Hauntingly Beautiful Ghost Towns Across America

Hauntingly Beautiful Ghost Towns Across America

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There’s something alluring about these abandoned towns, many of them former mining colonies in the Wild West.

Ballarat, California
Ballarat, California
Ballarat, California

This turn-of-the-century mining town on the way to Death Valley still sees some visitors who camp overnight rather than make the 3.5-hour drive back to Los Angeles.


Bannack, Montana
Bannack, Montana
Bannack, Montana

The first territorial capital of Montana, Bannack is known for Sheriff Henry Plummer, a convict who reinvented himself as a lawman while secretly orchestrating stagecoach heists with a band of brigands. His success was short-lived, though, and he was found out and later hanged by vigilantes on January 10, 1864.


Elkhorn, Montana
Elkhorn, Montana
Elkhorn, Montana

Now a state park, a few dilapidated buildings still stand in this former mining town south of Helena.


Cahawba, Alabama
Cahawba, Alabama
Cahawba, Alabama

The state’s first capital takes its name from the state’s longest river, situated at the confluence of the Cahaba and the Alabama. It was abandoned after the Civil War.


Bodie, California
Bodie, California
Bodie, California

Once home to 10,000 people, Bodie boomed in the 1870s and ’80s, when gold was found in the hills surrounding Mono Lake. It’s now a State Historic Park.


St. Elmo, Colorado
St. Elmo, Colorado
St. Elmo, Colorado

This is just one of many ghostly villages in Chaffee County, Colorado, a veritable goldmine of historic boomtowns.


Terlingua, Texas
Terlingua, Texas
Terlingua, Texas

A former center of cinnabar mining, the ore from which mercury is extracted, Terlingua is now a gateway to Big Bend National Park, the wild, southern wilderness of Texas.


Calico, California
Calico, California
Calico, California

Once a silver-mining city, this San Bernardino County ghost town has been remade as a tourist attraction that’s garnered notice from no less than Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who gave it the honorary state designation of official Silver Rush Ghost Town.


Rhyolite, Nevada
Rhyolite, Nevada
Rhyolite, Nevada

Named for a type of rock, turn-of-the-century residents of Rhyolite came looking for gold, which was discovered near here in 1904.


Goldfield, Nevada
Goldfield, Nevada
Goldfield, Nevada

The allure of this early 20th century town is right in the name, but these days, it’s better known for its historic buildings and Wild West-inspired attractions.