Arizona is home to many ghost towns, which at one point in time were flourishing mining towns. When the mines closed, the towns were abandoned and remained uninhabited, thus becoming permanent “ghost towns.” Some have been converted into historical sites that draw in visitors from across the country, while others remain abandoned but have become tourist attractions due to their interesting history.
From the town where the movie “Easy Rider” was filmed and the ruins of an old zoo to a place that holds daily bat viewings, these are 5 ghost towns in Arizona you don’t want to miss.
Most Interesting Ghost Towns in Arizona
This ghost town has recently experience a small revival as a biker-friendly spot, thanks to the town’s two main attractions: The Grand Canyon Harley-Davidson dealership, along with the Route 66 Roadhouse Bar & Grill. The other point of interest in Bellemont is the Pine Breeze Motel, which some might recognize from the movie “Easy Rider” – which is located on the same 2.5 acres where the bar is. Bellemont is 11 miles west-northwest of Flagstaff, along Interstate 40.
2. Two Guns
Located near the half-way mark between Flagstaff and the smaller town of Winslow on Interstate Highway 40, Two Guns is a unique little town on the east side of Canyon Diablo. Two Guns was originally a site of major confrontation between the Apache and Navajo Indians in the 19th century, but later became a tourist stop along Route 66. A zoo was later added, and at one time housed various mountain lions, bobcats, and panthers in large cages that lined the north wall of the canyon. The zoo has since closed, but the ruins remain in the ghost town, along with several other abandoned buildings, including a gas station and café.
3. Canyon Diablo
Originally a railroad town in the 1800s, Canyon Diablo (“Devil’s Canyon”) lacked law enforcement, attracted drifters and was home to countless robberies before ultimately turning into a ghost town after the railroad bridge was built. Visitors come to see the original limestone footings for the railroad trestle, along with the grave of Herman Wolf – a successful trader from the 1800s. To get to Canyon Diablo, take the Two Guns Exit (#230) when traveling east from Flagstaff on the I-40.
Tombstone is a historic western city in Cochise County, Arizona, located just over an hour away from Tucson. It was one of the last wide-open frontier boomtowns. Known as “The Town Too Tough to Die”, Tombstone had a stormy past that included a famous shootout at the OK Corral in 1881. These days, there are many activities for visitors to enjoy, like taking a ride around town in a stage coach, watching reenactments of the most famous gunfight in history, and see the world’s largest rosebush, which is located in The Rose Tree Museum & Bookstore.
5. Ruby Ghost Town
At its peak, Ruby had a population of 1,200 in the 1930s and was the largest mining camp on southwest Arizona, but was abandoned in 1941 after its mining company closed. One of the best preserved host towns in Arizona, Ruby is surrounded by the Coronado National Forest and is 50 miles southwest of Tucson, and four miles north of the Mexican border. Visitors are welcome to enjoy a picnic by the lake, and historical information and maps are provided for self-guided tours. The town also hosts daily bat viewings at dusk. The entry free is $12 per person, and the town is open Thursday through Sunday from 9am until dark.
This article was written by Kamala Kirk.