Grab your bedroll – you can spend the night at these historic ghost towns

Doug Williams

Not all of us want to camp in the National Parks and serene wilderness, some of the more adventure seeking folks tend to look for more ‘dangerous’ places to spend their nights.

There is something very romantic about the idea of spending a night in a place or a town which is famously haunted, it gives one a sense of achievement once you come out of it unscathed (the implication is that you will always come out unscathed apart from odd bruises and scratches). Following is a list of some ghost towns that are open for camping, and you can visit the anytime to quench your thirst of ghost-camping with your friends or family.

Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park

If you look closely even the name of this protected ghost town is eerily haunting; Berlin in the name suggests a ghost town whereas Ichthyosaur refers to some well persevered and undisturbed fossil of dinosaurs in the region which takes haunting to a whole new level. During the gold rush, the Berlin was a bustling town with a fair number of people residing in it.

The gold was first discovered in the region in 1896 and industrialization was so intense that within 15 years there was no gold left in the area. The remnants of that short span of gold rush can still be observed in the form of ore mills, mine shafts, homes and mercury float tables. And then there are dinosaur bones waiting to be resurrected, what else would you want in a ghost town?

Bannack State Park

Photo credit
Photo credit

Up until 1970’s Bannack was still a fairly functioning town but the downfall of the civilized town and rise of ghost town status was triggered by the dwindling population and hard to reach the location of the town. Bannack was the home of 10,000 residents at its peak with hotels, three blacksmiths shops, and many salons.

Not many people know that Bannack once served as the capital of Montana Territory, though very briefly. But what really makes Bannack stands out in the line of ghost towns is the possibility of real ghosts lurking in the corners, hundreds of them to be more accurate.

The local legend is of a sheriff’s killing spree with the help of few aides who had murdered scores of people have haunted residents for decades. In the history of Bannack, more than two dozen people have been hanged for being part of the Sheriff’s killer gang, some of whom were lynched by the locals according to the legends.

Terlingua Ghost Town

The home of nation’s best and biggest chilli cook-offs, Terlingua once was a bustling tourists resort that attracted people from far and beyond.

The town was single-handedly owned by a mining company called Chisos Mining Company, that primarily worked in and around the town searching for cinnabar, an ingredient used to make mercury. However, later a hunt for the newly discovered mineral called Terlinguaite not only increased the demand for the company it attracted people to the town as well, Roadtrippers reported.

Calico Ghost Town

Calico, San Bernardino County, California. Photo credit
Calico, San Bernardino County, California. Photo credit

The Calico is perhaps the best ‘fake ghost town’ in the world with its fake wild western style buildings depicting the version of the wild west perpetuated by the Hollywood.

Despite the fake structures, there is a number of original sites in the town as well including the post office (which is now a museum), Lil’s Saloon and general stores amongst others. The town has received a fair number of tourists over the years so you can see an odd fake gunfight between two cowboys if you are lucky with a tour of town’s old silver mine as well.


fmssolution is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival