in Kingman Arizona .

5. Santa Claus

Santa Claus is a unique ghost town. Unlike many of the other ghost towns in Arizona, this one did not begin as a mining town.

Instead, it was the brainchild of an LA real estate developer and her husband.

In 1937, they founded Santa Claus, Arizona in an attempt to attract buyers to the desert.

7 of the Coolest Ghost Towns in Arizona | Santa Claus Ghost Town #simplywander #arizona #ghosttown

The Christmas Tree Inn was at the heart of Santa Claus and the surrounding land was parceled out and put up for sale.

For several years it was a thriving tourist attraction where it felt like Christmas every day of the year.

Kids could even visit Santa year-round and mail letters postmarked from Santa Claus.

However, by 1949 no one was buying up the surrounding land and the town slowly fell into disrepair.

7 of the Coolest Ghost Towns in Arizona | Santa Claus Ghost Town #simplywander #arizona #ghosttown

Today, this Christmas-themed ghost town is a depressing collection of graffiti-covered buildings. You’ll find a few traces of chipped red and green paint and ghostly wisps of holiday cheer.

7 of the Coolest Ghost Towns in Arizona | Santa Claus Ghost Town #simplywander #arizona #ghosttown

While there isn’t much left to see, it’s a quick roadside stop just off US-93 between Kingman and Henderson, NV.

It is also only a few miles from Chloride, so it’s easy to visit both ghost towns at the same time.

Bisbee is an old historic mining town filled with history, lurid tales, and even a few ghosts.

7 of the Coolest Ghost Towns in Arizona | Bisbee Ghost Town #simplywander #arizona #ghosttown

It is located only about 30 minutes from Tombstone so it’s easy to combine both in just one trip.

In 1877, Bisbee began as a small mining camp but quickly grew until it became known as the “Queen of the Copper Camps”.

7 of the Coolest Ghost Towns in Arizona | Bisbee Ghost Town #simplywander #arizona #ghosttown

Bisbee soon became one of the richest mineral sites in the world, producing gold, copper, silver, and zinc.

At the height of production, Bisbee was responsible for producing almost 1/4 of the world’s copper.

It was home to over 20,000 residents and was the largest town in the Southwest between St. Louis and San Francisco!

The mines supported the town of Bisbee for almost 100 years before the resources were depleted. In 1975, the mines were shuttered for good.

7 of the Coolest Ghost Towns in Arizona | Bisbee Ghost Town #simplywander #arizona #ghosttown

Today, visitors can tour the Copper Queen Mine and visit the 1,000-foot-deep Lavender Pit. The Mining & Historical Museum is also worth a stop.

7 of the Coolest Ghost Towns in Arizona | Bisbee Ghost Town #simplywander #arizona #ghosttown

You’ll also want to stroll along Main Street where it feels as if everything is frozen in time.

7 of the Coolest Ghost Towns in Arizona | Bisbee Ghost Town #simplywander #arizona #ghosttown

A Guided E-bike Tour is a great way to see the town and learn the history from a local.

For a unique experience, you can even spend the night at the historic, and supposedly haunted, Copper Queen Hotel !

Over the years, Bisbee has become a mecca for artists and free-spirits.

You’ll find colorful murals around the city and even an outdoor art museum that is hidden in an alleyway.

7 of the Coolest Ghost Towns in Arizona | Bisbee Ghost Town #simplywander #arizona #ghosttown

For more recommended things to do, see our Bisbee Travel Guide .

7. Two Guns

Two Guns is an obscure roadside stop along Route 66.

It’s a ghost town of sorts with the dilapidated remains of a trading post, gas station, and even a zoo!

7 of the Coolest Ghost Towns in Arizona | Two Guns Ghost Town #simplywander #arizona #ghosttown

It is also the grim site of the Apache Death Cave.

During the Route 66 boom, a shrewd businessman tried to capitalize on the gruesome attack in the cave.

He marketed it as a tourist attraction and began selling real skulls from the cave.

This eerie ghost town is located just off I-40 between Flagstaff and Winslow on the rim of Canyon Diablo.

7 of the Coolest Ghost Towns in Arizona | Two Guns Ghost Town #simplywander #arizona #ghosttown

Supposedly, Billy the Kid even hid out in Canyon Diablo after he stole money in a train robbery. It is rumored that the money is still buried somewhere in the canyon.

Today, there is not much left of the once thriving trading post and Route 66 tourist attraction.

However, the weathered remains of the mountain lion enclosure are pretty cool!

7 of the Coolest Ghost Towns in Arizona | Two Guns Ghost Town #simplywander #arizona #ghosttown

You can also visit the nearby Canyon Diablo ghost town and see the remains of this old railroad town.

For more of the best Route 66 stops, see our guide 12 Must-see Stops on Route 66 in Arizona !

A few more of the best ghost towns in Arizona

  • Vulture City: Vulture City was once the site of Arizona’s most successful gold mine which led to the founding of Wickenburg. Guided tours are available on the weekends where you can visit sites such as the 300-year-old ironwood tree where 18 men were sentenced to hang to death.
  • Swansea: The ghost town of Swansea is located near Parker. It was settled in 1909 as a small copper mining and smelting town. Due to the remote location, this ghost town is considered one of the creepiest ghost towns in Arizona.
  • Nothing: Nothing is located on US-93 between Wickenburg and Wikieup. The term ghost “town” is used loosely, since all that remains is an abandoned gas station and a couple of signs. But it is worth a quick stop just to take a photo of the original sign to prove you saw Nothing in Arizona!
  • Fairbank: Fairbank was once a bustling railroad town and the closest train depot to Tucson. Today, visitors can take a self-guided walking tour to see historic points of interest like the old school house.
  • Oatman: One thing that makes Oatman unique is the wild burros that roam around the town. These donkeys are descendants of those brought in by the original miners that settled this town!
  • Castle Dome: Castle Dome was once bigger than Yuma but is now a a well-preserved ghost town. Visitors can tour over 50 restored buildings filled with artifacts.
  • Ruby: Ruby is located near the Mexico boarder by Nogales. It is a privately owned ghost town, but visitors can tour the abandoned mining town for a fee. If you visit from May-September, you can even witness hundreds of Mexican free tail bats emerging from the old mines at dawn and returning at dusk.
  • Cochise: Cochise was once a busy railroad town. In the 1880s, trains along the Southern Pacific Railroad would stop here for coal and water. A handful of original buildings and an operating train track still remain
  • Ghost town trail: The ghost town trail east of Tombstone takes you to the ghost towns of Gleeson, Courtland, and Pearce.
  • Where are the best ghost towns in Arizona? Click on the link for a map of all of the best ghost towns in Arizona.
  • How many ghost towns are in Arizona? There are approximately 300 ghost towns in Arizona. Many are the remains of old mining boomtowns or railroad towns.
  • What is the scariest ghost town in Arizona? Jerome is arguably the most haunted ghost town in Arizona. It was once considered the ‘Wickedest Town in the West’ and many of the notorious residents never left!
  • What is the most popular ghost town in Arizona to visit? Tombstone is the most popular ghost town in Arizona to visit. Nearly 450,000 tourists visit Tombstone each year.
  • What ghost towns are near Tucson? The closest ghost towns to Tucson are Tombstone, Bisbee, Fairbank, Cochise, Courtland, Pearce, Gleeson, and Ruby.
  • What ghost town is near Sedona? Jerome is the closest ghost town to Sedona. It is located about 35 minutes southwest of Sedona.

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This Haunting Road Trip Through Arizona Ghost Towns Is One You Won’t Forget

where is ghost town in arizona

Monica Spencer

Monica is a Diné (Navajo) freelance writer and photographer based in the Southwest. Born in Gallup and raised in Phoenix, she is Tódich'ii'nii (Bitter Water People) and Tsi'naajinii (Black Streak Wood People). Monica is a staff writer for Only In Your State, photo editor for The Mesa Legend, and previously a staff writer for The Navajo Post. You can reach her at [email protected].

More by this Author

If there’s any state that could be considered the ghost town capital of the country, Arizona could easily win that argument. With more than 275 abandoned settlements of American origin, many of these places were frontier boom towns iconic of Arizona’s Wild West heritage. Today, many ghost towns in Arizona still exist in various stages of decay and each year, a little bit fades away into the land.

If you’ve been meaning to take some time to explore these long-forgotten areas, you’ll definitely want to take a trip on this special ghost town road trip in southeastern Arizona! On this trip, we’ll be exploring 7 places often designated as ghost towns and some of the history behind each one. Refer to this custom Google map we created just for this road trip for directions and a few facts about each town.

where is ghost town in arizona

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6 Unforgettable Road Trips To Take In Arizona At Some Point In Your Life

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where is ghost town in arizona

Sounds like quite a trip, doesn’t it? If you want to explore other areas of the state through a road trip, be sure to check out some of our previous articles for ideas !

OnlyInYourState may earn compensation through affiliate links in this article. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

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More to Explore

Ghost towns in arizona.

What are the creepiest places in Arizona?

If you're feeling brave enough, you could check out some creepy places in Arizona. A visit to the Yuma Territorial Prison will give you the chance to explore an abandoned old west prison. Over a hundred prisoners died there due to disease, overheating, and overcrowding. According to some, it is haunted by these spirits. Walking around the empty cells can be chilling. Another spine-chilling spot in Arizona is the Hotel Monte Vista, which has a dozen ghosts hanging out within its walls. Would you dare to stay there yourself?

What is the most haunted place in Arizona?

With so many ghost towns, there are many supposedly haunted places in Arizona. According to legend, Bisbee might just be the most haunted place in the state. There are more than 5,000 people living in the town still, but there is an insane amount of paranormal activity that happens there. Businesses throughout the towns - hotels, restaurants, and more - have many stories of hauntings and the mining town's history is rife with tragedy. Many miners died there over the years when the mines were operational, so it is thought that their lingering spirits are the ones that haunt Bisbee.

Are there any urban legends in Arizona?

There are quite a few Arizona ghost stories that'll send chills right up your spine. While there are well-known urban legends like El Chupacabra or Mogollon Monster that might not make you bat an eye, but things like the Navajo legend of skinwalkers are truly terrifying. They're the kind of things that make you want to keep the light on at night, with their link to witchcraft and being incredibly dangerous to run into. A more somber and spooky urban legend in Arizona is that of La Llorona, otherwise known as the Weeping Woman. According to the story, she drowned her children after her husband cheated on her, and ended up deeply regretting it. Children are told not to wander near water at night if they don't want to end up with the same fate!

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10 Ghost Towns in Arizona that are Actually Worth Visiting

Top 10 Ghost Towns in Arizona Worth Visiting - American Expeditioners https://americanexpeditioners.com/top-10-ghost-towns-arizona

With its rich history in mining, Arizona is home to over 200 ghost towns. Unfortunately, majority of these have been reduced to nothing more than the rubble of building foundations or no longer have any trace of civilization and have simply reverted back to empty land. Here are 10 of our favorite ghost towns that have been well preserved (considering Arizona’s harsh climate) … and are actually worth visiting.

