The west is littered with old, abandoned towns that were once home to thriving communities. The rush to mine copper, silver, gold, and other minerals brought huge numbers of people to try their luck out in Arizona and beyond. Unfortunately, many of these places became unsustainable either due to loss of the mine, lack of water, or just the creation of better roads leading elsewhere.
With some sites comprised of just a few run-down buildings and some sites built into full-blown wild west destinations, these ghost towns are the perfect places to tour for a taste of the old west. For the chance to see some cool history and take in something a little different, check out one of the best ghost towns in Arizona.
Best Ghost Towns in Arizona
Hackberry is the perfect place to start your Arizona ghost towns exploration for those unfamiliar with abandoned towns. This town was a mining destination dating back to 1875 that was abandoned when the mine shut down by 1919. The arrival of Route 66 brought more travelers to this town and gave it new life until the construction of I-40 rerouted travelers away from Hackberry once again. Now, the once-famous general store has been reopened as a Route 66 travel and tourism center, and the small town is full of vintage cars and memorabilia detailing the town’s long history.
Located within a half day’s drive from several national parks, preserves, and monuments (including the Grand Canyon
and Joshua Tree
in California), the camping options here are seemingly endless! The closest campground with full hookups and a small laundromat is Highway 66 RV Park in Kingman. There are very few other amenities at this RV park, but it is conveniently located right off Route 66 if you’re traveling all or part of it.
For more amenities or if you’re planning on a longer stay in the area, park your RV at the Kingman KOA Journey. Here you’ll find pull-through RV sites and full hookups. There’s another Route 66 gift shop onsite for pantry items and souvenirs, plus even a mini-golf course.
Goldfield is one of the most popular destinations on the Arizona ghost towns map—and with good reason. This town has embraced its history and is an entertaining tourist destination complete with a main street with shops, period actors, and most importantly, tours of its buildings and the old mine.
Find yourself in the wild west come to life. The buildings have been recreated after a fire destroyed most of the town in the 40s, but this commercial ghost town is still a sight to behold. There is no charge to walk around and explore some of Arizona’s rich history.
Take your pick of a ton of different RV camping options just minutes from Goldfield in Apache Junction, including several RV Resorts that are loaded with amenities and options to keep everyone happy for an overnight stay or one lasting much longer. Countryside RV Resort accepts many discount camping programs if you’re looking for a good deal. They feature great views of the Superstition Mountains and many full hookup sites. For 55+, Happy Days RV Park is a welcoming option loaded with large and level spots.
Jerome has been billed as the “Wickedest Town in the West” because of its rough and tumble origins. Once the fourth largest city in Arizona, this town dwindled to almost nothing after the last mines closed in 1953.
Now, Jerome keeps its title as one of the best Arizona ghost towns because of all it offers to visitors today. Built into a hillside, Jerome boasts views of the best Arizona landscapes. The burgeoning arts scene has influenced a charming area with shops to peruse alongside the historic buildings and abandoned mines. Take a ghost town tour to learn about this once major boomtown.
The camping in this area is fantastic. Only eight miles away, a little higher in the mountains, is Potato Patch. This campground is run by the US Forest Service and is a stark contrast to most other desert-based campgrounds near ghost towns in Arizona. B Loop is for RVs up to 40 feet max and has paved roads, good bathrooms, and electric hookups. If you can grab one of these 12 spots, you definitely should!
Spirit Rain RV Resort is even closer at only seven miles away from Jerome. Its 63 spots all have 30 & 50 amp power, sewer, and water connections. Take advantage of all the great amenities you can expect in a bigger RV resort, including a pool, library, dog run, and laundry facility.
For those who want a bit more of a challenge or who just want to see more than the more commercial ghost towns in Arizona, Swansea is a unique half-day trip. There are dozens of original buildings and structures left to be explored from its heyday as a 1910 mining town and copper ore processing center.
Big rigs beware—getting to this site isn’t for the faint of heart. The route starts paved, transitions to a dry wash bed, and then turns into a single lane very bumpy dirt road. Those last five miles are steep, rocky, and include sheer drops on one side. However, once you arrive, you can explore a town far off the modern map at your own discretion.
Try La Mesa Verde RV Park to start your trip to Swansea as closely as possible. Newly renovated bathrooms and showers and direct access to trails from camp make this a great spot to spend an evening.
Hit the Old West in a Cruise America RV
Enjoy a bit of history and explore old west Arizona from the comfort of your RV or rent one from Cruise America. With locations all around the US, no matter where you start your journey, you’ll always be close to an RV, complete with all of the accessories you’ll need to travel in comfort. Visit a local rental center
or check out the website for more information on how to get rolling towards these Arizona ghost towns today.