A Wild West town located near the Superstition Mountains with an underground mine, a narrow-gauge train, a saloon and gunfights too! You will see all this and more on a visit to the Goldfield Ghost Town in Arizona. Once a bustling gold mining town, it was eventually abandoned. The town today offers a fun experience that will take you back in time to the riveting days of the Wild West.
Strolling through the dusty land will give you an idea of what it was like to live there many years ago, but there are also some fun activities too including train rides, horseback rides, underground mine walk, and ziplining that make this a great tour.
A Guide to Visiting Goldfield Ghost Town in Arizona
History of Goldfield Ghost Town
Back in the 1890s, Goldfield area situated on a hilltop close to the Superstition Mountains and Goldfield Mountains literally struck gold. Since the metal ore was of a very high grade, it attracted miners and people from all over. Soon, a town developed in 1893 with an official post office, saloons, a general store, a boarding house, brewery, blacksmith shop, and a school. It had all the essential amenities that a town would need for its residents. Unfortunately, a few years down the line, things went downhill in the town as the gold became scarce and its quality dropped. Miners deserted the town in search of better mining prospects. Although an attempt was made to revive the town in the 1920s, the negligible gold output resulted in the town being abandoned again in a few years.
But, Goldfield Ghost Town got another chance and it happened due to the efforts of the enterprising Robert F. “Bob” Schoose. With a deep interest in ghost towns and mining, he bought a few acres of this area in Arizona and transformed it into a Wild West tourist spot. It started with a mining tunnel and a snack bar and eventually developed into much more.
Things to Do in Goldfield Ghost Town
A visit here is all about discovering the history of the place, experiencing life back then, and enjoying fun activities for adults and children. People walking around in period costumes give an authentic feel to the town. It has a great restaurant too. I spent about four hours here soaking in the ambience of the Wild West. There is no entry cost so you can walk around the town freely but a fee is required for some attractions and activities if you choose to experience them.
- Goldfield Mine Tours / / Step back in time to more than a 100 years ago as you go on an underground mine tour. One of my favorite activities in the town, it gave a good insight into life in the mines. The knowledgeable guides will fill you in on the history of the mine, the equipment and processes used. Each tour lasts for 25 minutes and it is a very interesting activity to do in Goldfield Ghost Town.
- Superstition Narrow Gauge Railroad / / A fun ride all the way! A train ride on the Superstition Narrow Gauge Railroad is an entertaining experience. Sit in the passenger car as the train takes you around the town for a 20-minute ride. During the ride, an engineer will narrate the fascinating history of Goldfield and the area around. You will get some information about the Superstition Mountains too.
- Goldfield Gunfighters / / Clear the streets and take cover! It’s a gunfight! Well, not a real one but a staged act that makes you feel like you are on the sets of a western. You can watch this activity for free along the boardwalks. After the gunfight is announced, cowboys take over the street. Watch the action between troublemakers who are up to no good and men trying to maintain law and order– all ending in a gunfight battle. The gunshots made me jump out of my skin the first time around. Gunfight re-enactments take place every Saturday and Sunday by the hour. Complete entertainment!
- Goldfield’s Historic Museum / / If you like museums, the historical museum in this ghost town has some interesting exhibits about the town, mining and the mountains. One of the most popular exhibits is that of the Lost Dutchman gold mine. It is believed to be a gold mine located in the Superstition Mountains, one which miners over the years have searched for without any luck. Other displays include those related to westerns filmed in the mountains and surrounding areas. Native American artifacts too are a part of the collection.
Ziplining / / A recent addition at Goldfield Ghost Town, this activity is popular with both adults and kids. While walking around or taking a train ride is one way to see the town, I could get a whole new perspective of the area by trying the zipline experience. Zip along and see the town, mountains and desert views from up in the air. An enjoyable ride, indeed.
Superstition’s O.K. Corral Stables / / When you are out in the wild west, a horse ride is just what you need to feel one with the landscape. Explore the mountainous area on horseback accompanied by a guide. The Superstition and Goldfield mountains have a rich history and scenic trails – discover it with rides that last an hour, a half day or an entire day. Ride into the wilderness!
Other Amazing Attractions / / Drop by the Mystery Shack to experience all things strange and mysterious or shoot at interactive targets at the Eagle Eye Shooting Gallery. If you enjoy looking at reptiles, the Superstition Reptile Exhibit is an interesting place. Another fun activity is Gold Panning at Prospector’s Palace. Learn about the proper process to pan for gold aided by a guide. You might even find tiny slivers of gold. And if you feel hungry, grab a snack, relish a meal and enjoy a drink at the Mammoth Steakhouse & Saloon – sandwiches, burgers, fries, steak and more. Enjoy an ice cream at the parlor. There are shops selling all kinds of souvenirs too!
Where is Goldfield Ghost Town & How to Get There
Goldfield Ghost Town is only an hour by road from Arizona’s capital Phoenix, amongst the rolling tumbleweeds, statuesque cacti and on the outskirts of any major town. It is located off Mammoth Mine Road, a few miles northeast of Apache Junction on Apache Trail (SR-88). The tourist spot is situated at the base of the Superstition Mountains.
Various attractions and shops are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. while the saloon opens its doors at 11 a.m. and closes at 9 p.m.
For more information visit their website here.
Though this ghost town is now bustling with more tourists than ghosts, people with a deep interest in the Wild West as well as those who are just curious about it will find Goldfield Ghost Town an interesting place. And, if you are a fan of westerns – be it movies or comic books, you will definitely want to visit this tourist attraction. Turning the clock back to Stroll through the shops, watch the scoundrels gunfight and pan for gold equals a shindig of a day.
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