How Many Ghost Towns Are In New Mexico?


With a population of over 2 million, the state of New Mexico has an astonishing amount of ghost towns.

New Mexico is estimated to have over 500 ghost towns. Of those 500 or more ghost towns, only a select few can be recognized and explored. The majority of New Mexico’s ghost towns are barren and lost to the land. 

Knowing most of New Mexico’s ghost towns are just a piece of history that developed the state, some ghost towns seem to have been frozen in time.

Chloride, New Mexico

Located in the southwestern county of Sierra, Chloride started as a mining community after chlorargyrite was found in the banks along a stream. Chlorargyrite is also known as silver chloride, giving the community an easy name to remember. Chloride grew large enough a post office was established and continued operating until its final days in 1956.

Chloride, New Mexico witnessed a tremendous economic boost in the 1880s after Harry Pye, a mule skinner and prospector, discovered silver while delivering fright for the U.S. Army in 1879. Once Pye’s delivery contract was completed with the Army in 1881, he and two other individuals staked a claim in the land where the silver was first found.

The initial tent city was named Pyetown, to honor Harry Pye, then changed to Bromide, and finally ended with the name Chloride related to the silver chloride that was being mined. Chloride became the center of mining activity in the area that became the Apache Mining District. The community evolved from a tent city to a town with 100 homes, a population of approximately 3,000 at its peak, nine saloons, three general stores, boarding houses, a doctor’s office, a stage line, lawyer’s office, butcher shops, a candy store, and even a newspaper known as The Black Ranger.

Having mined around $500,000 in silver and ore, the town was well on its way to becoming even larger and more well-known than it was. However, the Apache Indians did not appreciate what the miners were doing to the land and became the biggest threat to their further success. In one of Chloride’s attacks, it is believed the founder Harry Pye was murdered when his gun jammed, and he suffered from fatal wounds.

The town could have continued to grow, mine, and find success even as the founder had been killed in an attack, but when the prices of silver dropped substantially in 1893, the town realized they could no longer profit and sustain a financially stable life.

Today, the population of Chloride is around 20 people that include many descendants of the original founders. Most of the buildings are owned by a married couple residing in the town with the intention to restore what can be repaired and use one of the general stores as a museum for tourists. There are two cemeteries and a 200-year-old tree in the middle of town known as the “Hanging Tree.” The “Hanging Tree” served as the town’s “jail” where anyone who became too rowdy would be tied to until they saw the error of their ways. If you are looking for a place to stay and explore the area around Chloride, including the Gila National Forest, The Apache Kid RV Park on the west end of town has five spaces available.

Dawson, New Mexico

Founded in 1901, Dawson, New Mexico became a coal mining town after John Barkley Dawson sold his coal-rich ranch land to the Dawson Fuel Company. By 1905, the town’s population was near 2,000 and even had a railway connecting Dawson and Tucumcari.

In 1906, the Phelps Dodge Corporation purchased Dawson’s mines and built homes, department stores, movie theaters, and hospitals to attract mine workers. The town’s population grew from 2,000 upwards to 9,000. There were ten mines in Dawson. The mines were numbered 1-10 and went by either “Stag Canyon #” or “Dawson Mine #.” Over 6,000 feet of an electric-powered railway was used to connect the mines through entries or underground lines. Rail cars would be loaded inside the mines, taken outside, and transported to facilities in Dawson. Mines 5 and 7 connected through an underground line to mines 1-4 and 6. Mines 8-10 were connected to each other but not to the other seven.

There were two disasters in Dawson that unfortunately led to the shutdown and end of a once-thriving community. The first disaster to hit was on October 22, 1913, when an explosion occurred in Stag Canyon Mine #2. The blast was so strong it could be felt two miles away in the town. The cause of the explosion was determined to be from a dynamite charge being set off while the mine was in operation.  The dynamite charge resulted in coal dust being ignited. Setting off a dynamite charge while in operation was a major violation of mining safety laws. Two hundred eighty-six men went to work in mine #2 that morning, 263 died in the mine, only 23 survived, and two rescuers were killed during the rescue effort. After the explosion, the other nine mines remained in production while mine two was inactive.

