Ghost Towns and Mining Haunts

 Photo of  abandoned house

Image courtesy of Daniel Ter-Nedden  (

The endless pinging of picks on rocks, tired snorts of resistant mules, voices hushed by the screech of metal wheels on steel rails...sounds swirling with dead leaves in winds that howl around the skeletal structures of supply towns and mining camps. Now only the cawing of magpies and the chatter of hungry "camp robbing" jays break the silence.


The GMUG National Forest is in the heart of old mining camps and supply towns located in some of the west's most extreme terrain! We can only imagine the  strength, and determination that powered men and (some women) to venture into the Rocky Mountains building roads, tunnels, mills, and mining towns,  encountering trecherous conditions, and physical hardships to pursue their fortunes. 

Many of the mining structures and towns sites, are not located on the National Forest or public lands but in most places visitors can view them from a distance or walk to them. Please be respectful of private property and  "leave no trace" -  leave things where you find them! Engage your imagination, absorb the inspiring yet harsh surroundings, and take a step back in time!  

old boarding house building  

View from a short distance, the boarding house for the Gold King Miners in the town of Alta. More on Alta townsite structures.

abandoned private home

Scramble between the shadows created by the cabins and homes standing at the Ironton townsite. More on Ironton's history. Image courtesy of Daniel Ter-Nedden (  

photo of cememtray headstone

One of several headstones in the Irwin Cemetary. This headstone marks the grave of Mary Brambough who lived in Irwin and died in 1881 at age seventeen. More on the Ruby and Irwin Communities.

More ghost towns and mining sites....



Interested in learning more about the historic sites on our forest? 

Step back in time, and visit our Special Heritage Places!