Goldfield Ghost Town: A Day Trip Getaway to the Old West Adventure
Goldfield Ghost Town is a popular destination for families and travelers, and Backpack Pat is here to guide you through the perfect, fun-filled adventure! From parking tips, favorite attractions, and historical fun facts, Backpack Pat is your tour guide to all things in and around Apache Junction.
Ever have a desire to experience the true old west? Did you know that we have a premier experience right here in our backyard? A fun day trip from Phoenix, Goldfield Ghost Town (Goldfield), located on State Route 88 (Arizona 88) northeast of Apache Junction, is a tried-and-true old west mining town that saw its booming heydays during the gold rush of the 1800s.
Goldfield Ghost Town: Old West Adventure
Despite the drop of residents and gold seekers, the town went through cycles of thriving to diving as it was an overnight stop for passengers heading out west. However today, hundreds of thousands of locals and tourists flock to Goldfield every year to experience what it was like on the western frontier in one of the best ghost towns. And its location makes it an ideal day trip for families from Phoenix, being only 35 minutes away.
Nowadays, Goldfield Ghost Town has an eclectic main street adorned with over a dozen historic and replicated buildings which operate as part museum, part immersive experience and is filled with plenty of modern novelties such as a coffee cantina, ice cream store, restaurants and several gift shops.
Arriving to Goldfield Ghost Town
When I arrived at Goldfield, I easily found free parking even in their large lot adjacent to Arizona 88. One could see this fun ghost town is a major destination as numerous out-of-state license plates can be spotted in the parking lot which showcases the lure of the old west as a prime day trip destination from Phoenix and other major cities.
On a special note, you can bring your own water into Goldfield Ghost Town if you need to and there is an area to picnic before going into the town, but I do recommend trying some of the local fare and be sure to tip the staff as they worked very fast to get all of the guests their items in a timely manner.
Exploring Goldfield’s Main Street
When approaching Goldfield Ghost Town’s main street, I made a beeline straight to the bakery/coffee shop as I know I needed a little extra energy to experience all that Goldfield has to offer. Their iced coffee drinks were fresh, delicious and helped get the day started on the right foot.
Walking around Goldfield’s main street will bring you back in time as you will see all of the fabled buildings that makes up the actual town such as the local jail, church, saloon and more. And with the Superstition Mountains in the background, you will certainly get the sense of the western spirit that cannot be recreated anywhere else. Moreover, immersing yourself in all the attractions will elevate your experience of this fun Arizona ghost town, and brings the old west to a whole new level.
Top Attractions in Goldfield Ghost Town
While visiting Goldfield, I experienced the Mystery Shack, Goldfield Mine Tour, and Goldfield History Museum as I wanted to feel what it was like to live and work in this formerly bustling mining town. Each ghost town attraction listed on their website does identify the cost of individual admission to help visitors know what to expect before walking up to each entrance. Experiencing each of the above-mentioned attractions in this fun Arizona ghost town was everything I thought it would be and more as patrons are guided through many of the attractions with a professional tour guide.
Goldfield Mine Tour
The most iconic guided attraction is the Goldfield Mine Tour where a group of attendees are taken underground into a portion of the former mine. While down there, the guide would talk about the life of a miner in Goldfield, and how they had to work the mine in order to extract the materials.
One particular factoid that stuck out during the Goldfield Mine Tour was the notion that each miner was given a candle to help light up their area of the mine and they had to be careful not to have the candle blow out or otherwise they would be working in the dark.
If you want to defy everything you know about gravity and physics, then visit the Mystery Shack in Goldfield Ghost Town. As one of Goldfield’s most popular attractions, your eyes will deceive you when the tour guide showcases the nuances of the shack. Honestly, the Mystery Shack is hard to write about, so you might have to take a day trip down Arizona 88 and go on the tour to see for yourself.
Places to Eat in Goldfield Ghost Town
After experiencing some of the attractions around Goldfield Ghost Town, I worked up an appetite and headed over to their iconic Mammoth Steak House and Saloon, one of the most popular places to eat in the town. Go through the old-fashioned double saloon doors and you will see a huge two-story dining area filled with nostalgic items hanging from the rafters and walls such as used cowboy boots by the bar, paintings of the western frontier and wagon wheels.
Mammoth Steak House and Saloon is busy on the weekends so be sure to wait a little to get served, but once seated, you will see a wide assortment of food and beverage items, including spirited beverages for the adults in the group.
More Things to Do in Goldfield
After lunch, I spent the rest of the morning and part of the afternoon walking around Goldfield Ghost Town, amongst the staff dressed in period-correct clothing, watching the gun shootout at high noon, and seeing several tools that were used to make life on the western frontier a little more bearable, remember, there was no air conditioning when Goldfield started out.
Looking back on the fun during my day trip to Goldfield, I don’t think I have a favorite as everything was so neat, filled with history and the experiences helped me want to know more about life in the gold rush era.
What Sets Goldfield Apart from Other Old West Attractions
So, what makes Goldfield stand out compared to other old west attractions? It’s the close proximity to Phoenix on Arizona 88. In fact, Goldfield is just a quick 35-minute drive from Phoenix, making it the ideal day trip for families. Mix that with an array of gun shootouts, grandiose views of the Superstition Mountains, and a spirit of the old west that you can only feel in-person.
Additionally, it is hard to fathom, but it is free to park at Goldfield Ghost Town, free to get into the town, and free to watch the gun shootouts which happen every 60 minutes from noon to four.
There are attractions within the Goldfield Ghost Town that do cost money, but trust me, it is worth the extra few dollars to hear from the staff and, walk through rustic buildings and mines to learn how different life was 100+ years ago.
Goldfield Ghost Town is a great day trip option with kids or even a ghoulish date night as there are ghost tours offered at night for an additional fee – it is a popular ghost town in Arizona and the west, after all. I do suggest checking with the staff before paying to go into certain buildings as there might be some age-sensitive topics, but the vast majority of all the Goldfield’s attractions cater to all ages and groups.
What are you waiting for? Hop into the car and go and feel the spirit of the west at Goldfield Ghost Town.
- March 27, 2023
- Comments Off on Goldfield Ghost Town: A Day Trip Getaway to the Old West Adventure