There’s something so romantic about the idea of camping overnight in an old ghost town. Maybe it’s because sleeping under the stars seems kind of Wild West-ish, or maybe it’s because deep down inside, you know that seeing a ghost in a ghost town would be kind of awesome…either way, not all ghost towns stay open after dark, so here are some of the best ghost towns for staying the night!
Why do you make your way through crowded hotels and restaurants when you can walk through ghosttowns in America? Intriguing ruins and sometimes the place entirely for yourself, except for maybe a few spirits? The 19th century saw hundreds of cities emerge in the American West in places where there was something to be gained, many were carelessly left behind when the sources had dried up. Others stayed behind after natural disasters, such as floods and earthquakes, only to never be rebuilt. Ghosttowns in America are safe to visit. At least, if you do not mind meeting a few errant spirits?
Bannack State Park , Dillon, Montanna
Bannack was still a functioning town up until the 1970’s but the dwindling population and their hard-to-reach, remote location eventually proved too be the town’s downfall. At its peak, Bannack had about 10,000 citizens, three hotels, three blacksmith shops, and four saloons. It also briefly served as the capital of the Montana territory. It’s probably your best bet if you’re in search of ghost town ghosts as well: a scandal in the town found that the town’s sheriff had maybe been heading up a secret gang that could have murdered up to a hundred people throughout Montana– 22 people were hanged for being members of the gang, and even more were lynched or run out of town.
Stay : Bannack Campground
Come walk the deserted streets of Bannack and discover for yourself the realities of the “Old West.” Bannack is the best preserved of all Montana ghost towns.
The campground has 28 sites, including a rental tipi located along Grasshopper Creek, a hike-in/bike-in campsite, with 4 tent pads, and a group picnic site.
Terlingua is truly a most interesting ghost town but is somewhat remote. Its name refers to the Spanish tres lenguas or three languages. The assumption is after Spanish then Americans settled in the area, it first being an Indian village, the three languages were Indian, Spanish and American. Unknown to anybody in the area, a Howard E. Perry of Portland, Maine owned much of the land. When cinnabar was discovered, two locals found out who owned the land and wrote to Perry asking if he would sell the property. Perry became curious and through a local source discovered the reason for the inquiry. He immediately hired a manager and started mining operations and development of the town. He owned everything in sight. He literally owned the town and everything in it. Profits were modest at first. World War I created a demand for mercury and the town flourished. The end of the war was the beginning of the end for Terlingua. Terlingua actually has around 60 residents in this fascinating ghost town
Stay : Big Bend Hotel
The Holiday Hotel is conveniently located in the Terlingua Ghost Town — the most famous ghost town in Texas. The Holiday Hotel is no franchise resort. It’s perfect for raucous revelry or a romantic rendezvous, or both… (And it’s definitely the best hotel in the ghost town!)
You’ll find many things in the Ghost Town in the exact condition they’ve been in for centuries, and that’s great for exploring, but at the end of the day you’ll want air conditioning.
Historic Silver City, Murphy, Idaho
Certainly one of the better ghost towns having enough still standing to give visitors a good idea of how it was in its heyday. Silver City even had a brewery and a bottling plant. Some of the mines produced ore well into the millions of dollars during their lifetime. Silver City started its decline about 1889 when the inevitable began to appear. Even at that time, the city still had six general stores, two hotels, a newspaper, two lumber yards and several doctors and lawyers and, of course, its “Virgin Alley.” It is said one married man was added to the population above Slaughter House Gulch by his wife. The cemetery is located above Slaughter House Gulch. Silver City can be found just east of the Oregon Idaho border in the Jordan Valley.
Today 4 businesses are open in Silver City. The historic Idaho Hotel, Sinker Creek Outfitter’s, Pat’s What Not Shop and Silver City Fire & Rescue Store.
Stay : The Historic Idaho Hotel
Visiting Silver City is like going back into history. The Idaho Hotel is as it was 100 years ago with a few modern amenities. Sinker Creek Outfitters will provide you with a historic ride back into history on horse back exploring the Owyhee Mountains, Silver City, Empire City, Ruby City and more.
Presently 13 guest rooms are available by reservation. The rooms are restored, historic, and filled with antique furniture.
Globe Miami, Globe, Arizona
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 : The Noftsger Hill Inn
High above the Cobre Valley in the shadow of the Old Dominion mine, The Noftsger Hill Inn stands – a monolithic monument to miner, academic, and architect. This majestic building filled with rustic elegance and framed by mining era houses reigns peacefully over Globe, Arizona.
Past guests of The Noftsger Hill Inn in Globe have reported hearing children’s voices at night – perhaps former students of the onetime schoolhouse turned six-room bed and breakfast. Try to snag a room with an original chalkboard for added effect.
Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park, Berlin, Nevada
The Ghost town of Berlin was founded 1897 and by 1905 had a population of around 300. The town had a large store and boardinghouse that was one of the most impressive structures in the area. It also had its share of saloons. In 1907 the miners struck for higher wages that the company could not afford. The result closed the mine and people began to move away. There was a modest revival that lasted only a year. That was followed by another revival that lasted from 1910 to 1914. There is much to see in Berlin. Thirteen buildings still stand and have been incorporated into the Berlin-Ichthyosaur Nevada State Park. Signs throughout erected by the state park system label and describe the buildings still standing. Berlin is a must see for the ghost-town lover.
Stay: Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park
The park contains 14 well-spaced units, some suitable for RVs up to 25 feet, with fire rings, BBQ grills, covered tables, drinking water (mid-April to October) and restrooms nearby. An RV dump station is also available. Camping is limited to 14 days in a 30-day period.
