Adventures Await at these Ghost Towns in Utah

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Ghost Towns in Utah—A preserved look into the past

There are many, many fun outdoor adventures to be had in Utah. You can take the family hiking though the Narrows at Zion National Park, walk around Salt Lake City, or head up to Moab and Arches National Park.

No matter where you go in Utah, chances are you’ll be traveling the state by car.

One of the best ways to see the history of Utah on your way to and from hikes is to pull off the highway and see the ghost towns of Utahans past.

Ghost towns in Utah are unique compared to other Southwestern states since many of these towns were founded as religious settlements, but not all of them.

No matter what, a drive through Utah will certainly have stops to pique your interest.


Grafton, Utah
Source: Frank am Main/Flickr

Out near Zion you’ll find the last remains of Grafton, a town originally settled by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints meant to produce cotton for other Mormons.

The settlement only lasted with residents for about seven years, from 1859 to 1866, before the crops were washed away and residents began having issues with members of the Black Hawk tribe.

Grafton was a filming location for “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” which now makes a photo with the remaining adobe schoolhouse a highly sought-after vacation picture.

“Russian Settlement”

A town without an official name in Northwest Utah, “Russian Settlement” was another religious settlement, but this time for Russian Christians. The town did not last long since the land was mostly inhabitable, but visitors today can see foundations and a still-remaining picket white fence. 

Nine Mile Canyon and Harper

Nine Mile Canyon, Utah (36)
Source: Ken Lund/Flickr

Head to Central Utah to find the world’s longest art gallery, a showing of ancient art and images carved into Nine Mile Canyon! These images date back to 400 CE to 1400 CE and many of the images depict wildlife you’d see in the area—lizards, birds, even bison.

Also, in the canyon is the remain of Harper, an old stagecoach stop. If you do see arrowheads or pottery, it is against the law to take these artifacts home, please leave them where they were found.


Frisco Ghost Town, Utah
Source: Bureau of Land Management/Flickr.

A fine example of what mining was like in Utah, Frisco may seem like an odd settlement since there is no water source and the land is not easy to get around on.

It wasn’t easy to live in either—there was more than 20 saloons in the town and at one point, the miners were so rowdy there was a murder a day!

Visitors can walk around abandoned structures and old mining equipment. You can also check out the old stone kilns used to extract metals from the natural ores mined in the area.

Utah is full of natural beauty that has lured explores and pioneers in for decades. Making time to stop in one of the old ghost towns will bring a sense of wonder and adventure to your already beautiful and fun hiking trip.

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