View Full Version : Best Ghost Towns in Arizona?

05-14-2014, 09:28 AM

Long time visitor, first time poster. This summer, we will be spending our family vacation in Arizona. The first 12 days will be spent in the Sedona area with side trips planned to Monument Valley and Grand Canyon. The last 4 days will be spent in Tucson with side trips to Tombstone and the surrounding area. In the past, we have enjoyed hunting down ghost towns and mining camps in New Mexico, Colorado and South Dakota. After checking the Ghosttowns.com website, I am a little overwhelmed with the number of ghost towns listed in Arizona, which leads me to my question.

Which Arizona ghost towns would you recommend to see that are not too far from our planned route? We’re not looking for anything that is commercialized or “maintained” by the park service like Goldfield or Jerome, but something that stands alone with a few buildings, partial structures, or cemeteries, etc. We will be in a 2 wheel drive car.

Many thanks for your help. :)


05-26-2014, 05:52 AM
Tom.............If you're in the Tombstone area, you might want to check out Charleston/Fairbank , Brunckows Cabin, or the original site of the Clanton Ranch off of Escapule Rd. If you are heading south from Sedona you can detour over to the Bradshaw Mtns. where there's a few old mining towns (Tip Top, etc.) But I don't know if you can get to most of these anymore with a 2WD car. There are websites that have maps of ghost towns close to where you are going (Maybe even this one) that will give you road conditions and travel time. I think that might be your best bet. Have fun and enjoy your time in Arizona.

El Burro Camaro
05-26-2014, 12:04 PM
Unfortunately there isn't really much up around Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon that is worth a side trip. However if you are heading back through Flagstaff or Winslow I would recommend Two Guns and Canyon Diablo. Both are very close together just off of exit 230 on I-40. Two Guns is (on the south side of the Interstate) was an old travel road side travel center-quasi town back in the Route 66 days. The place has extensive ruins of the trade post, a zoo, an old US 66 bridge and several brick homes on the south side of said canyon. Canyon Diablo is about 3 miles to the north of Two Guns. It's a decent enough walk but I wouldn't try the road to the town site in a 2wd or low clearance vehicle.

06-26-2014, 07:38 AM
Flatiron and El Burro,

Thank you for your suggestions and information. That gives me a good place to start.

Again, many thanks!


12-21-2014, 09:19 AM
We live in Arizona, we try to take a road trip to a different ghost town every week. If I were you and had only 2 weeks I would plan the trip as efficient as possible so you don't do any back tracking. I would start south of Tombstone at Bisbee AZ. Do the Bisbee Queen Gold Mine tour then walk the town and check out the old buildings. Food is expensive in the tourist towns a sandwich or hamburger will cost you $10 with no drinks. We always take food and drinks in the ice chest and a case or bottle water. Bisbee is an interesting ghost town. About 25 miles up the road is Tombstone you could spend a whole day here too. The old town is interesting shops open about 11 am and close at 5 pm this time of the year. Tombstone is very popular place in the summer lots of people from foreign country especially Australia will be there. There is 1 reasonable price motel in Tombstone $65 per night. Restaurant at the south end of 5th street has the best food and best prices. Boot hill is at the edge of town to the north/east. RV camp area too. North of Tombstone is Benson it is a nice old ghost town too.

From Benson you have 2 options take I-10 north this will be the fastest but not very scenic drive. If you want to do the scenic drive take hwy 77 north at Tucson. Then hwy 79 to hwy 60 then at Apache Junction take hwy 88 north to Tortilla Flat. Tortilla Flat is a small interesting Ghost town. If your not in a hurry continue north on 88 to Fish Creek 3 miles. Park at the bridge get out the ice chest and have a picnic lunch. This is a nice place to hang out and doing a little exploring, maybe a short hike. Next back to Apache Junction get on hwy 60 to Globe and on to Show Low then on to Holbrook AZ. This is an amazing scenic drive lots of places to stop make sure your ice chest is full park and have lunch along the way. Holbrook is a very old town or Route 66 great place to see and you can spend the night at the Wigwam motel for $66. Next you can stop at Two Guns another small ghost town. Petrified Forest is up the road if you have never seen it you might want to check it out but its not interesting enough to see twice.

Drive west to Winslow another old town on hwy 66 great place to spend the a few hours. Your only a few miles from Meteor Creater stop and check it out you can see it all in 2 hours. When you get to Flagstaff you can drive north or south. Lava beds, indian ruins, several things 20 to 30 miles north. South of Flagstaff is Sedona and all the places you mentioned you want to see. You could drive north to Monument Valley and Grand Canyon too. Make sure you have a full tank of gas when driving to Monument valley there is a place where it is 120 miles to the next gas station. There is a camp area at Monument valley. You will need to leave your vehicle in the parking lot and take the tour through monument valley on the bus. Grand Canyon will probably already packed full it is very popular place for foreigners in the summer, there are 2 camp grounds the one 20 miles to the east might still have camp sites available. Drive back to Flagstaff then west on I-10 to Williams another old town on hwy 66 you could spend the whole day or longer here. Take the steam Locomotive ride from Williams to Grand Canyon or take it from Grand Canyon to Williams and back. Continue west on I-10 to Kingman then sorth to Oatman. Oatman is an amazing old Ghost town, this is a must see high light of the trip. Take your time explore the town have lunch there.

