Historic Old West Towns in Arizona, California and Utah

When it comes to vacations to National Parks, my brothers and I tend to look for ghost towns or “Old West” towns. We were lucky to discover a ghost town near the Grand Canyon in Arizona called Cyanide Springs. We also made a trip to Tombstone, AZ and walked the same streets as Doc Holiday and Wyatt Earp. Just outside of Zion National Park in Utah, we visited Grafton Ghost Town where early Mormon settlers lived. In California, we visited Pioneertown, which was used as a movie set and not far from Joshua Tree National Park. Keep reading to learn about each town and get travel tips if you’re planning a visit to these locations. 

Ghost Town and “Old West” Travel Tips

  • Research and plan your route in advance, as ghost towns may be remote and not well-marked.
  • Bring plenty of water, food, and emergency supplies as facilities may be limited or nonexistent.
  • Wear sturdy shoes and appropriate clothing for exploring abandoned areas.
  • Respect private property and heed any warning signs or barriers.
  • Don't disturb or remove artifacts.
  • Be aware of potential hazards such as unstable structures and wildlife.
  • Check for any permits or access restrictions before visiting historic towns.
  • Consider joining a guided tour for safety and historical insights.
  • Be prepared for limited cell phone reception in remote areas.
  • Leave word with someone reliable about your planned itinerary and expected return time.

Cyanide Springs Ghost Town

Location address: 4920 Elkhart Ave, Chloride, AZ 86431
We visited Cyanide Springs in late March and it was snowing and raining a bit, which made this ghost town feel even creepier. We took dirt roads to get to this old mining town and we were the only ones there. We explored the dilapidated buildings including the jail, saloon, museum, and the cemetery. The ghost town was established in 1899 and is located 23 miles north of Kingman and Route 66. 

For more information about Cyanide Springs, see our full post. 

Tombstone, AZ “The Town Too Tough to Die”

Location address: 613 E. Allen Street Tombstone, AZ 85638

Tombstone, AZ, founded in 1879, rose from the silver boom. Wyatt Earp and his brothers, along with Doc Holliday, gained notoriety for their roles in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral in 1881. Economic decline followed silver depletion, leading to the town's contraction. Despite this, tourism burgeoned around its Wild West legacy. Historic landmarks like the Bird Cage Theatre and the Tombstone Courthouse draw visitors. Modern-day Tombstone preserves its past through reenactments and museums, remaining a testament to the American frontier.
For more information, read our full post. 

Grafton Ghost Town in Utah

Location address: 5W89+X7 Springdale, Utah
Just outside of Zion National Park is Grafton Ghost town, founded in 1862 by Mormon church leader Brigham Young. This ghost town is complete with historic structures that you can walk into. You can peek into windows and walk the same grounds of previous settlers. While in the basement of one of the homes, we felt strange vibes so we decided to leave that particular house and explore some more. We felt like we were in an episode of Ghost Adventures. Watch my video and walk with me through Grafton Ghost Town. 
For more information, read our full post. 

Grafton Ghost Town in Utah

Pioneertown in California

Location address: 53539 Mane St, Pioneertown, CA 92268 (Red Dog Saloon address)
Pioneertown, CA, established in 1946, served as a live-in Old West motion picture set. Actors like Roy Rogers and Gene Autry frequented the town for filming. Its founders envisioned a functioning community alongside the film set. However, the decline of the Western genre led to economic struggles. Despite this, Pioneertown retains its Western charm, attracting tourists with its vintage aesthetic and occasional events. Today, it serves as a reminder of Hollywood's golden era and the allure of the American frontier.
For more information, read our full recap here. 

In short, we love visiting old towns as it’s like stepping back in time. We get a chance to walk the same streets as those from long ago and it’s great to see how well preserved these towns are. Which old towns have you visited? Let us know in the comments. 

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