7 Spooky Old West Camping Trips

Scary movies, fun-size candy and costume stores pop up with the fall weather.

But some of the most spine-tingling activities lurk in the wilderness of the Old West. Check out these abandoned mining towns for a spooky dose of ramshackle buildings, old mine shafts, chilling history and of course, spooky camping sites.

7. Cripple Creek, Colo.

Wikimedia Commons/David Shankbone

Are you curious about abandoned mining shafts and crumbling miners’ shacks? Cripple Creek boasts a slew of old mining ruins and a restored historic downtown. Tucked just west of Colorado Springs, Cripple Creek is surrounded by plenty of campgrounds if you want to spend a chilling night with the past.

6. Bisbee, Ariz.

Wikimedia Commons/Phillip Capper

This famous and still-populated city in southern Arizona helped give the state its copper nickname. Stay in the Copper Queen hotel if you want the possibility of seeing some famous ghostly apparitions. Julia Lowell is the residential ghost who reportedly leaves behind a signature scent. She also apparently enjoys gentleman guests. Or camp out at the Shady Dell campground for a glimpse of the stars, a sense of the past and a view of the surrounding mountains.

5. St. Elmo, Colo.

Wikimedia Commons/John S. Hirth

Few ghost towns can boast the sheer number of abandoned wooden structures like St. Elmo. This spooky mining town was settled in 1878 and mostly abandoned by the 1920s. One legend claims that the few remaining residents in St. Elmo took the last train out of town once the railroad line closed. Walk by the old Stark family general store and the old schoolhouse for a chilling look back into the past. The Cascade and Chalk Lake campgrounds are 15 minutes from this pristinely abandoned town if you want to catch some stars, or maybe even a ghost or two.

4. Thistle, Utah

Wikimedia Commons/Drewe Zanki

Some ghost towns only reached their spooky status in the last few decades. Thistle was a small, but populated, old mining town until the 1980s. In 1982, the Spanish Fork River overflowed and flooded the city, forcing a panicked, last-minute evacuation. Half-submerged and hollow homes are the only remaining residents in Thistle today.

3. Jerome, Ariz.

Wikimedia Commons/Andrew Dunn

Trek up into the mountains of Arizona and you’ll find Jerome, with a current population of 450. The last copper mine closed in 1953 and now you can walk through the town to visit the old jail and the former red-light district. It was once a thriving mining operation containing up to 20,000 residents. Since it was also once known as the “wickedest town in the west”, there are plenty of leftover ghost stories lingering in this artsy city. Be careful which way you turn or might see an unexpected apparition.

2. Chloride, N.M.

Wikimedia Commons/Jpatokal

Despite the name, this town wasn’t named after a science experiment in a laboratory. The town Chloride rose and fell with the popularity of its mineral namesake. Visit the old saloon (now a gift shop), the 200-year-old Hanging Tree and the long-abandoned dwellings of past residents. It seems this ghost town didn’t fail to leave behind its most haunting landmarks.

1. Grafton, Utah

Wikimedia Commons/Triberocker

Pair the stunning red rocks of Utah with the abandoned schoolhouse and cemetery of this ghost town for a stunning and stirring Old West retreat. Grafton has been used in multiple films, including Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. It was abandoned repeatedly because of flooding and warfare in the 1800s. Camp out at Zion National Park and take a chilling detour just south for a taste of this eerily quiet and pristine Utah gem.

Next: Get Paid to Live in a Haunted Ghost Town

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7 Spooky Old West Camping Trips