Why the Spookiest Summer Getaway of All Time is An Abandoned Ghost Town in Arizona

Jul 19, 2018

Great Summer Getaways | Abandoned Ghost Towns | Westgate Resorts
By Rich Weidman

Why the Spookiest Summer Getaway of All Time is An Abandoned Ghost Town in Arizona

Arizona boasts its share of fascinating ghost tales and urban legends – ranging from legendary creatures like El Chupacabra (literally “goat sucker”) and Mogollon Monster (think Bigfoot) to the infamous hanging tree at Vulture Mine, the eerie Thornton Road Domes in Casa Grande and the ever-elusive Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine. However, when it comes to real chills and thrills, nothing surpasses a visit to Goldfield Ghost Town, an abandoned ghost town in the fabled Superstition Mountains in Apache Junction near Mesa, Arizona. Do you believe that all abandoned ghost towns are truly deserted? Think again as you explore this little-known hidden gem, which is allegedly riddled with paranormal activity. In fact, Goldfield Ghost Town just may in fact be the spookiest summer getaway of all time! As far as quick summer getaways are concerned, Goldfield offers an easy day trip from Mesa and is one of the most popular abandoned ghost towns among visitors to the Grand Canyon State.

The Creepy History of Goldfield Ghost Town

Billed as the “Gateway to the Legendary Superstition Mountains,” Goldfield has been named as one of “America’s Coolest Ghost Towns” by Travel + Leisure, while Roadside America calls it a “dazzling nugget of desert entertainment.” Established in 1893 when gold ore was discovered in an area of what was then known as the Arizona Territory (Arizona didn’t achieve statehood as the 48th state until 1912), Goldfield quickly became a thriving town of approximately 1,500 residents that featured a bustling general store, post office, three lively saloons, brewery, butcher shop, schoolhouse and blacksmith shop. However, within just five years, the grade of ore dropped significantly and Goldfield was soon abandoned to the dry sagebrush desert. Here are some interesting facts about Goldfield’s early years and its later restoration:

  • Goldfield experienced a brief rebirth in the 1920s as “Youngsberg” when George Young (1867-1926), former Secretary of the Arizona Territory, reopened the mines and utilized state-of-the-art techniques for the time to recover the ore. However, once again, by 1926 the gold was quickly depleted and the town abandoned for a second time.

  • In 1943, approximately 60 percent of Goldfield was destroyed during a military training exercise that went catastrophically wrong.

  • Entrepreneur and treasure hunter Bob Schoose purchased the old Goldfield Mill site in 1984 with dreams of restoring the abandoned ghost town for visitors. Goldfield Ghost Town opened for business as a tourist attraction four years later with the reconstructed mining tunnel, as well as a snack bar, general store, saloon and Goldfield Museum. Today, Schoose serves as the unofficial mayor of Goldfield and significantly more attractions have been added to Goldfield Ghost Town.

  • Other popular Arizona ghost towns include Tombstone (site of the legendary Gunfight at the O.K. Corral in 1881), Fairbank, Bisbee, Jerome, Castle Dome Landing, Vulture City, Clifton, Ruby, Bellemont (where a scene from the influential 1969 biker flick Easy Rider was filmed) and Oatman, among many others.

As you wander through the dusty streets of Goldfield Ghost Town, be sure to go into ghost hunting mode, since plenty of paranormal activity has been reported here. In fact, Goldfield is reportedly one of Arizona’s most haunted places. Some visitors to the ghost town have allegedly heard “mournful voices” in the saloon, as well as an occasional apparition floating behind the bar. In addition, a “mysterious figure” with a cowboy hat has been reported residing in the town’s bordello – making unexplainable noises and terrifying visitors in the process. The team from Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures even spent a night in Goldfield Ghost Town for an episode that aired in 2015 and reported several instance of paranormal activity during their stay. The surrounding, aptly named Superstition Mountains also offer their share of supposed hauntings, evil spirits and urban legends (the Apache Native American tribe even called the Superstition Mountains the “Devil’s Playground”).

Must-See Attractions of Goldfield Ghost Town

Prepare yourself for a spine-chilling adventure at Goldfield Ghost Town, which offers something for all ages. While you’re out ghost hunting, don’t miss out on the following Goldfield Ghost Town attractions:

  • Apache Trail Tours: Enjoy a rugged and exhilarating 4x4 off-road desert loop tour of the spooky Superstition Mountains. | PHONE (480) 982-7661

  • Eagle Eye Shooting Gallery: Test your skill at the shooting gallery, which features interactive targets that come to life. | PHONE (480) 982-7800

  • Gold Panning at Prospector’s Palace: A true gold historian will show you and your family the proper techniques for panning for gold. | PHONE (480) 982-0276

  • Goldfield Gunfighters: Clear the streets when the gunfighters show up in Goldfield and face some serious resistance from the sheriff and his deputies as they try to steal the Wells Fargo strong box! | PHONE (480) 983-0333

  • Goldfield Mine Tours: Step back in time and learn about mining techniques from over 100 years ago during the guided Goldfield Mine Tours. | PHONE (480) 983-0333

  • Goldfield’s Historic Museum: View interesting exhibits ranging from the mysterious Lost Dutchman gold mine to the slew of Western movies that were filmed in the area such as Charro! (1969), which starred Elvis Presley. | PHONE (480) 677-6463

  • LuLu’s Bordello at Goldfield: The “bawdy ladies” of LuLu’s Bordello take you on a fun-filled tour of this legendary house of ill repute. | PHONE (480) 983-0333

  • Mammoth Steakhouse & Saloon: In addition to serving famous Mammoth Burgers, juicy steaks and tasty appetizers, this charming eatery features interesting Old West artifacts, including an authentic Stagecoach from Tombstone, Arizona. | PHONE (480) 983-6402

  • The Mystery Shack: An old miner’s shack that defies gravity, The Mystery Shack provides fun for all ages. | PHONE (480) 983-0333

  • Superstition Narrow Gauge Railroad: Hop aboard for a scenic train ride that takes you on a 20-minute, narrated journey around the Western town. | PHONE (480) 983-0333

  • Superstition Reptile Exhibit: Learn all about the reptiles and invertebrates that call the vast, unforgiving desert their home.

  • Superstition Zipline: Enjoy a thrilling zipline adventure that offers spectacular views of the surrounding Superstition Mountains. | PHONE (480) 982-0075

  • Superstition’s O.K. Corral Stables: Saddle up for a guided horseback riding adventure that explores the beautiful Superstition and Goldfield mountains. | PHONE (480) 982-4040

A Haunted Step Back into the Heart of Arizona’s Old West

Looking for the ultimate haunted adventure during your next vacation getaway to Mesa, Arizona? Make your first stop at Goldfield Ghost Town, where you can step back in time to the Wild West and experience plenty of ghoulish fun along the way! Goldfield Ghost Town is ideally located along the historic Apache Trail, which winds its way through the scenic Superstition Mountains past other popular attractions such as the Superstition Mountain Museum, Lost Dutchman State Park, Theodore Roosevelt Lake, Canyon Lake, Tortilla Flat, Tonto National Monument and others.