Western Ghost Towns

Western Ghost Towns | Adventure into the Past

Western Ghost Towns

Nothing appeals to those with an adventuresome nature, a flair for American history and/or a love of good ghost stories, like Western Ghost Towns!

Tucked away in the mountains of the American west, these abandoned towns are a captivating reminder of days gone by. Constructed mostly in the rough terrain of the rocky mountains and rural areas of western America, it is obvious that the pioneers who built these towns were determined individuals to say the least. They came to the west for gold, silver and other precious minerals, as well as coal, thus the towns were built wherever these resources were found, despite the often unforgiving circumstances of the location. From high mountain valleys to the plains of the west, these towns remain to this day, sprinkled throughout the land as well as our history.

Adventure into the Past

Adventure into the Past

In modern times, overall interest in these sometimes hard to reach ghost towns has increased, especially as adventuresome vacation destinations. Vacationers are delighted to find that many of these ghost towns exist in beautiful mountainous areas which themselves are captivating to behold. Despite the rough terrain, visitors to these sites mostly agree that the pioneers sure could pick gorgeous locations for their towns.

Western Ghost Towns
photo credit: Tina Barnash Purchase at Fine Art America

One such ghost town is known as the Town of Crystal. Nestled among high mountain peaks next to the Crystal River a few miles above Marble, Colorado, it features amazing views of the high peaks that surround the valley, as well as dense pine forests, jagged cliffs and meadows of colorful wildflowers. This ghost town features a rather unique technological marvel of the time, a water mill (pictured above) which produced electricity in it’s hay day, allowing the town of Crystal to have the first power available in the area. Studying the old mill and the town just beyond, one can imagine how travelers to the town back in the day must have been astonished to come upon this little town nestled far from civilization in a high mountain valley, it’s streets lit with the glow of electric bulbs.

The town has been partially refurbished by history loving citizens, some of whom now live there year round, opening their quaint cabin doors to visitors of the area during the summer. Visitors can actually enter the some of the old buildings, which have been refurbished with mostly authentic materials, and get a feel for life in the late 1800’s. The old cabins are still furnished with original embellishments such as authentic wood stoves,  door knobs, hinges, sinks and more.

Western Ghost Towns

Venture over McClure Pass,  through the North Fork Valley and past Montrose  to the Ouray, Telluride and Silverton areas,  and you will find a number of Ghost Towns sprinkled throughout the general region.  From Red Mountain Town near the crest of Red Mountain Pass, which once had as many as 10,000 inhabitants during it’s booming years, to  Tomboy Mine, situated in Savage Basin at an elevation of 11,500 ft., there is certainly no shortage of adventure in the area for those seeking Western Ghost Towns to visit.

Many of these locations can only be reached by 4  wheel drive vehicle, and many of the roads can be downright treacherous to navigate, but for those who dare to traverse these rocky jeep trails the rewards are great. Aside from visiting the Western Ghost Towns themselves, the endlessly stunning views of the beautiful Rocky Mountains are sure to captivate modern visitors, just as it did the pioneers who built the towns over a century ago.

Western Ghost Towns

Western Ghost Towns


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photo credit (1st image on the page): pam’s pics- via photopin cc
photo credit (3rd image): Charles16e via photopin cc
photo credit (2cnd & 4th images: Tina Barnash

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