Not quite ten years later, on February 8, 1923, Stag Canyon Mine #1 suffered a devastating explosion. When a mine car derailed, trees were hit and fell onto the electric trolley cables resulting in sparks that ignited coal dust from mine #1. Many of the 123 men that died in mine one’s explosion were the offspring of those lost in mine two’s explosion years prior. The eight mines left after the second explosion continued production until the Phelps Dodge Corporation closed smaller mines as demand declined and ultimately shut down all operations in 1950.

The entire town was sold after the shutdown was complete, buildings and all. Some of the miner’s homes and other buildings were moved to different locations where they continued work. Due to the property owner’s liability concerns, the tall smokestacks that once stood tall were demolished in the early 2000s. There are a few structures and foundations left that can still be seen of what use to be. Still, the most significant historical mark is the Dawson Cemetery, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Red Hill, New Mexico

Located on the western border in an area known as the Quemado volcanic field, is the town of Red Hill, New Mexico. Red Hill’s town started with a gold rumor in 1836 when a prospector narrowly made it into Pinos Altos’ village after receiving multiple arrow wounds that left him near death.

Before dying, he briefly described the area where he came from as a red hill surrounded by gold. The people listening to the prospector’s claim opened his knapsack to find a fortune in gold. Very few details outside of the red hill and the gold were shared as the prospector died from his wounds.

It is unsure whether the prospector’s story was true or not. The gold in the knapsack was physically present; however, the place he was trying to describe was never found. A post office was established and operated from 1935 to 1957. Red Hill became known as a ranching and lumbering community but never a gold hot spot.

Creepy Ghost Towns of New Mexico

Home of the successful Bridal-Chamber mine, Lake Valley, New Mexico was a well-known spot on the map for silver mining. The Bridal-Chamber mine was the home of 2.5 million ounces of silver mined while the town was operational. In 1893, as silver prices started to drop drastically, Lake Valley began to fall apart. In 1895, a saloon fire spread through town and destroyed most buildings in less than one hour. Lake Valley was officially uninhabited in 1974 when the final resident died.

If you are a fan of true crime stories, Elizabethtown, New Mexico might be a name you have heard before. Elizabethtown, also known as E-Town, started in 1866 as gold was found in the Mystic Copper Mine. E-Town was the first incorporated town in New Mexico, founded by Captain William H Moore and named after his daughter Elizabeth.

In 1870, the town reached over 7,000 residents, but sadly by 1872, only 100 or so remained. As gold mining became less prosperous in the Mystic Copper Mine and the county seat was moved from Elizabethtown to Cimarron, the residents moved on. A fire in 1903 destroyed most of the town. By 1917, the remaining residents left when the mines declined even further.

The serial killer, Charles Kennedy, lived in a cabin between E-Town and Taos. As travelers were moving between towns, Charles would offer his cabin as lodging and invite them in to dine and rest. A confession from Charles Kennedy’s wife stated that he would then rob and murder his guests. It is estimated he may have killed 14 or more people. When word got out that Charles’s lawyer was planning to buy his freedom, townspeople gathered to ensure there was justice and drug him by a rope behind a horse until he died.

Cuervo, New Mexico, is one of the largest ghost towns in New Mexico. The town is said to have an eerie vibe to it as many buildings remain, but the people seem to be missing. Cuervo started as a railroad town and believed it would later benefit from being part of the famous Route 66. Unfortunately, being a part of Route 66 is what ultimately ended the town’s existence. Rather than being alongside the main roadway, Route 66 found its way directly through the center of the town, resulting in the residents relocating and leaving behind the now lifeless homes and buildings.

Golden, New Mexico, offered the first gold rush west of the Mississippi River. The town of Golden was established in 1879 and hosted its own stock exchange. Less than 50 years after being founded, the town was declining. By 1928, the post office was closed, and only one business remained operational, the Golden General Merchandise Store that was opened in 1918. Today the General Merchandise Store is known as Henderson Store, selling Southwestern arts and crafts. The Catholic Church was restored in 1960.

