Ever since the early European settlers set foot in Arizona, there’s been mining. Gold, silver – if there was a valuable mineral to be had, people were digging for it in Arizona. In fact, the state has an estimated 100,000 abandoned mines. The boom and eventual bust of the gold and silver rushes of the 1800s left Arizona with over 200 abandoned towns, aka “ghost towns.” Towns that you can visit today. So take a trip into the past and check out these must-see ghost towns.
Located about 100 miles southeast of Las Vegas, Chloride owes its existence to the discovery of silver ore deposits. At the town's height, there were 75 active silver mines. Today, Chloride has the distinction of being home to Arizona's oldest continuously working post office and the state’s oldest cemetery. Don't feel sad for this old mining town. The Chloride Historical Society preserves the buildings so people like yourself can still visit this ghost town frozen in time.
Tombstone is easily the most famous ghost town in the state of Arizona. When you're not walking down dusty streets imagining shootouts at the O.K. Corral (there are daily reenactments), you may find yourself picking up souvenirs at the gift shop or a bite to eat at the historic Big Nose Kate's Saloon. While Tombstone is less of a ghost town and more of a tourist attraction, the Old West vibe you'll get the moment you mosey on into town is undeniable.
Referred to as “our best ghost town” by the Southern Arizona Guide, Ruby was founded in 1877 because of, you guessed it, mineral deposits. This time around, it was white gold. The town enjoyed a good amount of prosperity until the mine was shut down in 1940. By 1941, the town was abandoned. Don’t expect any gift shops or old saloons-turned-modern dining establishments, though. In Ruby, you won’t find gas stations, running water, or cell coverage. Just old buildings and well-maintained outhouses – so fill your tank and stock up on plenty of water and snacks.
For more fun articles about places to go and things to do, check out our other Vistara at SanTan Village blog posts.