Tombstone’s post office was established December 2, 1878 and has yet to be discontinued. Tombstone is the most famous of Arizona mining camps with its colorful history. Discovered by Ed Schieffelin in 1878, the mine went on to produce millions. Tombstone had over 15,000 residents at one time. Fires nearly caused the death of Tombstone twice but the town was resilient. Famous for the O.K. Corral shootout with the Earps and Boot Hill cemetery, Tombstone is well worth the visit!
Stay :Tombstone Bordello
Bed & Breakfast
This former Victorian bordello is reportedly home to a lot of paranormal activity, with guests and staff having experiences in many of the rooms. The most common spirit haunting its rooms is that of a miner who died whilst in a scuffle outside of the building. He’s been known to appear from time to time, and on occasion, he makes advances towards women!
Calico Ghost Town, Yermo, California
For the most colorful of the natural surroundings of any ghost town, Calico is the place to visit. It gets its name from the myriad of colors that are part of the mountains which are the backdrop for the town. There is none other like it. Walter Knott who worked the mines in 1910 has restored the town. The original buildings, as in many of the early mining camps, were constructed from adobe brick for the lack of lumber. Cement has been used during the restoration but made to look as original as possible. Calico had its heyday during the 1880s. By 1892, the town began to suffer the beginning of its decline but lasted until 1929 when it truly became a ghost town. A must place to see.
Stay : Calico Ghost Town
Today Calico is part of the San Bernardino County Regional Parks system visited by people from around the country and all over the world. The park offers visitors an opportunity to share in its rich history and enjoy the natural beauty of the surrounding desert environment. Along with its history and attractions, Calico Ghost Town has shops,restaurants and offers camping and outdoor recreation not available at most of our other park facilities. Due to the historic nature of the town, not all areas are ADA accessible.
Jerome Ghost Town & Gold King Mine, Jerome, Arizona
Jerome is located in Yavapai County, on the slopes of Cleopatra Hill. Post office opened on September 10, 1883 and is still in use. Once in time Jerome was fifth biggest town in Arizona, but now is reduced to capitol of the ghost towns. Main income was cobber and the mining in the area started for 1000 years ago, by the Tuzigoot Indians. In 1882, United Ver-de Copper Com-pany was grounded by James A. McDonald, Eugene Jerome from New York and Governor Tritle of Arizona. Finely, the cobber was mined out and mining in Jerome died. In the heydays over 15.000 people lived in Jerome. The depression years marked end of progress in Jerome and the mines closed finely in 1950. After that some citizens grounded Jerome Historical Society and proclaimed Jerome as Ameria’s newest and biggest ghost town. That was the reason why Jerome was sawed from total collapse and destruction. To day you will see many stores along the main street between ruins from the past, as old jail. The most of the town is saved in the original condition and the mostly houses are habitat. You will find almost everything in Jerome and the trip to the town is recommended.
Gold King Mine. Once built to house the owners of the nearby Gold King mine, the Hualapai Mansion now sits idle. Now located on the Odle Ranch (Under a new name now but still called the Odle on the topographic maps), the mansion is two stories tall and was built in the 1930’s. The Gold King mine only amounted to a 180 foot tunnel and a shaft of 50 feet, so the mansion was soon abandoned and still sits idle today.
Stay : Jerome Grand Hotel
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
If you want the charm of a ghost town, but the convenience of staying in an all-inclusive resort, saddle up and ride into Dunton, Colorado.
What once was a small, isolated mining town in the early 1900’s has become a stunning, romantic resort. It took about 7 years to restore the old buildings and put in modern amenities, but it was well worth the effort. Dunton Hot Springs resort is nestled in an alpine valley of the San Juan Mountains in Colorado where it boasts a painstakingly beautiful view from the resort’s log cabins. While staying there you’ll be surrounded by mountain views, waterfalls and, of course, the main attraction: the hot springs.
Stay : Dunton Hot Spring
Dunton Hot Springs doesn’t just offer you a relaxing get away, but also a slew of wild adventures. Since they’re smack dab in the middle of tons of rugged Wild West wilderness, there’s something for everyone. They range from horseback riding, to snow shoeing, to river rafting, to mountain biking- the possibilities are really endless. Adventure literally is at your doorstep!
As for dining and drinking, Dunton Hot Springs definitely delivers! Since it was an old mining town they restored some of the original buildings, including the old saloon! The Dunton Hot Springs Saloon still has a lot of the original fixtures like the wooden bar where Butch Cassidy’s monikers are carved…pretty unreal! The Dance Hall next door can be rented out for events as well (they have a rustic wooden chapel which is perfect for wedding ceremonies). Not to mention their food, which is decadent. Plus, the kitchen is open, so you can watch them prep the day’s meal– or even pitch in, pioneer-style.
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.
Thrill seekers and history buffs should reserve a spot for Ghost Expeditions’ three- to four-hour walking ghost tours, which employ handheld field instruments and are guided by psychic medium Daena Smoller. Other tours include a “Haunted History” tour and “Secrets of the Chloride Cemetery.
Stay : Shep Miner’s Inn
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,
Right outside the still-active Elkmont Campground in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the Elkmont Historic District. The creepiest parts of Elkmont, like the large former Wonderland Hotel, are a short hike away up a gravel road, but the area generally referred to as the Elkmont Historic District offers plenty of super creepy abandoned cabins to explore, all easily accessible from a paved road and the Appalachian Clubhouse parking lot.
Stay : Elkmont Campground
The park’s largest campground, Elkmont, is mere steps away from a ghost town in the Smokies. You can explore the remains of a logging community and two turn-of-the-century-era resorts. The story of how Elkmont went from small logging town to world-famous resort to ghost town in the Smokies is a rollercoaster of a tale, but one worth riding.