Oatman Ghost Town, Top 10 Ghost Towns in Arizona Worth Visiting - American Expeditioners https://americanexpeditioners.com/top-10-ghost-towns-arizona

See our trip report & photos of the Oatman Ghost Town: americanexpeditioners.com/burros-oatman-ghost-town

Ruby Ghost Town, Top 10 Ghost Towns in Arizona Worth Visiting - American Expeditioners https://americanexpeditioners.com/top-10-ghost-towns-arizona

See our trip report & photos of the Ruby Ghost Town: americanexpeditioners.com/ruby-ghost-town

Clifton Ghost Town, Top 10 Ghost Towns in Arizona Worth Visiting - American Expeditioners https://americanexpeditioners.com/top-10-ghost-towns-arizona

See our trip report & photos of the cliffside jail in Clifton Ghost Town: americanexpeditioners.com/cliffside-jail-clifton-ghost-town/

4. Vulture City

Vulture City Mine Ghost Town, Top 10 Ghost Towns in Arizona Worth Visiting - American Expeditioners https://americanexpeditioners.com/top-10-ghost-towns-arizona

See our trip report & photos of the Vulture City Mine Ghost Town: americanexpeditioners.com/vulture-city-mine.php

5. Castle Dome Landing/City

Castle Dome Ghost Town, Top 10 Ghost Towns in Arizona Worth Visiting - American Expeditioners https://americanexpeditioners.com/top-10-ghost-towns-arizona

See our trip report & photos of the Castle Dome City Ghost Town: americanexpeditioners.com/castle-dome-city-ghost-town

Jerome Ghost Town, Top 10 Ghost Towns in Arizona Worth Visiting - American Expeditioners https://americanexpeditioners.com/top-10-ghost-towns-arizona

See our trip report & photos of Jerome: americanexpeditioners.com/jerome.php

Copper Queen Mine, Bisbee Ghost Town, Top 10 Ghost Towns in Arizona Worth Visiting - American Expeditioners https://americanexpeditioners.com/top-10-ghost-towns-arizona

8. Tombstone

Tombstone Ghost Town, Top 10 Ghost Towns in Arizona Worth Visiting - American Expeditioners https://americanexpeditioners.com/top-10-ghost-towns-arizona

See our trip report & photos of Tombstone: americanexpeditioners.com/tombstone-arizona/ americanexpeditioners.com/tombstone.php

9. Fairbank

Fairbank Ghost Town, Top 10 Ghost Towns in Arizona Worth Visiting - American Expeditioners https://americanexpeditioners.com/top-10-ghost-towns-arizona

See our trip report & photos of the Fairbank Ghost Town americanexpeditioners.com/abandoned-fairbank-ghost-town-arizona/ americanexpeditioners.com/fairbank-ghost-town.php

10. Goldfield

Goldfield Ghost Town, Top 10 Ghost Towns in Arizona Worth Visiting - American Expeditioners https://americanexpeditioners.com/top-10-ghost-towns-arizona

See our trip report & photos of the Goldfield Ghost Town: americanexpeditioners.com/goldfield-ghost-town.php

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20 BEST GHOST TOWNS IN ARIZONA YOU SHOULD VISIT

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The ghost towns in Arizona are the brilliant icons of the past of the Old Wild West.

If you want to be transported back to dusty streets lined with wooden buildings, horses, and cowboy vibes, these coolest ghost towns in Arizona will give you exactly that but so much more.

These abandoned Arizona mine towns, enriched with distinct past, is one of the best getaways you can plan with your family for a unique holiday, traveling back in time to gold rush days in Arizona.

Most of Arizona’s best ghost towns are conveniently accessible and ideal for a short weekend drive.

Although there are over two hundred ghost towns in Arizona, only a few are well-preserved as historic sites, making them perfect for adding to the best Arizona landmarks and your bucket list.

You can easily also add these Arizona ghost towns as quick stops on road trips.

And add visits to some of the best national monuments in Arizona and Az national parks along the route, stretching your trip for almost a week if you wish!

Whether looking for a quick weekend getaway from Tucson, Phoenix and Sedona or stops along the best Arizona road trip routes, this post takes you through the best ghost towns in Arizona worth your time.

Do you prefer Arizona ghost tours to explore hassle-free, check the best tours here !

Table of Contents

TOP GHOST TOWNS IN ARIZONA

Located south of Flagstaff and in the dense Black Hills mountains within the Verde Valley at over 5000 feet, Jerome is one of the top ghost towns in Arizona.

Nicknamed the most vertical city, Jerome is also the largest ghost town in the United States.

If you want to be introduced to the culture of Arizona ghost towns, Jerome is the best place to be as it is one of the best mining towns symbolising the Old Wild West.

where is ghost town in arizona

Founded in 1876 with the discovery of gold and copper deposits in the area, Jerome attracted large numbers of migrants from everywhere, mainly miners, gamblers, and old-west bad boys. 

This large-scale migration brought a wide boom, leading to the construction of many saloons and brothels.

Here are some of the best tours I recommend to explore Jerome conveniently:

✅ Historic Tour of Jerome from Sedona(Likely to sell out)(4.9/5 50+ reviews🤩) – Enjoy fantastic mining history, charming architecture, and desert scenery on an intimate small group tour running for 4.5 hours. Find more details here.

✅ Jerome History Walk (5/5 50+ reviews🤩)- If you are in the city, I highly recommend this top 1-hour tour that gives you the best highlights of the city. Check out more details here.

✅ Wild Wild West Tour of Jerome (4.9/5 50+ reviews🤩) – This 1.5-hours Wild Wild West Tour of Jerome takes you to historical spots. Check out more details here .

✅ Jerome Tour from Sedona (4.9/5 10+ reviews🤩) – Learn about Jerome’s history, and see the sights, explore, and have lunch. On the way, you’ll stop at the ruins of Tuzigoot National Monument, an ancient Sinagua pueblo. Check out more details here of this 5-hours tour .

✅ Pandora’s Box Ghost Adventure(4.7/5 60+ reviews🤩) – Increase your chances of experiencing paranormal activity during a ‘Pandora’s Box’ ghost tour that focuses on stories of murder, lust, and revenge on this 2-hours tour. Check out more details here.

The mines near Jerome were rich in copper rather than silver, with the mines producing 3 million pounds of copper per month, and during its peak time, the town inhabited over 15000 people.

Jerome got rightly nicknamed ‘The Billion Dollar Copper Camp’.

It grew into one of the richest cities in the US at this time, and over 70 years, these copper mines in Jerome generated over a billion dollars worth of precious metal.

Recommended – 28 Fantastic Things To Do In Jerome, The Wickedest City

Eventually, in the 1950s, the mines began drying up. As expected, the town’s population dwindled to less than a hundred, 

Jerome was designated a National Historic District in 1967, and artists began to flock to the town in the 60s and 70s. 

where is ghost town in arizona

Today, Jerome is home to 450 residents, making it the largest populated ghost town.

It is a vibrant community with old buildings of the 1800s renovated into art galleries, museums, coffee shops, antique shops, craft stores, gift and curios shops, and wine bars.

Join one of the guided tours to cover the highlights of Jerome, where you will also hear many eerie and interesting tales of this mining town and its past inhabitants.

For history lovers, I recommend this excellent walking tour with a local guide .

Do you know? Jerome is also one of the most haunted towns in Arizona.

There are many popular ghost tours(read my detailed guide) , and if you are here for the first time, I recommend you join one.

No time to read the guide? This ghost tour is the one highly recommend if you only have time for one ghost tour in Jerome. Check out more here .

Some of the most haunted places with bizarre and sad histories include the Ghost City Inn, Mile High Grill & Inn, a former brothel, and the Conner Hotel .

The tour guides will tell unbelievable stories and grim events in these spots.

If you are daring, stay overnight at the Jerome Grand Hotel , also rumoured to be haunted by the spirits of patients, dead miners, and staff.

Even if you’re not into the paranormal, there are many attractions worth visiting in Jerome.

Start from downtown Jerome, home to some galleries, restaurants and tasting rooms — and the famous “Haunted Hamburger” restaurant, worth stopping for lunch or dinner.

where is ghost town in arizona

Visit the Jerome State Historic Park, home to Douglas Mansion, built in 1916 by a mining magnate.

Check out the unique Sliding Jail, a historic building and a museum constructed in the 1920s.

Over the years, the building has slid down the hill about 200 feet to where it rests now.

The mining museum contains many excellent artefacts, photographs, and ancient equipment belonging to the miners, giving glimpses of the past of the mining town.

If you are with kids, head to the nearby Audrey Headframe Park to admire stunning views of the mountainous landscapes from the glass viewing platform over a 1918 mine shaft. 

WHERE TO STAY IN JEROME?

✅ Connor Hotel 🏨 is one of my favourites I recommend for couples and families. Featuring a bar on site, this historic inn is 20 minutes’ walk from Jerome State Historic Park.

All rooms are equipped with a flat-screen cable TV with satellite channels. Free WiFi is available. Check prices here .

Bisbee , located near the Mexican border only about 30 minutes from Tombstone, is one of the unique ghost towns in Arizona that has gained popularity in recent years.

Located southeast of Tucson Bisbee in Cochise County, nestled in the rolling mountains.

Bisbee does not exude the typical charm of any Arizona ghost town, as the town is home to over 4000 residents currently.

But the rich past of Bisbee and its excellent location and all-year-round pleasant weather make it one of my favourite Arizona mining towns.

where is ghost town in arizona

Bisbee was accidentally discovered in 1877 by a group of US Army scouts and cavalrymen who stumbled upon the presence of significant amounts of lead, copper, and silver. 

The word soon spread resulting in a large influx of migrants looking to make the most of these minerals.

In a few years, Bisbee became known as the “Queen of the Copper Camps,” with a mining settlement for over 20,000 miners, prospectors, and their families.

Recommended – 25 Best Things To Do In Bisbee, Arizona

Bisbee became one of the richest mineral sites in the world, producing gold, copper, silver, and zinc, producing almost a quarter of the world’s copper.

It was the largest town in the Southwest between St. Louis and San Francisco.

After a century of prosperous run, the mines gave away as the mineral reserves depleted, with the last mine being shut forever in 1975.

Today, most of the rich historic past of Bisbee is well-preserved, thanks to the efforts of the residents.

Walking through the old-fashioned downtown lined with whimsical art galleries, bustling shops, unique museums, cute cafes, bars, and restaurants.

where is ghost town in arizona

Tour the museums of Bisbee Mining & Historical Museum, and Bisbee Restoration Museum to get an in-depth look into the lives of miners and settlers back in the day.

Or better, join the world-famous Queen Mine Tour, which takes you 1,500 feet underground to explore one of the abandoned mines.

Here you will get your hands dirty wearing mining hats and slickers and riding the train deep underground to search for precious metals.

Stop at Central School, and Lavender Pit, and for some spooky experiences, you can visit the Bisbee Seance Room, a Victoria parlor for the paranormal.

BEST TOURS TO EXPLORE BISBEE

✅ Half-Day Arizona Wine Country Tasting Tour – I highly recommend this day tour for all wine lovers. Taking a wine tour from Bisbee or Sierra Vista to Arizona’s picturesque wine country of Sonoita-Elgin makes a fantastic day. Read more details here to book.

✅ Guided E-Bike Tour of Bisbee, Arizona (Rating – 🤩5/5, 30+ reviews) – Join a small group and ride around Old Bisbee to learn about the town’s history, art, and architecture with guides for 2 hours. Book here .

✅ 1-Hour Tour Old Bisbee City Cart (Rating – 🤩5/5, 40+ reviews) – This is an interactive 1-hour ride through Old Bisbee, highlighting the infamous and not-famous stories and sights that make Bisbee the charming beauty it is.  Find more details here.

✅ 3 Hour Private Bisbee Pub Crawl (Rating – 🤩5/5, 10+ reviews) – Find out more here to book .

Join the Old Bisbee Ghost Tour strolling amidst ancient buildings and listening to the gory tales sending a chill down your spine.

