Times change, and the many ghost towns dotting the United States are a reflection of that. In the Appalachian mountains, many communities died out as the coal mines were abandoned, while in the West many towns were abandoned after the gold or silver ran out. Other communities were abandoned due to urbanization and other circumstances.
Today there are plenty of ghost towns to discover all over the country. Some of the ghost towns are protected and impressive, while others have largely disappeared, and there is little more than the cemeteries left. Here are the most remarkable ghost towns in the United States that are very remote.
10 Bodie, California: One Of The Best Preserved Ghost Towns In The US
Bodie Ghost Town California
Bodie is one of the most famous ghost towns in the United States and is protected as a state park of California. It is located in the high desert in a remote part of the state right on the state line with Nevada. While many of the buildings have been lost to fires and time, the collection of buildings at Bodie is very impressive, and visitors really feel like they are in the Wild West.
9 Aurora, Nevada: A Town Lost To History
Aurora Ghost Town, Nevada
Just over the mountains from Bodie in Nevada is the ghost town of Aurora. Aurora is remarkable as it was once one of the largest towns in Nevada, with a population of around 15,000, and it was visited by Mark Twain. Today, there is little left of the town except for the cemetery. Aurora stands in stark contrast to its well-preserved neighbor, Bodie.
8 Bannack, Montana: A Well-Preserved Wild West Town
Bannack Ghost Town, Montana
Head up to Montana, and one of the best ghost towns to explore is the Old West town of Bannack. The buildings are protected and well-maintained. Come during Halloween and see the ghost town once again come alive as the locals dress up in Halloween costumes in the town.
7 Berlin: Where Ichthyosaurs & Ghost Towns Come Together
Berlin–Ichthyosaur State Park, Berlin, Nevada
Remote in the deserts of Nevada is the forgotten ghost town of Berlin, which is among the best ghost towns in the US to visit. Like many old abandoned mining towns, not much is left of the town, although some buildings remain. What is special about this ghost town is that one of its main attractions is the fossils of Ichthyosaurs – ancient marine reptiles from the times of the dinosaurs.
6 St Thomas: The Mormon Town Claimed By Lake Mead
St Thomas Desert Town
St. Thomas was founded as a Mormon ghost town that was initially abandoned as a result of a tax dispute. After it was found, the town was actually in a different state than previously thought. Later, new settlers moved in, but they too were compelled to leave due to the rising waters of Lake Mead after the construction of the Hoover Dam. Today, St. Thomas reemerges when the waters are low.
5 Thurmond: A Coal Mining Ghost Town Of West Virginia
Old Buildings At Thurmond
West Virginia is full of old coal mining ghost towns, but what makes Thurmond special is that it is owned by the National Park Service and used as their base for the New Gorge National Park (America’s newest national park). Today, visitors and see the old train depot and learn about what the coal mining years of the 1800s were like remote in the Appalachians.
4 Monowi: Population – One
Monowi Ghost Town In Nebraska
Monowi is famous as a ghost town in Nebraska as it is an incorporated village with a population of one. The sole remaining resident of Monowi is the elderly woman, Elsie Eiler, who keeps the town running by electing herself, paying taxes to the town, issuing herself a liquor license, etc. She continues to operate a bar for anyone who would like to visit.
3 Chaco: See Ancient Great Ancestral Pueblo Houses
Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Culture National Historical Park
When most people think of ghost towns in the United States, they think of European settlements. But the lands of what is now the United States are full of ghost towns from the peoples who went before. One of the best examples is the Great Houses of the Chaco Valley. These were the largest houses in the United States for hundreds of years and remain well-preserved today.
2 Vulture City: Arizona’s Eeriest Ghost Town
Arizona Ghost Town Vulture City – Abandoned building & Rusted Old Car
Vulture City is one of the best ghost towns to explore in the Southwest. It is a privately owned ghost town and a great place to learn about the days of the Wild West of the region. Its story sounds like an Old West novel filled with Apache raids, stagecoach robberies, lawlessness, and more.
1 Scull Shoals: A Town Reclaimed By Forests
Blue Ridge Mountains in North Georgia
It can be more interesting when one must hike to visit a ghost town. Unlike the ghost towns of the Western deserts, the ghost towns of the East Coast tend to be reclaimed by forests. Scull Shoals in the state of Georgia is an Appalachian ghost town lost in the forest that hikers need to hike to in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest.