Among the Land of Enchantment’s many hidden secrets are the remains of New Mexico’s once-bustling mining towns. We’re referring to the nearly 400 ghost towns in NM! The traces of these communities have created a phenomenon like no other and contain whispers of past lives. From Billy the Kid to Russian Bill to Harry Pye, the stories that remain in each town are full of adventure and historical lure.
For more things to do and places to visit during your journey through New Mexico, request our free customized New Mexico Itinerary. With our carefully planned guide, you’ll have the best New Mexico activities right at your fingertips.
Top Ghost Towns in NM to Explore on Your Next Trip
Historic Chloride New Mexico
The town of Chloride, NM, came about when Englishman Harry Pye first lay claim to the land in 1881. During its heyday, the silver-mining town had approximately 2,000 inhabitants. Now, visitors of this ghost town in NM can stop by the Old Pioneer Store Museum, the 200-year-old hanging tree, and the Monte Cristo Saloon and Dance Hall. The best part? You can visit this unique town on your way to the ranch! Located just 7 minutes off Route 52, you can easily take a side trip before or after your visit to the ranch. Looks for the signs to Historic Chloride as you pass through the small town of Winston.
Shakespeare Ghost Town
Although it began as Mexican Springs and later became changed its name to Grant, Shakespeare, NM, finally settled on its name in 1879. Rumor has it that during its silver-mining days, the town was home to Billy the Kid and a few notorious cattle raiders, including Russian Bill and Sandy King. Since its heyday, Shakespeare, NM, has been declared a National Historic Site and is preserved by the Shakespeare Foundation as a symbol of the authentic Old West.
In 1877, upon the discovery of gold at nearby area mines, the town of Hillsboro, NM, was founded. During the height of the gold rush, the area’s mines produced more than $6 million in silver and gold. At the time, the town was booming, and it had a population of 1,200 people. Today the historic town is a quiet, charming, and peaceful retreat for artists, writers, and ranchers. Within the town limits, you’ll find numerous historic sites, including the Edmund Tittman House, the Union Hotel’s former site, and the town’s courthouse and jail ruins.
Lake Valley Historic Townsite
In 1876, Lake Valley, NM, was full of hustle. At the time, prospectors had found silver deposits in the land and paved the way to produce 5.8 million ounces of silver. In 1994 the town’s final resident moved away, making it another ghost town in New Mexico. Today a few buildings remain, and Lake Valley, NM, has become a designated archaeological dig site. Visitors can take a self-guided walking tour through the recently restored schoolhouse and chapel from Monday through Thursday.
Stay at Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch
Pair your trip through New Mexico’s best ghost towns with a stay at Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch. At the ranch, you will learn about more local history including a tin mining encampment in a nearby canyon during the 1930s-1940s. Exploring that same canyon, which we have named the “Dwelling Canyon”, you will discover shelters built by Basque Sheepherders 100 years ago and cliff dwellings built by the Mimbres people 1,000 years ago! During your stay at the ranch, you can share all your fascinating ghost town tales around the campfire, explore the Gila National Forest on horseback, and discover more of the history and wonder Southwest New Mexico has to offer!
Our all-inclusive ranch getaways are the perfect way to travel because they feature everything from meals to accommodations to activities. This way, all you have to do is show up and make lasting memories. From March through November, we host up to 16 guests at a time and pair every visitor with the perfect horse for their daily excursions.
Southwest New Mexico is waiting! Request your custom itinerary and embark on the adventure of a lifetime!