Or spend overnight at the historic Copper Queen Hotel, dating back to 1902, which is rumoured to be haunted as well.

Halloween is one of the most popular times to visit Bisbee as the whole town comes alive with many themed parties, haunted tours, and markets.

WHERE TO STAY IN BISBEE?

✅ Letson Loft Hotel – Letson Loft Hotel 🏨 is one of the best hotels in the town. Rooms also offer a kitchenette with a fridge, a microwave and a toaster.

You can also enjoy activities in and around Bisbee, like hiking and cycling. Find more details to book here .

One of the popular ghost towns in Arizona, Tombstone is a pretty town close to Bisbee in Cochise County.

It shares a common past of the Wild West and origins, with Tombstone also being discovered in the 1880s.

Tombstone, famously nicknamed the “town too tough to die,” was one of the leading silver mines during the era.

where is ghost town in arizona

Within two years of establishment, Tombstone became one of the primarily populated towns.

It was home to more than a hundred saloons, over a dozen gambling halls, a bowling alley, many brothels, four churches, theatres, and large public office buildings. 

Tombstone was a haven for lawless gunslingers, smugglers, cowboys, miners, and immigrants. It was abandoned in 1892 when the mines dried up.

Recommended – 20 Fun Things To Do In Tombstone, Arizona With Your Kids

Today, Tombstone is one of the most popular ghost towns in Arizona, receiving 400,000 tourists visiting each year.

Another thing that made Tombstone attract tourists happened after being the filming venue showcasing the infamous gunfight at O.K. Corral in the 1993 movie Tombstone . 

You can experience the old west architecture in Tombstone on one of the excellent guided tours .

Or better, how about explore the town on this historic Tombstone Trolley bus ?

where is ghost town in arizona

Admire the old-time saloons, restaurants, and shops lining the old town area, especially around East Allen Street, lined with boutique gift shops and eateries. 

Theatre enthusiasts should visit Schieffelin Hall.

You can also attend one of the underground mining tours.

✅ Join mysterious tours to feel spooky at Boothill Cemetery .  

Check out the iconic Bird Cage Theatre on Allen Street, a raucous saloon littered with bullet holes thanks to the infamous fight, where they regularly reenact the gunfight.

If you plan to stay overnight, I highly recommend staying at Tombstone Monument Ranch.

WHERE TO STAY IN TOMBSTONE?

✅ Katie’s Cozy Cabins 🏨 – Located in historic Tombstone, this inn is 5 minutes’ walk from O.K. Corral and Big Nose Kate’s Saloon. This self check-in property features a porch with a swing with each bungalow.

There is a fully equipped kitchenette, a bathroom with a shower and a sofa bed in the living room of each accommodation at Katie’s Cozy Cabins. Find the reviews and book your details here .

Locate near the Arizona-California border is the former mining town Swansea, one of the worth-visiting ghost towns in Arizona, known for its rich gold and copper mining history.

Under preservation by the Bureau of Land Management, Swansea in western Arizona near the Bill Williams River.

It was named after the Welsh hometown of founder George Mitchell at the time of its establishment in the 1870s. 

Within a decade, Swansea grew in size, as did the revenue.

Swansea had a post office, many saloons and restaurants, car dealership shops, theatres, a lumber company, and an electric light company.

where is ghost town in arizona

But unlike the other Arizona mining towns, Swansea expanded only for about 30 years since its founding around the Great Depression.

It is partly due to a lack of a stable water supply after incurring bankruptcy in 1911.

Today, you can check out old mine shafts, dozens of abandoned buildings, two cemeteries, miners’ homes, vintage cars, foundations and adobe structures and learn about its past from the plaques installed.

Note that it is one of the most remote Arizona ghost towns compared to others on the list, but if you like to explore minus the crowds, you will love this place.

WHERE TO STAY IN SWANSEA?

✅ Harbour Inn – This inn is a 5-minute drive from Buckskin Mountain State Park and a 10-minute drive from Parker Dam.

It offers tourist maps, free Wi-Fi and suites with kitchens. Check out deals here.

Located   40 miles east of Phoenix, Goldfield is a beautiful hamlet and the gateway to the Superstition Mountains in the legendary Valley of the Sun. 

Only a short drive from Mesa and Apache Junction , Goldfield is one of the best ghost towns in Arizona known for its well-preserved mining history, apart from its beautiful location.

Unlike some Arizona ghost towns, you will see that Goldfield is not abandoned but is well-preserved. 

where is ghost town in arizona

The Goldfield Ghost Town & Mine is one of the best day trips from Scottsdale you can plan, as it is only about 10 miles away.

Goldfield was founded in 1893 when gold was first discovered in the Superstition Mountains after prospectors struck gold here.

At the time of the founding of Goldfield, miners discovered massive amounts of gold worth at least three million dollars leading to a sudden frenzy and building of the town in a short span.

Goldfield colourfully expanded to include many saloons, brothels, offices, a hotel, a theatre, a general store, a schoolhouse, and a brewery.

However, this mega success did not long last. Goldfield was one of the shortest-lived mining towns as the mines dried up, leading to people abandoning it only five years after its founding.

where is ghost town in arizona

Note that Goldfield may not be to your liking if you are not into touristy towns, but it is worth checking out for all the many activities, historic buildings and family-friendly events.

BEST TOURS TO EXPLORE IN GOLDFIELD

(Best Combo Tour) Private Half-Day Apache Trail Tour with Pickup(5/5 20+ reviews🤩) – If you are in Scottsdale, join this private guide and hike through the Superstition Mountains, taking in the unique scenery and learning about the fauna and flora of the Sonoran Desert for 4 to 5 hours, also stopping at Goldfield. Check more details here.

Apache Trail Day Trip Including Dolly Steamboat(5/5 40+ reviews🤩) – Make the most of your trip by carving out time for this day tour of the Apache Trail from Phoenix. Travel down the trail, and stop at Tortilla Flat, the Superstition Mountains, and Goldfield Ghost Town. Check out more here .

Check out the famous museum, an old train steamer, mine tours, daily gunfight reenactments, the historic schoolhouse, a blacksmith shop, and old-style saloons alongside horses and wagons.

The historic town offers many old-west attractions where you can pan for gold.

Try the period costume with your kids. Try zipline to take in the bird’s-eye view of Goldfield.

WHERE TO STAY IN GOLDFIELD?

✅ Residence Inn by Marriott Phoenix Mesa East 🏨 – Set in Ciela Grande Mobile Home Park, Residence Inn by Marriott Phoenix Mesa East features views of the pool with excellent reviews.

Each accommodation at the 3-star hotel has mountain views and free WiFi. Check out details here.

One of the latest additions to the mining towns in the state was Ruby, now one of the best well-preserved ghost towns in Arizona.

It is a pretty city worth stopping by, near the north of the Mexico border amidst the beautiful Coronado National Forest.

Although miners discovered rich deposits of gold and silver in 1854, mining was limited as the area was Apache territory.

Ruby became a spot on the map when quartz was discovered in the 1870s.

Miners even formed a settlement called “Montana Camp” just below Montana Peak.

where is ghost town in arizona

Soon, prospectors found large amounts of gold, lead, and zinc in the nearby hills enticing many migrants to settle here.

This lead to another mining town in Arizona that came into existence in 1912 and was named after the wife of a mining merchant.

The Montana Mine in Ruby was the largest mining camp in southwest Arizona at the time, producing zinc, lead and 80 ounces of silver per ton.

Home to more than a thousand people, Ruby was also notorious for its many illegal activities with the border towns in Mexico.

The town is also best known as the location of the infamous Ruby Murders and the subsequent manhunt in the 1920s.

As the mining business dwindled in the mid-20th Century followed by the closing of the Montana Mine, Ruby turned into a veritable ghost town.

Ruby was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975; later, the remaining residents began working on restoring sections of the town to its former glory.

where is ghost town in arizona

Ruby is a privately owned ghost town today.

You can explore its past with a permit and an admission fee; where you can see more than two dozen buildings, making you dive into the history of this town.

Among the prominent landmarks and old west buildings include the post office, a jail, a school, a warehouse, the courthouse, and mine machinery.

If you visit from May-September, you can witness hundreds of Mexican free-tail bats emerging from the old mines around sunset.

After touring Ruby for a few hours, you can enjoy fishing at the two private lakes nearby that are regularly stocked with bluegill, catfish and largemouth bass. 

The town also offers camping grounds near the lakes, where you can enjoy birdwatching and stargazing.

One of the best stops you can make on your road trip along the famous old Route 66 is Oatman.

It is one of the best ghost towns in Arizona, named after a woman, Olive Oatman, who lived among the local Yavapai and Mohave Native American tribes.

where is ghost town in arizona

Oatman is one of the few towns in the Wild West that joined the extensive list of mining towns in 1915, much later than the other towns, when more than ten million of gold was discovered.

This boom and the subsequent expansion of Oatman continued for the next fifty years, with hundreds of prospectors and mining families calling the town their home.

Situated along the old Route 66, Oatman is now a living ghost town with many residents.

Traveling from Las Vegas? Then I highly recommend this Oatman Mining Village/Museums & Scenic RT66 Experience(5/5 50+ reviews🤩) , a day trip covering the best of Route 66. Check out more here .

It is one of the most-visited Arizona ghost towns, with nearly half a million visitors visiting to relive the golden days yearly.

Oatman is known for exuding the Wild West vibes on its dusty streets and wooden sidewalks laden with historical buildings, antique shops, museums, and more.

Arizona ghost towns near me

Another notable feature of Oatman is the friendly wild burros wandering the streets.

Among the top attractions you should visit is the Oatman Hotel, a two-storey adobe hotel which survived the fire of 1921 and is also believed to be haunted.

There is a restaurant, saloon, and gift shop on the premises.

WHERE TO STAY?

Casa Bonita Arizona – Casa Bonita Arizona is located in Mohave Valley, 15 minutes from Oatman, and offers a private beach area, a casino and a bar.

This property offers access to a patio, free private parking and free WiFi. Check out more details here.

Located on the edge of the Navajo Nation, Two Guns is another popular stop off Route 66 and must be on the list of the best ghost towns in Arizona.

It is situated between Flagstaff and Winslow on the rim of Canyon Diablo.

Two Guns is home to the remains of a trading post, gas station, and also a zoo, along with being the grim site of the Apache Death Cave.

It is probably one of the ghost towns in Arizona with a sad and eerie history.

Although it was one of the oldest inhabited areas with large populations of Native Americans dating back to the 10th century, Two Guns was an obscure town to the rest of the world until the mid-1800s.

ghost towns in Arizona

In 1878, the nearby Canyon Diablo was the site of a mass murder of Apaches by their Navajo enemies; the site where the Apache hid out became known as the Apache Death Cave.

Two Guns was initially founded as a work camp for crews building the railroad over Canyon Diablo. 

Due to its proximity to the Canyon and the illegal activities, Two Guns became notorious for its lawlessness, burglars, thieves, gamblers, and murderers.

Today, Two Guns is a quiet, abandoned town where you can see the remains of a campground, trading post, zoo, old cottages, and a burned-out service station.

Check out the locations of the grim past, the abandoned Canyon Diablo Bridge and Apache Death Cave close to the town.

Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort – Offering an indoor pool and 3 restaurants, Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort is located in Flagstaff, 20 minutes from Two Guns.

Free WiFi access is available. Flagstaff Pulliam Airport is 30 minutes’ drive from the resort. Check out more details here.

