Goldfield Ghost Town: A Journey Back in Time to the Wild West of Apache Junction, Arizona
Discover the rich history and exciting attractions of Goldfield Ghost Town, a popular tourist destination in Apache Junction, Arizona. This reconstructed Wild West town offers a glimpse into the past, complete with historic buildings, fascinating museums, and thrilling activities.
In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the history of this gold mining town, its rebirth as a tourist attraction, and the various activities and attractions that await visitors today.
The History of Goldfield Ghost Town
A Town Born from Gold
In the 1890s, the area around the Superstition Mountains and Goldfield Mountains experienced a significant gold strike, leading to the establishment of Goldfield Ghost Town. The town quickly grew, boasting 28 buildings, 4,000 residents, three saloons, a boarding house, a general store, a blacksmith shop, a brewery, a meat market, and a schoolhouse.
Unfortunately, the vein of gold eventually faulted, and the ore quality dropped. This led to the town’s slow and painful decline, with miners and residents leaving in search of better prospects.
Failed Revivals and a Ghost Town Reborn
Several attempts were made to reopen the mines and revive the town between 1910 and 1926, but these efforts were unsuccessful. Goldfield eventually became a ghost town, with its remaining buildings falling into disrepair.
However, in the 1980s, Robert F. “Bob” Schoose, a mining and treasure-hunting enthusiast, purchased the land and embarked on a mission to resurrect Goldfield as a tourist attraction.
Through painstaking reconstruction, the town was brought back to life, and today, it attracts visitors from around the world, eager to experience a piece of Arizona’s Wild West history.
Exploring Goldfield Ghost Town Today
The Authentic Wild West Experience
As you walk through the dusty streets of Goldfield Ghost Town, you’ll feel transported back to the 1800s. The town’s carefully reconstructed buildings and period-costumed characters create an immersive experience that will delight history buffs and Wild West enthusiasts alike.
In addition to the historic atmosphere, Goldfield offers numerous attractions and activities, ensuring that visitors of all ages will find something to enjoy.
Engaging Activities and Attractions
Goldfield Mine Tours
One of the most popular attractions at Goldfield Ghost Town is the underground mine tour.
For 25 minutes, knowledgeable guides will take you on a journey into the past, providing fascinating insights into the history of the mine and the mining techniques used during the town’s heyday.
Superstition Narrow Gauge Railroad
Another exciting activity at Goldfield is a ride on Arizona’s only narrow gauge train, the Superstition Narrow Gauge Railroad. This 20-minute train ride offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and desert landscape and a narrated history of Goldfield and the Superstition Mountains.
Don’t miss the Goldfield Gunfighters’ performances for a thrilling taste of the Wild West. These staged gunfights take place throughout the day, recreating the tension and excitement of a real Old West showdown. Watch as outlaws and lawmen square off in a thrilling battle that will leave you on the edge of your seat.
Goldfield Superstition Museum
The Goldfield Superstition Museum houses many artifacts related to the town’s history, mining, and the Superstition Mountains. One of the most popular exhibits is the Lost Dutchman Mine, a legendary gold mine believed to be hidden somewhere in the Superstition Mountains.
Additionally, the museum features Native American artifacts, exhibits about Western films shot in the area, and a Lost Dutchman Hunter Hall of Fame, showcasing notable figures who have searched for the elusive mine.
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The Mystery Shack
For a touch of mystery and intrigue, visit the Mystery Shack, a classic tourist attraction filled with optical illusions and perceptual distortions. Witness water running uphill, objects changing size, and a ghostly pool table that always directs balls to the same pocket.
Mammoth Mine Tour
Explore the underground world of the Mammoth Mine, where you’ll learn about late 19th-century ore extraction and processing techniques. This guided tour lasts less than half an hour, making it a perfect activity for visitors with limited time.
Superstition Reptile Exhibit
Get up close and personal with the scaly inhabitants of the Sonoran Desert at the Superstition Reptile Exhibit. This indoor attraction allows visitors to safely view a variety of snakes, lizards, and spiders while learning fascinating facts about these desert-dwelling creatures.
For adrenaline junkies, Goldfield Ghost Town offers an exciting zipline experience. Soar through the air and take in stunning views of the town, mountains, and desert landscape as you zip along the gold mine-themed line.
Horseback Riding and More
Adventure seekers can also enjoy horseback riding through the picturesque Superstition and Goldfield Mountain trails, with guided rides available for various skill levels and durations. Other activities at Goldfield include gold panning, gem sluicing, and off-roading trails, ensuring a fun-filled day for all visitors.
Shopping and Dining at Goldfield Ghost Town
Goldfield boasts a variety of shops and eateries that cater to both tourists and history enthusiasts. From the Time after Time Antique Photography studio to the Blue Nugget Indian jewelry and rock shop, there’s something for everyone.
Other shops include the Cactus Shoppe, Mother Lode Mercantile, Coffee Cantina & Bakery, and Siphon Draw Apothecary. For a hearty meal and a taste of the Old West, visit the Mammoth Steakhouse & Saloon, or enjoy a cold treat at the Miner’s Grill and Ice Cream Parlor.
Visiting Goldfield Ghost Town
Goldfield Ghost Town is located just 4.5 miles northeast of Apache Junction on the historic Apache Trail (SR-88). The town is open daily, with various attractions and shops operating from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the Mammoth Saloon open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. To learn more about Goldfield Ghost Town and plan your visit, check out their website at http://goldfieldghosttown.com.
Whether you’re a history buff, a Wild West enthusiast, or simply looking for a unique and entertaining experience, Goldfield Ghost Town is a must-visit destination in Apache Junction, Arizona.
With its rich history, engaging activities, and authentic atmosphere, this reconstructed ghost town offers a glimpse into a fascinating chapter of Arizona’s past. So saddle up, partner, and get ready to step back in time at Goldfield Ghost Town!