From Kingman you could drive north of Las Vegas to see an amazing Ghost town of drive back to Phoenix on hwy 93. 20 miles North of Kingman is a ghost town called Chloride I have not been there yet. Oatman is south of Kingman watch for the signs on I-10 it is very easy to miss the sign. Once you get off I-10 watch very close for the tiny hard to see signs don't miss the LEFT turn like we did. Don't trust your GPS it will lie to you and send you 60 miles in the wrong direction.

There are so many good things to see and you only have 2 weeks. Too bad you don't have 3 months. Your coming to Arizona the wrong time of the years it is hot as @#$% in the summer. The heat will fool you be sure to drink too much water. You should not have a problem with elevation sickness the highest place you will be is 9000 ft at the Grand Canyon. If you start feeling, weak, light headed, dizzy, tired, it could be dehydration of elevation sickness or both. We do all of our ghost town expeditions between Oct and April in nice sunny 70 degree weather.

12-22-2014, 09:59 AM
Jerome is a party town on the weekend Friday night, Sat, Sun outdoor restaurant has good over priced food live music beer town will be packed. Bumper to bumper cars all the way through town and no place to park. We had to park 3 mile from town and walk so we came back in the middle of the week had no trouble finding a parking spot down town and no crowd to deal with.

Oatman south of Kingman is one of the best ghost towns in the State. Watch for small sign on I-40 15 mile south of kingman. Few miles up the road watch for smaller hard to see sign dont miss the left turn to Oatman. Do not trust your GPS it will lie to you and send you 60 miles in wrong direction.

There are several other ghosttowns near Kingman, Chloride and others.

Bisbee, Tombstone, Benson ghost towns all in the same area. Dont miss the Bisbee Queen Gold mine tour.

Tortilla Flat ghost town on hwy 88 only 20 miles north of Apache Jct.

Monument Valley is an all day drive to get there and all day drive to leave 2 days of your vacation. Save it for last if you run out of time your not missing much.

Holbrook, Two Guns, Winslow, Williams all good ghost towns on I-40. Williams and Winslow are the best.

Food is expensive in all these places $15 hamgerger with no drinks. We always take ice chest and food and 2 cases of bottle water.

Motels are reasonable in Kingman $29 and up.

Motels in Tombstone $65 to $140. Budget Host Inn is $65.

06-26-2015, 09:06 PM
I'm a little late to the "party".... but thought I'd pitch in on this one.

If you're looking for places in the SE of Arizona 'round about Tombstone, there's a whole loop of ghost towns off of dirt roads. The last time I was in Tombstone, I popped in the Visitor center on the SW corner of 4th and Allen and asked for random things to do there that aren't normal tourist things. The gentleman there recommended a ghost town loop. I can't remember where they were, so if I'm out that-a-way, that's where I'd go to get a map and directions to the ghost towns.

I recommend staying in Sierra Vista if you're going to hit up Tombstone and/or Bisbee. The ghost towns are on a loop about 45 minutes out of Sierra Vista. Not far at all. Plus, if you're out there for the 4th of July-- Sierra Vista has one of the best firework shows I've ever seen. The Fort Huachuca band plays the 1812 Overture and there's a real cannonade to go with the fireworks. It's spectacular!

If you're out by Tombstone, don't forget to visit Schefflin's Stone Cairn. He's the miner fellow who founded the place. Take Allen Street west to Schefflin Monument Road-- can't miss it. Boothill is free to walk around, and you can buy a nice little pamphlet giving history on the people buried there for $3. I get one every time I go (about once a year). The Birdcage has a lot of cool relics-- it's pricy to get in, but you can take all the photos you like.

... and if you're really big on Tombstone history, make a little trip out to Willcox, Arizona. There's an old cemetery there-- the Old Willcox Cemetery. It's really over grown and not-too-far off the beaten path. One of the Earp brothers-- Warren Baxter Earp-- is buried there. The poor fellow brought a knife to a gun fight and wound up dead. The story is in the book "Weird Arizona"-- which has a lot of interesting Arizona sites to visit.

Also in the southeast of the state is Kentucky Camp, Johnny Ringo's Gravesite, the graveyard at the base of the Chihuahua Mountains..... and just off I-10 over the Arizona/New Mexico Border (on the NM side) is Steins, an old mining town.

Bisbee is fun to walk about. It's a good place to go antiquing if you like that sort of thing. In the summer, they have a Bisbee 1000 race-- they have lots of stairs there because the Old Bisbee town is on the side of the mountain. I highly recommend the ghost walk there. I also love the Bisbee Breakfast Club in Lowell for food. Stopped out there recently and will be going back next time I'm out that way! If you like history, The Bisbee Massacre ties to Tombstone-- the thieves were early robbing the bank in Bisbee and ended up getting caught and lynched on the streets in Tombstone. They're buried in the NE corner of Boothill-- Red Sample... someone Dowd... etc... those guys.... Row 3 north side, I think... somewhere there about. The clantons are buried in the front, south side.... opposite side of the graveyard, but about the same row.

.... in Northern Arizona... The London Bridge at Lake Havasu isn't too far from Kingman.

.... and in central Arizona... if you're going to Jerome, hit up Tuzigoot. It's an ancient indian ruin/national park not far from Jerome. You get to walk about in the actual ruins. Wupatki is similar-- with a trail going right beside the ruins. Riorden (pronounced Rear-Den) Mansion in Flagstaff is kinda neat too.... not really a ghost town, but it's cool if you like history.