Chloride, nestled in the Cerbat Mountains near Las Vegas and Kingman, is the oldest continually lived-in mining town in Arizona and has the state’s oldest continually operated post office.

If you want to be transported back in time to experience the rustic past of the Old Wild West, Chloride is the best place to be.

ghost towns in az

And it is also one of the less-crowded towns, so if you want to avoid the touristy AZ ghost towns, you will love Chloride for its more authentic charms.

Established in 1863 as a silver mining camp, Chloride had over 75 mines, including silver, gold, lead, zinc, and turquoise mines, with over two thousand people calling the town their home. 

Like the other mining towns in Arizona, Chloride was a bustling city with all amenities and fleeting businessmen and traders.

As the mines were getting depleted the town suffered a major fire outbreak in the late 1920s, and by the 1940s, most of the town was shut.

But unlike most ghost towns in Arizona on this list, it never became fully uninhabited following the closure of the silver mines in the 1940s. 

Stroll the streets of the old town, especially Tennessee Street of Chloride, home to an old saloon, a playhouse, an undertaker’s office.

Check out the antique jail dating back to 1860, Lavender Lace’s Boarding House for Fine Women, and the oldest continually-run church in Arizona. Stop at the famous Mineshaft Market.

mining towns in Arizona

One of the quirky attractions in Chloride is the town cemetery where you can see the graves topped with old telephones.

Do you know? Many old buildings on the main street area feature in popular movies and music videos as Chloride is one of the famous filming locations in AZ.

I recommend you stop at the famous Purcell Murals, a series of colourful murals running for a mile and a half along the dirt road up the mountain.

Created by the local artist Roy Purcell in 1966, this art named “The Journey” covers 2,000 square feet of cliffside granite home to quirky art in all forms and sizes, ranging from mystic symbols to birds and armour.

Chloride also celebrates Old Miner’s Day to celebrate their mining heritage, with a few residents being the descendants of the original settlers.

WHERE TO STAY IN CHLORIDE?

✅ Grand Canyon West Hotel Sheps Miners Inn 🏨 – Located in Chloride, Grand Canyon West Hotel Sheps Miners Inn features barbecue facilities.

With free WiFi, this 4-star hotel has a garden and a bar. The accommodation provides karaoke and room service. Check out more details here .

CASTLE DOME

Get transported back in time to the days of the gold rush of the 19th-century Wild West with a trip to the ghost town of Castle Dome City at the Castle Dome Mine Museum, one of the  top things to do in Yuma AZ .

Located about an hour’s drive northeast of downtown Yuma, Castle Dome is more than just a museum.

One of the prominent ghost towns in Arizona, Castle Dome was a larger town than Yuma, back in its prime, 

you will find more than fifty buildings atop over 300 abandoned mines, recreated to showcase the lives of the inhabitants that occupied the mining district of Castle Dome in the 1860s and 1870s.

ghost town in Arizona

Explore the buildings, including homes, original saloons, blacksmith shops, general stores, hotels, a bank, post office, shops.

Stop at the church, home to unique artefacts, to learn more about the town’s history, which was eventually abandoned in 1978

You can choose from various experiences, from a self-guided walking town tour to a more adventurous underground mine tour.

Check out some authentic artefacts, ancient tools, gems and mining equipment from the mines below on these tours, one of the top Yuma attractions you can enjoy with your kids.

Hampton Inn & Suites Yuma – This Yuma, Arizona is located at the intersection of Interestates 95 and 8. The hotel offers a free hot daily breakfast and guest rooms with free high-speed internet access.

It is loved by couples and families, check out more here .

While Prescott may not be the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of abandoned towns, this city in Central Arizona has its share of the history of the Old Wild West, making it worth including on the list of the ghost towns in Arizona.

If you look closely, you will see plenty of the past, from Victorian architecture to Whiskey Row saloons.

mining town in Arizona

One of the popular places known for its ghost history is the famous Palace Saloon, established in 1877.

This intricately decorated heritage structure, now a popular bar, is known for being haunted by spirts, including former guests of the saloon.

You can join one of the many night tours in Prescott that will take you through its eerie past as you explore many haunted neighbourhoods filled with landmarks home to ghosts and grim tales.

Hampton Inn Prescott – Hampton Inn Prescott is minutes from Buckey Casino and historic Prescott town centre.

Popular attractions, including Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot National Monument are within driving distance of the Prescott Hampton Inn. This hotel has hundreds of excellent reviews. Find more details here to book.

OFFBEAT GHOST TOWNS IN ARIZONA

Vulture city.

Vulture City, located northwest of Phoenix, on the site of the old Vulture Mine, is one of the best ghost towns in Arizona.

It should be on your bucket list because it is the largest gold mine discovered in Arizona ever.

Established in 1863, Vulture City was once a thriving gold mining town for over 80 years, and over 5,000 people settled here, inspiring the founding of nearby Wickenburg.

While Wickenburg is still a large town today, Vulture City quickly dwindled once the mine was shut down during World War II in 1942.

Many of the town’s buildings were eventually restored and preserved.

Although most of the town is now privately owned, you can still explore the remnants of the once-booming town through self-guided tours. 

best ghost towns in Arizona

Stroll through rustic streets lined with saloons, gas stations, brothels, homes, hotels, offices, storehouses, 

I recommend signing up for guided tours on the weekends to explore the 300-year-old ironwood tree, located near Henry Wickenburg’s cabin, where 18 men were sentenced to hang to death. 

The cabin and many areas in the town are rumoured to be haunted.

So do not be alarmed if you feel spooky when you are here.

If you want a fuller experience, take the two-hour guided walking tour of the mine.

My Place Suites – Offering a year-round outdoor pool, My Place Suites is located in Wickenburg. Free WiFi access is available.

Wickenburg Municipal Airport is 10 minutes’ drive from the property and 15 minutes from Vulture City. Check out more here.

One of the offbeat ghost towns in Arizona is located atop the Bradshaw Mountains.

Crown King is one of the ghost towns in Arizona only accessible through a rough dirt road, which makes it a thrilling stopover for families.

Unlike the other Arizona mining towns, the gold mining in Crown King began very late in the 1890s, but during its peak period, the Crown King mine produced over $2 million worth of gold.

On this drive to Crown King, you will be treated to spectacular views of the mountains and rich wildlife.

haunted towns in Arizona

Once the gold ran out around the 1950s, the population in the town dwindled to almost zero, and later on, became of the summer getaways for tourists thanks to its excellent temperatures.

Today, only about a hundred people live here full-time, and you can explore its historic streets lined with well-maintained buildings, offices, and shops.

Among the top landmarks is the Crown King Saloon on Main Street constructed in the 1890s.

After checking out the galleries containing rare collections of the mining past, savour the best food and beer here

Stop at the General Store and the red-brick schoolhouse. There are some newly added trails if you want to hike, go mountain biking or horseback riding. 

If you are visiting Tombstone , add a stop to visit Gleeson, only 16 miles west of Tombstone in Cochise County, and one of the offbeat ghost towns in Arizona.

Unlike other Arizona ghost towns known for being the treasure troves of gold, silver, and copper, Gleeson was a rich mining area with turquoise. 

The town was even initially called Turquoise but was changed to Gleeson in 1894.

ghost towns of Arizona

Later on, prospectors also found large amounts of copper, lead, and zinc, resulting in the production of copper products, which led to the growth of Gleeson during WWI.

Gleeson was also a temporary containment area for prisoners that were imprisoned in Gleeson Jail, on their way to Tombstone, which is now a museum.

After World War I, however, the demand for copper began to fall, resulting in the closure of mines and the abandonment of the town. 

Today, you can still see some of the preserved and renovated structures, including an old general store, hospital, school, saloon, and cemetery.

Silver Spur Homestead – Silver Spur Homestead is located in Tombstone and offers a terrace, barbecue facilities and a shared lounge.

Fairbank, named for Nathaniel Fairbank of Chicago , who financed the railroad, was once a bustling railroad town and the closest train depot to Tucson and Tombstone and the nearest stagecoach station to Bisbee.

Fairbank served as a depot and post office in the late 19th century, thriving as these mining towns flourished during that time. 

However, after Tombstone and Bisbee became more of a ghost town, Fairbank also dwindled into one.

The town, located in the San Pedro National Riparian Conservation Area, is now on Bureau of Land Management land, and you can explore the ruins on a guided tour.

Arizona mining towns

See the remains of a general store, saloons, butcher shop, post office, quartz mill, stable, railroad bridges and platforms, and a Wells Fargo office. 

Visit the small schoolhouse that has been turned into a museum by the BLM to learn more about the town and the area surrounding it.

AGUA CALIENTE

Agua Caliente, located north of the Gila River near the town of Hyder, which translates to hot water in Spanish, is a unique ghost town of Arizona in many ways.

Unlike other mining towns, Agua Caliente was one of the famous tourist spots of the mid-19th century, known for its natural hot springs preserved and used by Native Americans. 

By 1897, a 22-room resort was built in Agua Caliente, with a swimming pool fed by the hot springs. Travelers and locals used the resort for its healing properties.

old mining towns in Arizona

After the water was used for farming, the hot springs eventually dried, reducing the town to an abandoned one. 

However, you can still see some of the past remains of the hotel, stone buildings, and the Agua Caliente Pioneer Cemetery.

Tip Top Mine and town, located amidst the hills to the northwest of Phoenix are one of the accident-formed towns due to the discovery of rich minerals by travellers and explorers.

Some prospectors unveiled large deposits of copper and silver leading to the birth of Tip Top Town, which was home to over a thousand people with the mines earning up to 1,000 ounces of silver per ton of ore.

Between 1876 and 1884, Tip Top was one of the three most active mining towns in Arizona with the other two being Tombstone and Wickenburg. 

Tip Top had six saloons, three stores, four restaurants, a school and the first brewery in Arizona during its peak years.

Arizona ghost towns

But Tip Top’s glory was short-lived as the tides turned at the end of a decade, crumbling the town to the grounds.

Tip Top is now one of the ghost towns in Arizona known for some well-maintained remains of the rich mining history.

You can see the ruins of a few mines, an old head frame, many tunnels, and small buildings, including the historic 1878 Burfind Hotel.

KENTUCKY CAMP

A historic district in Sonoita, Kentucky Camp attracted the prospectors in the late 1870s when they struck gold, resulting in the birth of the town with over five hundred miners settling here for gold extraction.

Since many migrants from the back east named gulches in the area after their respective homes, Kentucky Camp got its name.

goldfield ghost town az

Listed on the U.S. National Register Of Historic Places since 1995 and run by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), Kentucky Camp is worth stopping by although it was a short-lived mining town.

Explore the remains in the town on a short walk. Kentucky Camp is a popular place for mountain biking and hiking. You can also enjoy camping on the site with the proper permits.

Nothing, on US-93 between Wickenburg and Wikieup, as the name indicates, has zero population, and it is your typical abandoned town worth visiting for its eerie vibes while visiting Wickenburg.

Located about a hundred miles northwest of Phoenix, Nothing is one of the offbeat ghost towns in Arizona, which has a maximum population of about five.

It is also one of the youngest ghost towns in the state, the town of Nothing was only established in 1977 and has been uninhabited since 2005.

old western ghost towns in Arizona

Since there was never a boom in residents, there’s not much to see in this small town, except for an abandoned gas station, a convenience store, some dilapidated structures, and a couple of signs. 

One of the highlights while visiting Nothing is the beautiful desert AZ panoramas that you will pass through between Wickenburg and Kingman. 

Another hidden gem on the historic Route 66 is the Hackberry General Store, one of the offbeat ghost towns in Arizona to visit.

