Old West Arizona: Ghost Towns and Mining Camps
Kingman, Arizona is a great place to learn about old west arizona. There are quaint museums in town as well as historic sites to visit within a days drive, both on and off road. Parts of Route 66 run through Kingman as well. This is an ideal roadtrip from the Las Vegas, Phoenix, or Flagstaff areas. The destinations on this road trip include Kingman, AZ, The Mohave Museum of History and Arts, The Route 66 Powerhouse Museum, Oatman AZ, Mineral Park, AZ, and Chloride, AZ. Several other opportunities exist for those willing to explore.
History, Museums, and Ghost Town Exploration
This road trip is an exploration of the history of the Kingman, AZ area. Several ghost towns, both living and dead, dot the desert landscape, hidden amongst the vastness. While the museums of Kingman and the living ghost towns of Oatman and Chloride offer easy access to Arizona's past, there are are many places which require discovery. Mineral Park and Cerbat, for example, are not marked on any major map. Only a few tattered remains still exist of these mining camps, but for those with the curiosity and reverence for times past, the discovery may be worth it.
Of course, you can just stick to the main roads. Visit the museums in Kingman. Stop at a diner along Route 66. Take a cruise to Oatman to feed the local burros, or head up to Chloride for some small town curiosities, hiking and camping.
Or you can head out to numerous areas to search for remnants of old towns, mines, and camps. You'll find the remains of houses and buildings, mine shafts, mining equipment, desert plants and wildlife. White Hills, Big Wash Road, Mineral Park, Cerbat, and Golden Valley all offer opportunities for exploration along US 93. Be wary of abandoned mines (see photo above right) and private property. DO NOT enter mines. Many are still privately owned and are not safe. Do your research before treading out to the desert. Some places like Big Wash Road are recommended for high clearance vehicles. Keep in mind that the ghost towns along US 93 are not touristy in any way. There are no signs pointing to the coolest attractions. These areas are for people willing to go out of there way for the chance to photograph a few tattered remains. If you aren't a "ghost towner", stick to Kingman, Oatman, and Chloride.
The Old West Arizona: Ghost Towns and Mining Camps road trip is an ideal 2 to 3 day road trip. The destinations on this route are spread out, so you must make adjustments for time based on your location.
On Day 1, you'll travel to Kingman, AZ to set up your first night's base camp. Visit the Route 66 Powerhouse Museum followed by the Mohave Museum of History and Arts. There are also several historic homes and points of interest in Kingman. Or you may choose to drive out to Oatman to feed the local burros who love taking carrots from tourists.
On Day 2 to 3, you're ready to explore the "outskirts". Now that've you've visited the museums in Kingman it's time to see some even smaller towns. Head out to Oatman if you didn't make it there yesterday, or head up US 93 to explore any of the several ghost towns on the way towards Las Vegas. Chloride, AZ is the largest of the ghost towns and offers local curiosities, hiking, and camping up Big Wash Road. The others require various amounts of exploration to find their remnants, which are few and far between. Explore as much as you can before heading home, or stay the night in Chloride or Kingman.
On Day 3, stop at Chloride if you're heading back towards Vegas, or any of the smaller Kingman historic sites, before heading home.