The Goldfield Ghost Town is an abandoned mining town from the late 1800’s just outside of Phoenix, Arizona on the Apache Trail. The town has been revived as a living museum and historic attraction, full adventures and entertainment. Visitors enjoy a main street full of shops and attractions, tour the abandoned gold mine, and learn about the town’s history at the Goldfield Historic Museum.
The Goldfield Historic Museum is located in an old main street shop and hosts exhibits on the town’s history, including the famous Lost Dutchman goldmine, believed to be located nearby in the Superstition Mountains. The legend of the hidden mine survives, and each year, several treasure hunters comb the mountains with clues looking for its location. The museum’s second floor offers a Western film exhibit, with a focus on Westerns filmed in the area along the Apache Trail and at Superstition Mountain. Tours of the mine itself last approximately 25 minutes. Guides take guests deep into the 100-year old mine shafts while highlighting the history of the town and the western gold rush.
Along Main Street visitors can pan for gold at the Prospector’s Palace, where gold historians explain best techniques and the history of gold finds in the area. Those panning for gold get to keep their finds, small slivers of gold, in a souvenir cup that comes with the activity. A tour of Lulu’s Bordello captures the history of women in Goldfield, many of whom left families on the east coast behind to strike it rich in the West. The Mystery Shack is a ghostly attraction that seems to defy the laws of gravity, while the Eagle Eye Gallery offers shooting games for all ages. Just outside the main town is the Superstition Reptile Exhibit, which displays live reptiles and invertebrates native the area, such as rattlesnakes, Gila monsters, scorpions and centipedes.
A 1.5-mile train track circles the town for a 20-minute roundtrip ride on the Superstition Scenic Narrow Gauge Railroad. The historic rail line is the only one of its kind in Arizona and offers rides aboard a passenger car pulled by a Plymouth diesel, while the conductor presents the history of the town, the Superstition Mountains and the surrounding area, including a talk on the native plants and wildlife.
Adventure activities include hourly or full day trail rides through the iconic mountains upon horses from the O.K. Corral Stables. With Apache Trail Tours, visitors can enjoy either gentle, scenic jeep rides through the surrounding desert or a rugged off-road adventure. The newest attraction, the Superstition Zip Line offers a controlled descent in a two-person seat from the mountains over the town, allowing for a safe bird’s eye view of Goldfield.
History: Goldfield grew quickly during the gold rush of the late 1800’s as a mining town with facilities to support workers at the gold mine. After a rich gold ore was found in 1892, the town sprang up and was fully operating with a three saloons, a brewery, general store, boarding house, blacksmith, school and post office by 1893. Part of the allure of mining in the area was fueled by the legend of the Lost Dutchman mine, allegedly discovered in the Superstition Mountains by a German immigrant who was determined to keep its location a secret.
When the gold vein faulted, the town lost population just as quickly as it had grown. Through the early 1900’s, there were several attempts to reopen the mine, but none successful. The town was briefly reborn as Youngsberg between 1921 and 1925, when new mining technology opened the possibility of further excavations, but the revival did not last long, and the newly re-opened post office closed in 1930, making Goldfield officially a “ghost town.”
In the 1960’s, wild west enthusiast Robert F. “Bob” Schoose moved to the area with his wife, Lou Ann, and fell in love with the potential of owning his own ghost town. The couple purchased land in the area of the old Goldfield Mill and set about rebuilding the town.
Ongoing Programs and Education: The Goldfield Gun Fighters offer a weekend show along main street every hour. The volunteer re-enactors take great pride in their performance, and re-enact gunfights, cowboy and cowgirl antics, and the drama of the Wild West.
Many of the town’s attractions can be reserved for group visits, and the Mammoth Saloon, the main restaurant in town, offers catering packages for groups of 10 or more.
4650 N. Mammoth Mine Rd, Apache Junction, AZ 85119, Phone: 480-983-0333