Hackberry began as a mining town in 1874 and was a thriving town for nearly 40 years and also a leading automobile-oriented town, and now, as a few residents residing amidst the well-maintained remains of this mining history.

It is worth taking a short walking tour to check out a collection of historic cars, garages, a general store, a music hall, a motel, and gas stations.

GHOST TOWNS IN ARIZONA MAP

where is ghost town in arizona

Chief Editor and CEO

Veronica Samuels is a travel content creator from San Francisco, but calls Arizona her home as she moved to the Grand Canyon state after a series of trips made her fall in love with Arizona inspiring her to move.

She created Wander In Arizona to share first-hand information about traveling to the many fantastic cities, trails, national parks, monuments and more as she continues to explore.

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10 Fascinating Arizona Ghost Towns To Have On The Bucket List

Arizona had many ghost towns before the arrival of settlers, and today, visitors can see prehistoric and Wild West-era ghost towns.

  • Vulture City, a ghost town in Maricopa County, Arizona, had a peak population of 5,000 people and is now open to the public as a privately owned ghost town.
  • Kinishba Ruins, located in the Fort Apache Indian Reservation, was once a 600-room Mogollon great house with a peak population of 1,000 to 1,500 people, and is now a significant archaeological site.
  • Ruby, a mining town in Santa Cruz County, Arizona, reached its peak population of 1,200 people in 1941 before being abandoned. It offers a glimpse into the Wild West and the infamous Ruby Murders.

Arizona is home to many ghost towns - including some of the most stunning ghost towns in the United States. Arizona boasts some of the most picturesque landscapes of the Southwest from Monument Valley in the Navajo Nation to the Saguaro National Park with its iconic saguaro cacti .

Not all of the ghost towns of Arizona date from the settler period; there are many Ancestral Pueblo ghost settlements and even early Spanish missions to see too. Here are ten of the best Arizona ghost towns to visit.

10 Unreal Ghost Cities Around The World That Have Us Completely Spooked

10 vulture city.

Vulture City is one of the best ghost towns in Arizona and was a town founded after the discovery of gold there in 1863. The mining town had a peak population of 5,000 residents and its violence made it an unsavory icon of the Wild West (18 men were hung there on an ironwood tree).

Vulture City is open to the public today as a privately owned ghost town.

  • Location: Maricopa County
  • Peak Population: 5,000 people

Discover The Massive Buildings Of The Ancestral Pueblo At The Chaco Culture National Historical Park

9 kinishba ruins.

The Kinisha Ruins are the ruins of an ancient 600-room Mogollon great house in the present-day Fort Apache Indian Reservation.

The peak of the Great House was likely in the 13th and 14th centuries, and it likely had a peak population of 1,000 to 1,500 people. Today, it is one of the great archeological sites in Arizona.

  • Location: Fort Apache Indian Reservation
  • Peak Population: 1,000 to 1,500 people

Ruby is another of the boom mining towns in Arizona that went bust. Its story started in 1877 as gold and other valuable resources were discovered there, but by 1941, it was abandoned.

It is a great place to discover the Wild West and learn about the three double homicides there called the Ruby Murders.

  • Location: Santa Cruz County
  • Peak Population: 1,200 people

Swansea was one of the latest and shortest of the abandoned towns in Arizona. It was settled around 1909 as a mining town to process and smelter copper ore.

But as its core industries declined so did the town and its inhabitants left the town during the 1920s and 1930s.

  • Location: La Paz County
  • Peak Population: Around 300 people

This Abandoned Arizona Ghost Town Is Even Creepier To Visit In Real Life

6 montezuma castle.

Montezuma Castle is one of the best-preserved cliff-dwellings of the Southwest (although not as famous as Mesa Verde in Colorado).

It was built by the Sinagua people between circa AD 1100 and 1425, and its main structure had some five stories and 20 rooms. It was inhabited for around 300 years.

  • Location: Montezuma Castle National Monument
  • Population: 20 to 50 people

5 Birgham City

Birgham City was first settled by Mormons in 1876 just north of the present city of Winslow. The settlement was short-lived, and it was abandoned by 1881 because of flash flooding and crop failure.

It (and the area) was the home of some 20 Mormon families and fifteen bachelors who had journeyed from Salt Lake City.

  • Location: Navajo County
  • Population: 191 people

4 Betatakin

Betaktakin or Ledge House is one of three well-preserved cliff-dwellings in the Navajo National Monument . They were built by the Ancestral Pueblo and would have had around 120 rooms when it was abandoned.

It was built in a massive alcove between around 1267 and 1286.

  • Location: Navajo National Monument
  • Peak Population: Around 125 people

Navajo National Monument Is Free & You Should See Its Ancient Preserved Cliff Dwellings

3 keet seel.

Keet Seel is the largest of the Ancestral Pueblo cliff dwellings in the Navajo National Monument. It is noted for being well-preserved and seems to have been constructed between around 1272 and 1286.

It is one of the best-preserved prehistoric ruins in the American Southwest - partly thanks to being extremely dry and being shielded by the overhanging cliff.

  • Peak Population: Around 150 people

2 Mission San Jose De Tumacacori

The Mission San Jose de Tumacacori is one of many abandoned Spanish-era missions across the Southwest. Missions like this one are a reminder that these lands were Spanish before they were American (plus California and Texas).

The abandoned Franciscan mission is still standing today and dates in its current form from 1828 (originally built in 1691).

  • Location: Near Logales

Another of the great ghost towns of Arizona is the old stagecoach stop, Antelope Station that grew into Stanton. A settlement boomed at the site overnight upon the discovery of gold there in 1863. The mining town was infamously dangerous and by 1905 the gold was fast depleting and the town was just about abandoned.

Today, visitors can still see a number of surviving buildings of the town that were and then weren't.

  • Location: Yavapai County
  • Population: 3,500 people

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  • Last Updated On
  • January 2, 2024

Explore This Creepy Ghost Town In Arizona For A Nightmarish Adventure

Lucas Reynolds

Buckle up for an adventure that’ll make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

Tucked away in the sunny state of Arizona is a place that’ll have you checking your rearview mirror more often than usual.

It’s Jerome, the town that’s so eerie, it’s been dubbed the creepiest ghost town in Arizona.

Jerome 1

But hey, don’t let that put you off.

There’s more to this place than meets the eye.

Nestled in the heart of the Verde Valley, Jerome boasts an honorary ghost town status nowadays.

With a population of roughly 470, it’s bustling compared to some of the real tumbleweed towns you’d imagine.

But don’t be fooled, there’s something about this hill-hugging town that makes you feel like you’ve accidentally stumbled onto the set of an old horror movie.

Jerome 2

Now, let me take you back in time for a moment.

Jerome sprung to life in the late 19th century, and boy, did it spring!

This was a town that lived and breathed copper mining.

At its peak, over 10,000 residents called Jerome home, and the local mines were churning out a whopping 33 million tons of ore.

Copper, gold, silver, lead, zinc – you name it, they mined it.

Jerome 3

The town was so profitable that the mine owners boasted that it was worth a cool billion dollars.

But hey, don’t be fooled into thinking Jerome was all about the ore!

Sure, it was a “billion-dollar” town, but let’s not forget about the human side of things.

The vibrant community was just as rich as the mines they worked in.

Imagine a bustling town full of miners and their families, all contributing to the exciting hum of life.

And the best part?

Jerome 4

Today, you can still feel that same welcoming spirit in the air, making Jerome a perfect destination for your next family adventure.

But as they say, what goes up, must come down.

The Great Depression hit, copper prices plummeted, and the once-thriving town began to crumble.

The mines, once teeming with workers, slowly began to shut down.

Buildings started to decay, victims of neglect and soil disturbances, probably from all that mining.

jerome 5

By 1953, Jerome was down to a mere 100 residents – a shadow of its former self.

Despite its past setbacks, Jerome refused to throw in the towel.

Instead, it dusted off the copper dust and reinvented itself.

Today, it’s a charming ghost town filled with artists, historians, and friendly spirits, of course.

Fast forward to today, and you’ll find parts of Jerome frozen in time, still wearing the scars of its past.

Related: Family Vacations in the Grand Canyon State

Related: Places to Visit in Arizona

Related: Arizona Weekend Getaways

Buildings stand abandoned and in disrepair, lending an eerie ambiance to the town, especially as dusk falls.

It’s this uncanny atmosphere that has led to whispers of hauntings and ghostly presences.

But don’t let the ghost stories spook you!

Jerome is also home to quirky shops, cozy cafés, and some of the friendliest locals you’ll ever meet.

You might even catch a ghost tour led by a spirited guide — they’re more fun than fright!

Jerome 6

The Connor Hotel, the Mile High Inn, and the old mines are all said to be hotspots for paranormal activity.

But the most haunted place, according to local lore, is the Jerome Grand Hotel.

This grand old building used to be the United Verde Hospital, which is enough to send shivers down anyone’s spine!

You thought your in-laws were spooky?

Wait until you get a load of this place!

The Jerome Grand Hotel, an old hospital turned hotel, is sure to make your spine tingle.

jerome 7

And hey, if the ghost stories don’t spook you, the antique elevator surely will!

But don’t worry, it’s all part of the fun.

The kids will love the ghost tales, and the grown-ups can enjoy the hotel’s top-notch dining.

If you’re aiming for a vacation that’s more Scooby-Doo than Stephen King, this is your spot!

There are countless stories of the spine-chilling encounters people have had here.

One reader, Robin, had quite the night at the Jerome Grand Hotel.

Jerome 8

She woke up to the sounds of fingernails scraping the door, heavy breathing, and what sounded like a gurney being wheeled down the hall.

And if that wasn’t enough, her radio kept changing stations all by itself!

She vowed never to return, but hey, one person’s nightmare is another’s adventure, right?

Well, folks, if you’re looking for an experience that’s a bit more ‘The Shining’ than ‘Sleeping Beauty’, the Jerome Grand Hotel might just be your dream vacation spot!

Just remember, if your radio starts playing swing music from the 1920s, it’s probably just the resident ghost requesting his favorite tune.

Jerome 9

And hey, who knows, maybe ghostly room service is top-notch!

But seriously, it’s a place full of history and charm, and a perfect choice for families who enjoy a dash of mystery with their holiday.

So, if you’re up for a bit of a thrill and fancy a trip down memory lane, why not visit Jerome?

Who knows, you might just have a ghostly tale or two to share when you get back!

If you’re keen on digging deeper about this town, don’t hesitate to visit their official website .

Or why not have a look at this map , it’ll show you exactly where this charming little town is nestled.

Jerome 10 Map

What do you think, folks?

Is Jerome still a ghost town in your book?

Or is it just a charming town with a rich history and a few spooky stories to its name?

And, hey, we’d love to hear about any ghostly encounters you might have had in Jerome!

So, who’s up for a spooky adventure in Arizona’s creepiest ghost town?

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  • AZ | apache death cave
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Welcome to Ghost Towns of Arizona and Surrounding States A ghost town is a completely abandoned or semi-abandoned town or city. A ghost town occurs because the economic activity that supported the town or city has failed due to natural or human-caused disasters such as a flood, government action, uncontrolled lawlessness, or war. The term is sometimes used in a deprecated sense to include cities, towns, and neighborhoods which, while still populated, are significantly less so than in years past. Some ghost towns may have become overgrown, difficult to access, dangerous, and/or illegal to visit.

