‘Tis the season for DIY costumes, creepy décor, and scary stories. That’s right, it’s finally Halloween!
Though there are some seriously spooky haunted hotels out there, these ghost towns are almost more frightening. The abandoned cities stretch all throughout America, and are rumored to be extra eerie. But they weren’t always that way. Most of them were once prosperous mining towns filled with people hoping to make it rich by discovering gold or silver. Now, many have been untouched for over a hundred years (yet some still have a ton of historic buildings somehow still standing).
There are ghost towns all over the U.S., if you’re brave enough for a visit. They’re located in Pennsylvania, Wyoming, Montana, Alaska, New Mexico, New York, West Virginia, and more. Not all of them are rumored to actually be haunted places, but some do have spirits of former business owners or residents wandering around the general stores or old jails.
Not all of them are totally defunct, either. One even apparently has an “internationally acclaimed” restaurant! Ready to plan your trip, or take a virtual one? Check out this roundup of the best ghost towns America has to offer.
Although you probably won’t find any silver in this one-time mining hot spot, you can experience a goldmine of activities in this ghost town turned tourist attraction. At Calico Ghost Town—now a California historical landmark—you can explore Maggie Mine, the only formerly used mine in the area that’s safe for guests to see. You can also take a ride on Calico Odessa Railroad to see all of the sights. If you’re really feeling daring, you can even participate in one of the spooky ghost tours!
On the eastern edge of Death Valley sits Rhyolite, a former mining hub. At its peak in 1907, this town boasted a hospital, an opera house, and a stock exchange. The area seemed so promising that even Charles M. Schwab invested and bought one of the mines. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for the thousands of people to scatter: A financial crises, natural disasters, and the loss of funding caused nearly every resident to leave the Nevada spot by 1920.
Aptly named, Goldfield was swarming with miners hopeful for gold in the late 1800s, but was dried up by 1898. The area was inhabited and renamed Youngsberg in 1921, but was abandoned once again in 1926. In 1988, the defunct city took the route of a few other ghost towns and became a tourist attraction with a handful of activities including a zipline, a reptile exhibit, and horseback rides. There’s also a museum, a saloon, and other different merchants.
St. Elmo, Colorado
Formerly named Forest City, St. Elmo was once a bustling mining center with a population of 2,000 at its peak. By 1930, though, only seven people reportedly resided there, including the family who ran the general store and the hotel—one who is rumored to haunt the place to this day. Now privately owned and maintained, visitors can still swing by the small city, which is said to have some of the most paranormal activity in the state.