Between abandoned mining towns, Old West gunslingers and well-preserved historic buildings, it’s almost as if Arizona was destined to be the ultimate Halloween destination. If you get the opportunity to visit any of these fun-scary places, you’re likely to discover that the real treat is all the fun you can have exploring the state during the fall season! Here, Arizona Office of Tourism brings you six Arizona ghost towns and fall attractions.
“I love fall in Arizona because there’s so much to do,” says Debbie Johnson, director of the Arizona Office of Tourism. “Whether you immerse yourself in fall colors, take the family to a pumpkin patch or visit a ghost town, you can’t go wrong with wherever your next road trip takes you!”
Although Jerome is known more these days for its award-winning liquid spirits, it remains one of Arizona’s most famous and fun ghost towns. Hauntings come with the territory. The spiritual and literal pinnacle is the Jerome Grand Hotel, which originally opened as a hospital in 1927 and has kept watch over the town from a steep hillside ever since. Legend has it that a bearded miner named Claude who met his demise in the elevator shaft occasionally makes an appearance. Add in a stop at The Haunted Hamburger and take in live music at the Spirit Room, and you’ll be ready for a scary good time!
From Victorian architecture to Whiskey Row saloons, Arizona’s former Territorial Capitol typically succeeds in enchanting most visitors. The Palace saloon was opened in 1877 and destroyed by the Whiskey Row fire in 1900. However, the ornately carved 1880s Brunswick Bar, which is still in use today, was saved. Multiple ghosts have been spotted here, including a man who lost his business in an unlucky poker game. Make the trip to the Hassayampa Inn to possibly see a vision of the young bride who hanged herself from her balcony room after her husband abandoned her on their honeymoon in 1928.
Residents love the town’s annual Halloween party, and Bisbee’s many spectral residents are always up for entertaining visitors! Start with the Old Bisbee Ghost Tour, which brings close the spirits of one of Arizona’s major mining boomtowns. Old Bisbee’s stairways, alleys and 100-year-old buildings set the perfect scene. Rumor has it that one spectral resident of The Bisbee Inn that never runs out of lives is a calico cat that died when it accidentally got locked in the saloon’s storage room. Visitors report feeling the feline brush by their legs and occasionally hear purring. Or, the Haunted Pub Crawl visits several pubs and breweries while visitors get their fill of Bisbee’s best ghost stories.
Between the O.K. Corral, Boothill Cemetery and The Bird Cage Theatre, Tombstone offers a cadre of famous ghosts, experiences and stories to entertain all visitors. But there’s even more. Among the tales of the Tombstone Ghost & Murder Tour is the story of George Daves, whose spirit visitors might encounter while strolling down Third Street. Word is he’s waiting for a reunion with his dearly departed sweetheart.
About 50 miles north of Phoenix is the short-lived silver mining town of Tip Top. Between 1876 and 1884, Tip Top was one of the three most active mining towns in Arizona. At its peak in the late 1880s, Tip Top had six saloons, three stores, four restaurants, a school and the first brewery in Arizona. In 1895, less than a decade later, the town fizzled out. This is an explore-on-your-own type of trip. Today, the ruins at Tip Top stretch nearly two miles along Cottonwood Creek. There are dozens of buildings in various states of ruin, an old headframe and several tunnels remaining.
Mining operations began in earnest in Swansea in the mid-1880s. By 1909, a post office was established and the town swelled to a population of 750. The town had the normal saloons and restaurants but also featured a car dealership, theater and an electric light company. Town founder George Mitchell was so proud of Swansea, he promoted it constantly, which ultimately led to its demise during the Great Depression, partly due to a lack of a stable water supply. Today, dozens of buildings and structures remain to be explored at this well-preserved ghost town about 30 miles east of Parker, near the Arizona-California border.
No matter what part of the state you visit, ghostly fun and spooky delights await around every corner!