List of Ghost Towns in New Mexico:

This is a list of other ghost towns in New Mexico that are classified as a ghost town, but I was unable to find any information about them.

Abo
Abreu
Acme
Acoma
Acomita
Adams Diggings
Adberg
Adelina
Aden
Adobe (Roosevelt County)
Adobe (Socorro County)
Afton
Agua De Lobo
Agua Fria
Agua Negra
Agudo
Ahmigo
Airolo
Akela
Alamocita
Albemarle
Alcatraz
Alellen
Aleman
Alhambra
Alire
Allen
Allerton
Allie
Allison (Grant County)
Allison (Mckinley County)
Alma
Altamont
Alumina
Amado
Amalia
Amizette
Amoles
Anal
Analco
Analla
Ancho
Anchor
Andrews
Angus
Anniston
Annville
Ansonio
Arabella
Aragon
Arch
Armijo
Arrey
Assiter
Ballejos
Banks
Barton
Beauty
Belcher
Bennett
Benson
Bethel
Bibo
Billy The Kid Spring
Birchville
Black Hawk
Blossburg
Bluewater
Bluitt
Boaz
Bogle-Coyote
Bonanza City
Bonito City
Borica
Box Lake
Brackett
Bradshaw
Bramlett
Breece
Brice
Brick
Brilliant
Brownhorn
Bryan
Bryantine
Buchanan
Bursum
Bynam
Byried
Cambray
Cameo
Canoncito
Cantara (Curry County)
Cantara (Roosevelt County)
Canton
Carbonateville
Carlisle
Carr
Carter
Carthage
Casaus
Catskill
Causey
Center
Center Point
Cerrillos
Chamberino
Chance City
Charlotte
Chaves
Chico
Chililli
Chiz
Cienega
Cimarron
Clarkville
Claudell
Clifton
Closson
Coalora
Colfax
Collins Park
Colmor
Colonias
Columbus
Cone
Cooks Peak
Coolidge
Cooper
Copper City
Copperton
Correo
Cottonwood
Council Rock
Coyote
Cromer
Cuervo
Cutter
Dale
David
Dayton
De Vargas
Deep Lake
Delphos
Dereno
Derry
Deseo
Diener
Dolores
Dorsey
Doss
Douglas
Doyle
Dripping Springs
Dunken
Dunlap
Duran
Dwyer
Eaglehill
Earlham
East Valley View
Eiland
El Moro
Elkins
Elva
Emery
Emzy
Encinoso
England
Engle
Estey City
Fairfield
Fairview
Farley
Faulkner
Faywood Hot Springs
Felix
Ferry
Fertile Valley
Field
Fiero

Fillmore
Fleming
Florence
Folsom
Fort Fillmore
Fort Selden
Fort Stanton
Fort Thorne
Fort Webster
Frazier
French
Friendship
Frisco
Fullerton
Galena
Gallego
Gamerco
Gardiner
Garrison
Genova
Georgetown
Gibson
Givens
Gladiola
Glen
Glen-Woody
Globe
Glorieta
Gold Dust
Gold Hill
Golden
Gould
Grafton
Graham
Granada
Granite Gap
Granite Valley
Gray
Greenfield
Greigos
Grier
Haag
Hachita
Haile
Hanover
Hansburg
Havener
Hawikuh Ruins
Hawkins
Hebran
Heck
Helweg
Hematite
Henry
Hermanas
Herrera
Hickman
Highlonesome
Highway
Hill
Hillsboro
Hilton
Hollene
Holloway
Honea
Horsesprings
Hurlburt
Inez
Ingleville
Ingram
Isidore
Jackson
Jalarosa
Jenkins
Jewett
Jicarilla
Johnson Mesa
Jonesville
Jornada
Joseph
Juan Tafoya
Juan Tomas
Judson
Kemp
Kenna
Kennedy
Kent
Kentucky Valley
Kermit
Kettner
King
Kingston
Kiowa
Knowles
Koehler
Krider
La Bajada
La Belle
La Lande
La Liendre
La Union
La Ventana
Lacy
Ladd
Lake Van
Langston
Langton
Las Palomas
Leach
Leasburg
Legansville
Leon
Leopold
Lewis
Lewiston
Lincoln
Lingo
Liston
Loma Parda
Lon
Longs
Lookout
Los Pinos
Louis
Lucas
Lucky
Lynn
Macy
Madison
Madrid
Magdalena
Malone
Mangas
Mann
Manzano
Marion
Massey
Mccarty
Mcgaffey
Meek
Meloche
Mesa
Mesquite
Micho
Midnight
Minco
Mineral City
Modoc
Monterey
Monticeiio
Montoya
Moquino
Mt. Vernon
Nara Visa
Navajo
Need
New Hope
Nobe
Nutt
Oak Grove
Oak Spring
Ochoa
Oden
Ogle
Oklahoma
Old Hatchita
Orchard Park
Organ
Oriental
Orogrande
Osha
Otero (Colfax County)
Otero (Valencia County)
Otis
Otowi
Paako
Pacquate-Paguate
Page
Painter
Pajarito (Bernalillo County)
Pajarito (Lincoln County)