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A List of Ghost Towns & Tours Southern Arizona

Gleeson Saloon

Feel free to send us a note and tell us about a Ghost Town in your area. Read our stories below about some of the ghost towns we have found. Click on a hotspot in the map below or scroll down and browse a list. Explore on your own or take a tour. It has been reported that some ghost towns are currently restricted due to vandalism.

Fairbank has an on-site docent most days when the Schoolhouse is open. The Friends of San Pedro River occasionally give tours of Charleston and Millville, as well as the old Clanton Ranch, Contention and the Charleston Cemetery, (hard to find). We have included Tombstone, Jerome, and Pearce even though some of them have made a successful comeback. Fun towns to visit and explore for the history.

We are definitely fans of the cemeteries in ghost towns and any city with a significant history to offer. You can see our post on interesting cemeteries here. Far from being macabre, they tend to speak to us and tell us a story.

Click on a spot below to bring up an excerpt of our story of the ghost town.

Ghost Towns and Tales of Southern Arizona

A visit to the cochise hotel, cochise az, sally reichardt’s jerome anniversary adventure, fall vacation: jerome & the grand hotel, kentucky camp az: a ghost town with accommodations, arizona ghost towns: a book review, route 66 & the burros of oatman, az, ghost town of klondyke az & the power family saga, wickenburg & vulture city: a visit, ghost towns & cemeteries in southern arizona, one hundred sixty acres of dirt: a book review.

  • Butterfield Overland Mail Company and the Dragoon Springs Stage Station
  • Road Trip to Pearce Arizona Wine Country
  • El Paso & Southwestern: Baja Arizona’s Forgotten Railroad: Part I
  • Ghost Town Trail: Pearce To Courtland To Gleeson!
  • Castle Dome City: A Mini-Road Trip From Yuma, AZ
  • A Day In Santa Cruz County
  • Fray Marcos Monument in Lochiel, a Ghost Town
  • Beyond Tucson: Things to do In Southeast Arizona
  • Tour Pearce AZ: A (Sometimes Lively) Ghost Town!
  • A Hike to Charleston Cemetery with the FSPR
  • Lochiel, Arizona. What? Where? Huh?
  • Mescal AZ: A Pictorial
  • Fort Bowie, Arizona Territory: 1862 – 1894. A Pictorial
  • Ruby Arizona: Our Best Ghost Town
  • Tombstone: The Town Too Tough To Die Almost Did
  • Mesilla New Mexico & Its Historical Connection to Tucson Arizona
  • Steins: A Ghost Town With Stories To Tell
  • The Ghost Town Tour You Should Not Have Missed!
  • Guided Tours of Tucson and Southern Arizona
  • A Hike to the Ghost Town of Charleston Arizona Territory
  • You Are Invited: Bisbee Overnight Tour
  • Fairbank AZ: Ghost Town
  • Southern Arizona Ghost Town Tour: A Slideshow!
  • Ghost Town Trail: A Day Trip From Tucson!
  • Fairbank: A Ghost Town Slideshow
  • Big Nose Kate’s Saloon To Overland Trout: A Pleasant Sunday Drive!
  • SASCO the Forgotten Ghost Town
  • Guided Hike to Charleston Ruins
  • Ghost Town Slideshow – Gleeson, Pearce, Courtland, Cochise, AZ
  • Gleeson Ghost Town & Rattlesnake Oddities
  • In The Middle of Nowhere: Rattlesnake Crafts & Rocks!
  • The Village of Arivaca, The Ghost Town Of Ruby, & Sweet Peas Cafe’!

Ghost Tours of Southern Arizona

  • Halloween Howl: Descent Into A Frightening Underworld!
  • Ghosts and Ghost Tours of Bisbee
  • Thar Be Ghosts In Downtown Tucson!
  • Lil Abner’s Steakhouse – Marana

Please Browse Our Content Below:

where is ghost town in arizona

It was a Sunday in mid-September when Ms. Karen and I left our home in the Tucson Mountains to travel to the Cochise Hotel to visit with the proprietor, Phil Gessert. We arrived at noon and Phil was sitting on the front porch waiting for us. The Cochise Hotel is … Continue reading

Jerome Hotel front

(Ms. Karen and I sometimes invite knowledgeable others to post on our website. Friend Sally Reichardt lives in the beautiful rolling hills of Sonoita and when she and her husband, Bryce, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary recently, they did so in Jerome. The following is her account of that memorable … Continue reading

where is ghost town in arizona

Following our train excursion on the Verde Canyon Railroad in Clarkdale, Arizona (featured in last week’s newsletter), we headed up the hill to the old mining town of Jerome. Ms. Karen’s brother Paul, and his wife, Linda, followed us in their car toting their electric bicycles on the rear. We, … Continue reading

Kentucky Camp Headquarters Building

More than a hundred years ago, Kentucky Camp was the headquarters for the Santa Rita Water & Mining Company, which was formed to extract placer deposits from the Greaterville Mining District in the foothills of the Santa Rita Mountains 9 miles NW of Sonoita.

where is ghost town in arizona

We obtained this book from Arizona Highways’ Online Shop. The book’s full title is; ‘Arizona Ghost Towns: 50 of the State’s Best Places to Get a Glimpse of the Old West” by author Noah Austin. Published in 2020, it is a treasure trove of information about the territory’s early mining … Continue reading

where is ghost town in arizona

A burro at our car window on Route 66 near Oatman.

We were in Wickenburg for the weekend in May 2021 with Neighbors Ron and Elaine. On Sunday morning we got up early to take the 2 and a half-hour drive up to Oatman, Az, one of the items on my bucket list. We connected to I-40 near Kingman and got off at old Route 66 and continued heading west. Soon, the road became switchbacks with signs indicating “Slow” and also “Burros in the Road Ahead”. For the uninitiated, “burro” is Spanish for “donkey”.

where is ghost town in arizona

Ms.Karen feeding an Oatman burro.

Sure enough, around a steep corner was a gang of burros waiting for a passing car to give them something to eat. Ms. Karen opened the passenger side window and a burro stuck his head inside the car. We didn’t have any burro food, so she patted his snout and we proceeded on our way.

where is ghost town in arizona

Oatman burro.

When we arrived in Oatman 10 very narrow, windy miles later, the street was crowded with people touring this old town, visiting open shops and feeding the ubiquitous burros. The burros are holdovers from mining days when the mines were shut down and the miners let their beasts of burden loose into the surrounding desert. While they seem tame enough, they are still wild animals.

where is ghost town in arizona

Olive Oatman

The name Oatman was chosen in honor of Olive Oatman, a young Illinois girl who was captured and enslaved by Indians, probably from the Tolkepayas tribe, during her pioneer family’s massacre going on their journey westward in 1851. She was later sold or traded to the Mojaves, who adopted her and tattooed her face in the custom of the tribe. She was released in 1856 at Fort Yuma to her brother, who had survived the massacre of the Oatman family.

In 1863, prospector Johnny Moss discovered gold in the Black Mountains and staked several claims, one named the Moss and another after Olive Oatman, whose story was well known. For the next half-century, mining waxed and waned in the remote district until new technology, reduced transportation costs, and new gold discoveries brought prosperity to Oatman in the early 20th century. The opening of the Tom Reed mine, followed by the discovery of a rich ore body in the nearby United Eastern Mining Company’s property in 1915, brought one of the desert’s last gold rushes. The boom of 1915–17 gave Oatman all the characters and characteristics of any gold rush boom town. For about a decade, the mines of Oatman were among the largest gold producers in the American West.

where is ghost town in arizona

Elaine petting burro.

The district had produced US$40,000,000 (equivalent to $703,801,000 in 2020) in gold by 1941, when the remainder of the town’s gold mining operations were ordered shut down by the government as part of the country’s war effort, because other metals were needed.

where is ghost town in arizona

Ms. Karen and Ron at the Oatman jail.

In 1921, a fire burned down many of Oatman’s smaller buildings, but spared the Oatman Hotel built in 1902. It remains the oldest two-story adobe structure in Mohave County and is a Mohave County historical landmark. One of the hotel’s major attractions is a room designated as the suite where Clark Gable and Carole Lombard supposedly spent their honeymoon after their 1939 wedding in Kingman AZ. The notion that the couple actually stayed here is in doubt.

where is ghost town in arizona

Oatman Hotel est. 1902.

The hotel isn’t open for overnight guests but it has a good restaurant and we took lunch there on their back patio. It was crowded but the food was good and so was the service.

where is ghost town in arizona

Oatman Saloon.

Oatman was fortunate to be located on busy Route 66 as it catered to travelers driving between Kingman, Arizona, and Needles, California. Yet even that advantage was short-lived because the town was completely bypassed in 1953 when Route 66 was realigned between Kingman and Needles. By the 1960s, Oatman was all but abandoned after the completion of I-40. Today, however, at least on the weekends, Oatman is a busy place. If you go, watch out for burros on the road.

Klondyke Arizona: Restored Cabin of Jeff Power.

Klondyke is a near-ghost town in western Graham County. In the second decade of the 21st century, the only roads out there are still unpaved. The Klondyke cemetery is just southeast of town. There you will find the graves of the Thomas Jefferson “Jeff” Power and his family. Few know the sad story of these […]

where is ghost town in arizona

Neighbors Elaine and Ron went with Ms. Karen and me to Wickenburg one weekend in late May 2021. To avoid Phoenix traffic we drove from Tucson through Gila Bend then north on Hwy 85 to Hwy 60. Before reaching Wickenburg, we came to Vulture City, the site of an old … Continue reading

Monument Atop Poston Butte Near Florence, AZ.

Updated 2021-05-12. We love to wander around old cemeteries, a good excuse for a road trip. Cemeteries give us a sense of history, a sense of place. Many memories are hidden there, many stories to be told. Isn’t the cliche, “If only the dead could talk?” Sometimes, they do. Old cemeteries … Continue reading

where is ghost town in arizona

Several months ago, Marsha Arzberger asked me to take a look at her soon-to-be-published book, One Hundred Sixty Acres of Dirt, and comment upon it. I did so, and what I wrote has been published in that book. Back then, I wrote: One Hundred Sixty Acres of Dirt is the … Continue reading

TheTravel

10 Must-Visit Historical Ghost Towns Of The American West

  • The historic ghost towns in the American West, such as Grafton and Garnet, offer eerie tourist attractions with a spooky history.
  • These American West ghost towns were once thriving settlements, but economic decline led to their abandonment.
  • Visitors can explore well-preserved buildings and learn about the past of each of these historic ghost towns in the US through self-guided or guided tours.

In bustling towns, laughter fills the air, and the streets teem with life as people go about their daily routines. On the other hand, ghost towns paint a different picture, where deserted streets, abandoned structures, and eerie silence prove that not everything that once thrived has a happy ending. Still, the idea of touring one is oddly satisfying, especially when it has a spooky history tied to it.

The deserted towns of the American West, including the ghost towns in Arizona , make eerie tourist attractions. The history of these old American ghost towns followed a similar path, where they experienced impeccable growth before their source of income, whether mining or farming, declined and the settlements dissipated. Whatever their story, these are some of the many must-visit historic ghost towns of the American West for that paranormal thrill.

Related: 10 Incredible Ghost Towns In Canada To Explore Today

Grafton, Utah

When it was completely abandoned: 1944.

History and breathtaking natural beauty define the once-bustling town of Grafton . Located in Utah near the renowned Zion National Park , Grafton dates back to 1859 when several families cooperated to do agriculture and build homes. Unfortunately, the community suffered raging floods and relocated from their original settlement to the current townsite between 1862 and 1866.

