Are you a history enthusiast, an adventure seeker, or a traveler looking for unique destinations in Arizona? Then, exploring the ghost towns of Arizona should be on your bucket list.
These abandoned towns, once bustling with life, now stand as silent witnesses to the state’s rich history.
In this guide, we will take you on a journey through some of the most intriguing ghost towns in Arizona, providing you with their history, attractions, and tips for visiting.
Chloride: A Living Ghost Town
History of Chloride
Chloride, a silver mining town, was founded in the 1860s. At its peak, it was home to over 2,000 people. Today, it is considered a living ghost town, with a small population that keeps its history alive.
Attractions in Chloride
Chloride offers a unique opportunity to step back in time. The Chloride Historical Society Museum houses artifacts and exhibits that tell the story of the town’s mining past. The town’s streets, lined with well-preserved buildings, add to its old-world charm.
Tips for Visiting Chloride
When visiting Chloride, wear comfortable walking shoes, bring a camera to capture the town’s unique beauty, and check the museum’s operating hours before your visit.
Cordes: A Town Frozen in Time
History of Cordes
Cordes was established in the late 1800s as a stagecoach stop. Over time, it grew into a thriving town. However, the construction of Interstate 17 led to its decline and eventual abandonment.
Attractions in Cordes
Today, Cordes is home to a few descendants of the original settlers. Their stories provide a unique perspective on the town’s history. The Cordes Station, a historic building that once served as a general store and post office, is a must-visit.
Tips for Visiting Cordes
When visiting Cordes, respect the privacy of the current residents, appreciate the scenic views, and bring water and snacks as amenities are limited.
Fairbank: A True Ghost Town
History of Fairbank
Fairbank was once a bustling settlement along the San Pedro River. It served as a transportation hub for nearby mining towns. However, the decline of mining activities led to its abandonment. Today, Fairbank is managed by the Bureau of Land Management.
Attractions in Fairbank
Visitors can explore the well-preserved ruins of the town’s buildings, including the schoolhouse and the cemetery. The Fairbank Historic Townsite provides interpretive signs that offer insights into the town’s history.
Tips for Visiting Fairbank
When visiting Fairbank, stay on designated trails, bring binoculars for birdwatching, and pack a picnic lunch to enjoy in the peaceful surroundings.
Exploring More Ghost Towns in Arizona
Arizona boasts numerous ghost towns, each with its own unique history and charm. Here are a few more ghost towns to consider visiting:
- Tombstone: Known as “The Town Too Tough to Die,” Tombstone was a legendary Wild West town and the site of the famous Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Explore historic saloons, witness gunfight reenactments, and visit the Bird Cage Theatre, where the spirits of the past are said to linger. Learn more about Tombstone here.
- Jerome: Perched in the Mingus Mountains, Jerome, the “Wickedest Town in the West,” was once a thriving copper mining town. Today, it’s an artistic community with a haunted history. Visit the Jerome State Historic Park and take a haunted history tour for chilling tales.
- Ruby: Ruby is a well-preserved mining town, abandoned in the early 1940s. The Ruby Ghost Town offers guided tours, including visits to the General Store, schoolhouse, and miners’ cabins. Learn more about Ruby here.
- Vulture City: Once a prosperous gold mining town, Vulture City is known for its haunted Vulture Mine. The town hosts regular paranormal investigations for those brave enough to explore its ghostly legacy. Learn more about Vulture City here.
- Goldfield: Goldfield, a former gold mining town, is now a popular tourist attraction. Explore the Goldfield Ghost Town and Mine Tour for a taste of the Old West, including a walk through the Mammoth Gold Mine. Don’t miss the scenic views of the Superstition Mountains. Learn more about Goldfield here.
- Oatman: Oatman is an iconic Route 66 ghost town famous for its wild burros roaming the streets. Witness daily gunfight reenactments, explore quirky shops, saloons, and old mining remnants, and immerse yourself in the nostalgia of the Mother Road. Learn more about Oatman here.
- Gleeson: Nestled in the Dragoon Mountains, Gleeson was a thriving copper mining town. The Gleeson School serves as a museum showcasing the town’s history, and you can take a step back in time to imagine the hustle and bustle of Gleeson’s heyday.
- Pearce: Pearce was a gold mining town in the late 19th century, and its remnants can still be explored today. Visit the Ghost Town Trail and experience the nostalgic charm of this nearly forgotten settlement. Pearce also boasts birdwatching opportunities in the nearby Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area.
- Congress: Congress was once a booming gold mining town and now serves as a gateway to the Bradshaw Mountains. Explore the local museum and surrounding wilderness for a deeper understanding of its historical significance.
What Have We Learned?
Arizona’s ghost towns offer a unique glimpse into the state’s past. Each town has its own story to tell, and exploring them is like stepping back in time. Whether you’re interested in history, looking for an adventure, or simply want to enjoy the scenic beauty of Arizona, these ghost towns are worth a visit.
Plan your own ghost town road trip in Arizona today! Share your photos and stories with us, and join our mailing list for more travel inspiration and tips.
Terrain Trends is your go-to source for information on all things destinations. Be sure to check out our list of other top destinations in Arizona for when you plan your journey.
Also, be sure to read our articles on the best day trips from Scottsdale, AZ, the best mountain towns, fun things to do in Phoenix with a teenager, and the top Phoenix family resorts for when you and your family make a trip out here.