Paradise Plains
Paraje
Park City
Parsons
Paschal
Patterson
Paxton Springs
Pearl
Pearson
Pep
Perea (Bernalillo County)
Perea (McKinley County)
Perry
Perryville
Phillipsburg
Piedra Lumbre
Pina
Pinos Wells
Pintada
Pioneer
Pittsburg (Sierra County)
Placita
Plainview (Lea County)
Plainview (Roosevelt County)
Plateau
Platero
Playas
Pleasant Hill
Pleasant Ridge
Pleasant Valley
Pleasanton
Plomo
Ponil Park
Portales Springs
Prairieview
Pratt
Preston
Prices Chapel
Pueblito
Pyramid
Quarai
Queen
Quiletes
Rabenton
Rael
Rancho
Ranchvale
Ranger Lake
Red Lake
Red River
Redland
Reyado
Ricardo
Richland
Richmond
Riddle
Riley
Ritchey
Roadforks
Roberts
Robinson (Colfax County)
Robinson (Sierra County)
Robuck
Rock Lake
Rodey
Roebuck
Rogers
Roller
Rosebud
Rosedale
Royal John
Sacramento City
Salt Lake
San Albino
San Antonio
San Augustine
San Jose
San Geronimo
San Ignacio
San Lorenzo
San Marcial
San Miguel
San Pedro (Santa Fe County)
San Pedro (Socorro County)
Sawyer
Schroeder
Seama
Senorito
Shady Grove
Shandon
Sherman
Slagle
Smith
South Spring
Southfork
Southside
Spellmans Chapel
Spindle
Spur Lake
Star
Stegman
Stocktons
Strauss
Sublette
Sugarite
Sulphur
Sunnyside
Sunshine
Suwanee
Swamp
Swartz
Swastika
Sweetwater
Sylvanite
Tafoya
Taft
Tandy
Tartop
Taylor Springs
Teel
Telegraph
Telles
Tererro
Therma
Thorne
Thornham
Tierra Amarilla
Tierra Blanca
Tierra Blanca
Tingle
Tokay
Tolar
Tomerlin
Totavi
Towner
Trails End
Trammell
Trechado
Trementina
Tres Lagunas
Trinchera
Troy
Turner
Unico
Union
Union Valley
Upton
Urton
Valedon
Valencia
Valley Center
Valley View
Valmont
Van Houten
Vaughn
Vaur-Leon
Vera Cruz
Vernon
Victoria
Virginia City
Vocant
Waldo
Walnut Wells
Warren
Water Valley
Watrous
Westwater
White Oaks
Whitfield
Willow
Willow Springs
Winston
Wooten
Yankee
Yates
Yeso
Yrisarri
Zamora
Zapata
Zoar

New Mexico Ghost Town Books on Amazon

Jason Smith

Former Marine, IT Guy & Builder of Websites.  I have 5 US states left to visit. I enjoy hot springs, adventures, hiking, photography, sci-fi, wine, coffee & whiskey.  I am fluent in sarcasm, name that tune, & speak in movie quotes.  I spend most of my time building websites, fixing computers, metal detecting, magnet fishing and gaming occasionally.

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