Although the last known resident moved away from the town in 1944, travelers still explore the ghost town of Grafton, which is also the most photographed ghost town of the West . Here, visitors can discover a cemetery and well-preserved buildings, including a schoolhouse constructed in 1886, the 1888 Adobe Russell Home, and the 1907 Ballard Home, among others.

  • Date Founded: 1859
  • Admission Fee: Free
  • Open: Year-round

Garnet, Montana

When it was completely abandoned: early 1940s.

Garnet was once home to about 1,000 people when the gold mining business was booming. This charming town had profitable years in the 1890s as the Nancy Hank Mine worked on and off until the Montana School of Mines declared it dead by 1960. An enormous fire burned nearly half of Garnet and drove it into disrepair until restoration works began in the 1970s. By this time, there was no one to call it home, as miners had to seek employment elsewhere.

Currently, this ghost town boasts over 30 well-preserved buildings, which visitors wander into as they enjoy the Old West Town vibe. While here, travelers can start exploring at the Visitor Center to check out memorabilia before proceeding to the self-guided trails with interpretive signs.

  • Date Founded: 1860s
  • Admission Fee: $3 for adults; Free for visitors under 16 years
  • Visitor Center opening hours: Daily from late May through September from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The route leading to Garnet, just after Bear Gulch Road, is steep, narrow, and bumpy, so it's not suitable for RVs and trailers.

Kennecott, Alaska

When it was completely abandoned: 1938.

Kennecott ghost town still fascinates people with its history . It became a thriving mining town when the Kennecott Mining Corporation came to life in 1903 and established five copper mines. The corporation drew miners with higher salaries and produced about $200 million worth of ore before depleting.

By 1938, Kennecott’s mining successes were history as it became a ghost town, leaving iconic buildings such as the Concentration Mill as a testament to its financial and mining prowess. Tourists tour the ghost town on self-guided tours by following the National Park Service Map or taking an immersive guided tour with St. Elias Guides .

  • Date Founded: 1903
  • Admission Fee: St. Elias Alpine Guides charge Adults (13+) $34 and Children(12-) $17 to access the 14-story Concentration Mill

St. Elias Alpine Guides offers tours from late May to early September

Related: Living History: Inside The Ghost Towns That Are Still Considered 'Home' Today

Rhyolite, Nevada

When it was completely abandoned: 1924.

Rhyolite is a historic ghost town in Nevada with hauntings and legends to explore . It traces its roots back to 1904 when prospectors Shorty Harris and E. L. Cross discovered quartz. The establishment of the Montgomery Shoshone Mine brought more people to the town, who built hotels, a school, stores, two electric plants, and a hospital.

Unfortunately, financial panic brought Rhyolite to its knees as mines ceased operating, banks failed, and mill production slowed, leading to a decrease in population. While walking around town, travelers find remnants of Rhyolite's past, such as the Bottle House, the train depot, and parts of the old jail and bank.

  • Date Founded: 1904
  • Open: Year-round from sunrise to sunset

Melmont, Washington

When it was completely abandoned: in the early 1920s.

Melmont is another American West ghost town in Pierce County, Washington, founded in the early 1900s when the Northwest Improvement Company set up a coal mine in the area. Although little of Melmont’s bustling days remain today, it had a train depot, a saloon, miners’ cottages, a hotel, and a post office.

Melmont gained ghost town status when the mines ceased operating in the early 1920s, and a forest fire raged over what remained. However, an easy hike through the townsite exposes travelers to an old shed used to store dynamite, the foundation of a schoolhouse, and wall structures.

  • Date Founded: 1900

Golden, Oregon

When it was completely abandoned: 1920s.

Golden is one of the many must-visit American West ghost towns; it was abandoned in the 1920s and is known for its fascinating history of building churches instead of saloons like other mining towns. This town dates back to the early 80s when small placer mines found small amounts of gold. However, the Americans who founded the camp pursued greener pastures, and Chinese miners took over, but the founders drove them out years later.

By the 1890s, Golden was a true mining town as hydraulic operations stripped gold off the streams. Today, ghost town enthusiasts stroll around Golden to explore the restored structures, including a former home, a church, a building that housed a store and a post office, and a shed.

  • Date Founded: In the 1890s

Bonanza, Idaho

When it was completely abandoned: around 1910.

Bonanza was the first community settlement in the Yankee Fork area in 1877. By 1881, the population had grown to approximately 600, and the town had a tin shop and a saloon where miners came to celebrate and socialize. However, a fire burned much of Bonanza in 1889, resulting in most residents moving to the nearby town of Custer.

Mining idleness also contributed to its abandonment, but the construction of a gold dredge in 1939 brought new life before collapsing again. The dredge is open seasonally for tours, and a few remaining buildings await history buffs to discover during a walking tour.

  • Date Founded: 1877
  • Open: Summer, Spring, & Fall

Related: Shaniko: Visiting What Is Possibly Oregon's Coolest Ghost Town

Miner's Delight, Wyoming

Miner's Delight is one of Wyoming's earliest towns, founded when miners discovered gold in the area in around 1867. The town offers insight into the state's early history, gold mining culture, and resilience after producing more than $5 million worth of gold ore despite facing closures and the Great Depression.

The townsite preserves several cabins, including one with rusting iron equipment such as an old stove and iron box screens. Travelers access Miner's Delight via a 0.25-mile-long walking trail near Fort Stambaugh Road.

  • Date Founded: 1867

Calico, California

When it was completely abandoned: 1907.

Calico is an old mining town in San Bernardino County, California, established in 1881 due to the discovery of silver ore. However, silver lost value and pushed miners to desert Calico in the 1890s. Subsequently, Calico lost its luster, but Walter Knott bought it in the 1950s and restored the buildings to their former glory.

Today, this town is part of the San Bernardino County Regional Parks, and tourists come here to explore its intriguing history at the Lucy Lane Museum, which displays Calico's relics and old photographs. The Maggie Mine also allows travelers to explore Calico's mining history through its exhibits and displays. Aside from such exhibits, Calico is full of spooks that make it famous .

  • Date Founded: 1881
  • Admission Fee: Adults 12 & over - $10; Youth ages 4 to 11 - $5; Ages 3 and under - Free admission
  • Open: Daily 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Note: Each attraction within Calico charges a different fee

Goldfield, Arizona

When it was completely abandoned: 1898.

During its heyday in the 1890s, Goldfield had three lively saloons, a schoolhouse, a brewery, a general store, and thriving mines. Unfortunately, the grade of ore dropped, and the once bustling community became what is today one of the many Western ghost towns to visit, despite efforts to revive the mines.

Today, this ghost town is a hub for travelers seeking an authentic Wild West adventure as they can witness gunfights performed by the Goldfield Gunfighters from high noon. Additionally, tourists can explore the town's mining history during the Goldfield Mine Tours, led by guides narrating Goldfield's heritage, gold mining procedures, and equipment.

  • Date Founded: 1892
  • Open: Year-round except on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Each attraction charges a different fee in this town.

10 Must-Visit Historical Ghost Towns Of The American West

  • Main content

I've called Phoenix home for 10 years — here are 8 places I recommend to visitors, from my favorite hiking trail to a Wild West ghost town

  • Phoenix is known for its nature, and local-favorite to-dos often involve hiking or being outside.
  • Here's what to do on your trip, from visiting a ghost town to exploring a desert museum. 
  • Visit Insider's hub for travel guides, tips, and recommendations .

Insider Today

I moved to Phoenix more than a decade ago, and I still can't get enough of the city's wealth of outdoor activities. Many of my favorite things to do are centered around exploring the Sonoran desert, which spans 100,000 square miles from Phoenix to Northern Mexico, and is home to hundreds of species of native wildlife.

Besides the foothills and dozens of hiking trails, I've also discovered ghost towns, architectural landmarks, and unique natural museums, all within easy driving distance of downtown.

I love playing tour guide for friends and family, and often take them to places around the valley that I visit regularly on my own. Here's my list of 8 can't-miss places to see and things to do in and around Phoenix, from my favorite place to catch a desert sunset to an open-air museum that was the home of Frank Lloyd Wright.

Learn about Sonoran desert plants at the Desert Botanical Garden.

where is ghost town in arizona

The Desert Botanical Garden is one of my favorite places in the entire state. I like coming here to see interesting plants and enjoy the feeling of being immersed in the desert. It's a 140-acre property with hundreds of native plants, cacti, and butterfly gardens. 

It's laid out beautifully, in my opinion, with paved pathways and trails that are easy to navigate. Some of my favorites to wander are the Sonoran Desert Nature Loop Trail, which has great views of the mountains, and the Wildflower Loop Trail, where I often see bees around the native wildflowers.

There are daily tours included in the cost of admission, which I think is a great option for first-time visitors who want to learn about desert wildlife from an expert guide. I also like visiting the garden for its special events, which include sunset dinners, plant sales, and rotating art exhibits. These vary seasonally, so I recommend checking the calendar ahead of your visit to see what's planned.

Buy a famous bronze windbell at Cosanti Originals.

where is ghost town in arizona

Located in Paradise Valley just north of Phoenix, Cosanti Origi nals is an open-air art gallery built by architect Paolo Soleri, who studied under Frank Lloyd Wright. 

In the 1950s, Soleri built the eco-architectural structures on his property from concrete and soil, mostly by hand. He also created the Cosanti bell , a hand-poured bronze wind bell.

The buildings on the property always have me in awe, and I enjoy listening to the sounds of numerous Cosanti bells chiming in the wind. I recommend taking one of the daily guided tours to learn more about the history of Cosanti. The bells are also available for purchase, which I think makes for a nice keepsake.

Climb to a scenic rock formation in Papago Park.

where is ghost town in arizona

One of the first places I visited in Phoenix after moving here was Papago Park , and that visit played a big role in how quickly I fell in love with the city.

This free park is family-friendly and has a handful of easy, flat hiking options through the desert. There are also trails along some creeks. I love coming here for a hike with friends, and am always in awe of the desert's unique, rust-colored rock formations.

My favorite part of Papago Park is the Hole in the Rock, which is a hiking destination that's exactly what it sounds like. It's a quick and easy five-minute hike up to the hole, and I recommend going at sunrise or sunset for incredible views.

Explore the grounds of Taliesin West, the former homestead of architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

where is ghost town in arizona

Taliesin West is the former western homestead of architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Situated in north Scottsdale, overlooking the McDowell Mountains, the property was built in 1937 and is now a preserved, walkable museum.

Dubbed Wright's "desert laboratory," Taliesin West is a UNESCO World Heritage site as well as a National Historic Landmark .

There are eight large buildings on the property, the majority of which you can check out in person on a guided tour. Coming here puts me in an exploratory mood, and I think all of the architecture is intriguing. The museum also hosts temporary programs and rotating exhibitions about Wright's life and art style, as well as events like community shows, movie viewings, and sunset happy hours.

The carefully curated gift shop is also not to be missed, in my opinion, for a Phoenix Souvenir. It sells local artwork, Frank Lloyd Wright prints and products, and coffee table books. I recommend reserving a tour at least a week in advance, because in my experience by the day of, it's often sold out.

Visit Goldfield Ghost Town for a taste of Arizona's Old West.

where is ghost town in arizona

One of my favorite places to take friends and family visiting Phoenix is Goldfield Ghost Town . 

In the Old West era, it was a thriving town and home to miners from the nearby Mammoth Gold Mine. It's located near the Superstition Mountains in Apache Junction, and about a 45-minute drive from Phoenix proper.

