Utah is full of ghost towns. We always enjoy walking through old buildings and speculating about people’s lives in these ruined towns. On our adventures throughout Utah, we have come across some great ghost towns that are fun to explore as a family. All of these spots are easy to find and simple to explore.
Thistle Ghost Town
Location: Near Spanish Fork
Thistle was flooded back in the 1980s, so many of you might remember the tragedy that struck this town along Highway 6 in Utah. There are still some buildings sitting in water, and it is a fun stop if you are headed east along the 6, or down toward Manti.
Sego Canyon Ghost Town
Location: Near Moab
We were pleasantly surprised at the Sego Canyon Ghost Town. There were some neat buildings, as well as old cars, that our boys thought were fun. There are also some amazing petroglyphs on the way out to the Sego Canyon Ghost Town so it’s a two for one stop.
Old Iron Town
Location: Cedar City
Old Iron Town is located west of Cedar City, and is situated among some current residents. The buildings that remain are from an old mining site. The main feature is the amazing beehive oven. The location was beautiful in early evening, and there were lots of old mining relics to see.
Osiris Ghost Town
Location: Near Bryce Canyon
On a trip to Bryce Canyon National Park, we took the scenic route and stopped at the Osiris Ghost Town. This ghost town has a few homes, and a large mill that once supported the community. This town sits right next to the river, and is a great stop on a longer trip.
Grafton Ghost Town
Location: Near Zion National Park
If you head to Zion National Park, you should definitely make the short drive over to Grafton. This ghost town has been refurbished and has a schoolhouse, and a few homes. The scenery is beautiful, and the interpretive signs tell about this cotton town that flourished until it was flooded by the Virgin River.
Bonus: Ophir Historical Site
Location: near Tooele
This site is a little bit different than the others because it isn’t a true ghost town. There are still residents living in Ophir, but the historic site was created around the ghost town buildings. Ophir buildings are only open on Saturdays from May to September, but they are worth a visit if you are interested in ghost towns and history in Utah.
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There is another ghost town in Silver Reef in Washington County, Utah about 15 miles northeast of St. George and 1 mile west of Leeds. Silver Reef was established after John Kemple, a prospector from Nevada, discovered a vein of silver in a sandstone formation in 1866. There is a great museum in a building that used to be a Wells Fargo bank stagecoach stop that served as a saloon as well. They also have a mock mine that you can go through to see how the miners lived/worked during the day. There is a minimal fee for a tour, but well worth the time and money to learn a little Utah history. The docents are wonderful and very well informed! Great for families, toddlers to teens.
This sounds like one to put on our list! Thanks for the tip!