There’s something alluring about these abandoned towns, many of them former mining colonies in the Wild West.
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.
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.
Now a state park, a few dilapidated buildings still stand in this former mining town south of Helena.
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.
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
This is just one of many ghostly villages in Chaffee County, Colorado, a veritable goldmine of historic boomtowns.
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.
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.
Named for a type of rock, turn-of-the-century residents of Rhyolite came looking for gold, which was discovered near here in 1904.
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.