Now, it's a tourist attraction with cowboy shootout reenactments, saloons, and old-timey photo booths. I think it's fun to walk around the main street, tour the former Old West brothel, and spend some time in the shops, which sell everything from homemade soaps to salsas.

I also recommend dropping by the nearby Elvis Chapel on your way in or out, which was used in the old Elvis Presley western, "Charro!," and is a fun photo opportunity, in my opinion.

See Indigenous art at the Heard Museum.

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The Heard Museum , founded in 1929, is dedicated entirely to showcasing and advancing Indigenous and Native art from across the country. I think this museum does an exceptional job of displaying both traditional art and contemporary art from living artists.

I also find the museum interesting since it showcases art of all mediums — historical artifacts, sculptures, textiles, and more. Many exhibits include plaques with first-person stories or historical information that allows visitors to better understand Indigenous art.

Along with permanent galleries, the museum also has rotating temporary exhibits, and events like music concerts and open-air markets.

Hike and see the valley from the top of Camelback Mountain.

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When I first moved to Phoenix, I fell in love with the region's natural beauty. Even today, I still feel lucky to see miles of foothills, cacti, and sunsets just by looking outside my window.

One of my favorite ways to get these views, plus a good workout, is to hike Camelback Mountain . It's a peak in the center of the valley near Scottsdale at 2,700 feet tall, which means there's a view of the city and sweeping desert below.

I find the hike to be strenuous, since it has a steep incline most of the way up. It's 2.4 miles long , and I recommend allowing two to three hours or longer, depending on how often you stop to take in the views or catch your breath. It's also best done between October and May since it's very hot to hike it in the summer. Regardless of which season you go, I'd advise wearing comfortable shoes and carrying sun protection and water.

Test your musical knowledge at the Musical Instrument Museum.

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I have fun visiting the Musical Instrument Museum both with out-of-towners and by myself.

It's in north Phoenix just beyond Paradise Valley, and exhibits a wide range of historic and modern musical instruments. The museum's website says it has about 8,000 instruments on display.

My two favorite exhibits are the piano room, where you can see a deconstructed Steinway, and the experience gallery, where you can play obscure instruments like the theremin and communal drums. I also recommend checking out the events and concerts schedule to see upcoming live music performances.

where is ghost town in arizona

IMAGES

  1. The 10 Best Ghost Towns in Arizona to Visit

    where is ghost town in arizona

  2. Goldfield Ghost Town: Top Things to Do in AZ's Old West

    where is ghost town in arizona

  3. 10+ Must Visit Attractions at Goldfield Ghost Town in Arizona

    where is ghost town in arizona

  4. The 10 Best Ghost Towns in Arizona to Visit

    where is ghost town in arizona

  5. 10 Ghost Towns in Arizona Worth Visiting

    where is ghost town in arizona

  6. This Arizona Ghost Town Is Just 45 Minutes Away From Phoenix

    where is ghost town in arizona

VIDEO

  1. Funny historic show in Goldfield, Arizona 🇺🇸 😱 #shorts

  2. Ghost Town

  3. Jerome Ghost Town, Arizona: A Brief Look

  4. Mining Town Living

  5. Exploring Abandoned Mine Sites Near The Ghost Town Ruby, Arizona

  6. Journey Into the Unknown: Goldfield, Arizona’s Haunting Ghost Town

COMMENTS

  1. 5 Secret Ghost Towns in Arizona

    Best Arizona ghost town along Route 66: Hackberry. Where to find it: 28 miles northeast of Kingman in northern Arizona. Today, Hackberry is an iconic Route 66 stop for many travelers, but the town originated in 1874 as a silver mining destination.

  2. THE 10 BEST Arizona Ghost Towns (Updated 2024)

    Ghost Towns in Arizona Enter dates Attractions Filters • 2 Sort All things to do Category types Attractions Tours Day Trips Outdoor Activities Concerts & Shows Food & Drink Events Classes & Workshops Shopping Transportation Traveler Resources Types of Attractions Sights & Landmarks Classes & Workshops Museums Fun & Games Sights & Landmarks

  3. 27 Ghost Towns In Arizona [MAP]

    Adamsville 2. Agua Caliente 3. Alto 4. Bellevue 5. Bonita 6. Cedar 7. Cerbat 8. Cerro 9. Harshaw 10. Hilltop 11.

  4. List of ghost towns in Arizona

    This is a partial list of ghost towns in Arizona in the United States. Most ghost towns in Arizona are former mining boomtowns that were abandoned when the mines closed. Those not set up as mining camps often became mills or supply points supporting nearby mining operations.

  5. Ghost Towns of Arizona

    Arizona's ghost towns are concentrated in the Northwest central and Southeast portions of the state. The most famous of the Arizona ghost towns are the semi-ghost tourist locations like Jerome and Tombstone. Arizona also has many very desolate ghost town sites where there is little left.

  6. 12 Ghost Towns in Arizona

    Swansea Ghost Town. One of the best-preserved ghost towns in Arizona speaks to the difficulties of establishing mining towns in the 19th century American West. Oatman, Arizona.

  7. Arizona ghost town road trip: 5 places to explore

    Hiking trails lead through the woodlands along the river and past a spooky cemetery, always a plus for a ghost town. The site is free and open for self-guided tours. Details: Fairbank is 10 miles ...

  8. Arizona's Ghost Town Getaways

    5 Secret Ghost Towns in Arizona These abandoned towns offer a glimpse into the state's rich history—and make for the perfect spooky season day trip. Haunted Arizona Spooktacular Arizona Explore the strange, spooky and supernatural side of Arizona with dozens of haunted attractions. Must-See The Most Haunted Places in Arizona

  9. 12 Ghost Towns in Arizona with Wild & Woolly Histories

    Many abandoned towns are concentrated in key areas where precious minerals were once found in abundance: in Yavapai County, where more than 20 ghost towns lie within 25 miles of Prescott, and in southern Arizona, where towns like Tombstone, Bisbee and Ruby once thrived.

  10. 12 Abandoned Ghost Towns in Arizona You Can Explore

    Ghost towns in Arizona consist of abandoned buildings and homes that hide in plain sight within the dry deserts and plateau of the old Wild West. Most of these abandoned towns are former mining sites during the mining boom in the 19th century.

  11. 7 of the Coolest Ghost Towns in Arizona

    East & Southern US Europe Oceania Caribbean From abandoned mining towns, to tourist attractions, and even a Christmas-themed ghost town, here are 7 of the coolest ghost towns in Arizona!

  12. The 10 Best Ghost Towns in Arizona to Visit

    426 Arizona ghost towns tell the stories of the state's past. An estimated 100,000 mines hide among the towering cactus and dusty roads of Arizona. These mines produced rich minerals, causing small town populations to increase quickly, then fade away as mining operations wrapped up.

  13. 11 Creepy Ghost Towns In Arizona To Visit At Your Own Risk

    Fairbank, AZ 85616, USA mlhradio/Flickr The first true ghost town on our list, Americans settled Fairbank in 1881 and it never quite saw 500 people for its total population. The town was abandoned in the 1970s and later acquired by the Bureau of Land Management for conservation purposes. Advertisement 4. Gleeson Gleeson, AZ 85610, USA

  14. Goldfield Ghost Town

    Come and visit Goldfield Ghost Town today! Walk down Main Street, explore the many shops and historic buildings. Tour the historic Mammoth Gold Mine and visit the Goldfield Museum. Pan for gold then take a ride on Arizona's only narrow gauge train. You'll also get to witness an old west gun fight performed by the famous Goldfield Gunfighters!

  15. The Best Ghost Towns In Arizona Road Trip For A Creepy Experience

    dedhead1950/Flickr Found 16 miles southeast of Cochise is Pearce, another old mining ghost town that has become absorbed by the larger Sunsites. The town was founded shortly after gold was spotted in 1894 and the development of the nearby Commonwealth Mine.

  16. 10 Ghost Towns in Arizona Worth Visiting

    Vulture City Vulture City was one of the richest gold mines in the United States. It produced up to $200 million in gold until it was closed in the 1940's. It is one of the few well preserved ghost towns in Arizona, still retaining the founder's original cabin, which is right next to an old ironwood tree on which 18 men were hung.

  17. 20 Best Ghost Towns in Arizona You Should Visit

    One of the popular ghost towns in Arizona, Tombstone is a pretty town close to Bisbee in Cochise County. It shares a common past of the Wild West and origins, with Tombstone also being discovered in the 1880s. Tombstone, famously nicknamed the "town too tough to die," was one of the leading silver mines during the era.

  18. 10 Fascinating Arizona Ghost Towns To Have On The Bucket List

    Destinations 10 Fascinating Arizona Ghost Towns To Have On The Bucket List By Aaron Spray Published Oct 17, 2023 Arizona had many ghost towns before the arrival of settlers, and today, visitors can see prehistoric and Wild West-era ghost towns. Shutterstock Goldfield Gold Mine Ghost Town in Youngsberg, Arizona Summary

  19. Ghost Towns in Arizona: Tracing the Legacy of Gold Prospectors

    Explore the haunting allure of the ghost towns in Arizona in our immersive journey through forgotten relics of the past.

  20. Inside an Arizona Ghost Town That Was Once Home to Thousands of Miners

    The ghost town is part of the mining town of Haynes, Arizona. Today, visitors can explore an impressive collection of old buildings, antiques, and automobiles. NEW LOOK

  21. Explore This Creepy Ghost Town In Arizona For A Nightmarish Adventure

    Lucas Reynolds Buckle up for an adventure that'll make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Tucked away in the sunny state of Arizona is a place that'll have you checking your rearview mirror more often than usual. It's Jerome, the town that's so eerie, it's been dubbed the creepiest ghost town in Arizona.

  22. Ghost Towns of Arizona provides pictures, maps and information on ghost

    Ghost Towns of Arizona provides pictures, maps and information on ghost towns and locations most people don't know or tend to forget about. Home about us contact us sitemap Abandoned Places Arizona North West Arizona black canyon dog track congress gas station echeverria airfield christmas tree inn flagstaff farm house jack ass acres

  23. A List of Ghost Towns & Tours Southern Arizona

    Sally Reichardt's Jerome Anniversary Adventure. Fall Vacation: Jerome & the Grand Hotel. Kentucky Camp AZ: A Ghost Town With Accommodations! Arizona Ghost Towns: A Book Review. Route 66 & the Burros of Oatman, AZ. Ghost Town of Klondyke AZ & the Power Family Saga. Wickenburg & Vulture City: A Visit.

  24. 10 Must-Visit Historical Ghost Towns Of The American West

    Kennecott ghost town still fascinates people with its history. National Park Service Map St. Elias Guides. Date Founded: 1903. Admission Fee: St. Elias Alpine Guides charge Adults (13+) $34 and ...

  25. 8 Best Things to Do in Phoenix: Experiences, Museums, and More

    I've called Phoenix home for 10 years — here are 8 places I recommend to visitors, from my favorite hiking trail to a Wild West ghost town Wendy Rose Gould 2023-01-31T11:30:00Z

  26. Salt built this California ghost town. Now salt is destroying it.

    A California ghost town slowly vanishes into the very mineral it was built to mine. Saltdale in the Mojave Desert is not California's most picturesque ghost town. ...

  27. Page couldn't load • Instagram

    36 likes, 4 comments - the_adventures_of_woody_ on January 7, 2024: "Today my owner took me to Jerome, Arizona to see the old mining ghost town! I have always wanted ..." Hi, I'm Woody The PeterStone on Instagram: "Today my owner took me to Jerome, Arizona to see the old mining ghost town!