Abandoned Places in Arizona: Going through a global pandemic might be too late for some, but if you want to add an extra layer of dread to your life, then going through abandoned (and possibly haunted) places is for you. can Also, there is no better way to social distance. To help you explore the state’s most fascinating abandoned places, we’ve rounded up our top picks to explore.
The Christmas Tree Hotel
Santa Claus Acres
When you were a kid and you wrote letters to Santa, they probably ended up here. But a jolly old man in a red suit wasn’t on the receiving end of your Christmas wish list (which is why you didn’t get what you asked for). Starting in 1937, Santa Claus gained popularity as a tourist attraction, but by the 1970s business began to decline, and by 1995 the town was empty. Today you can still see Santa’s face plastered around town, along with lots of graffiti.
The Lisa Frank Factory
It may not be completely abandoned—rumor has it that the same employee still frequents the dilapidated office space—but what was once a colorful tribute to the school supply empire of the ’90s. He is now a mysterious sign from another time. We don’t recommend putting up a fence around the building, but even from the street the colorfully painted barn, gleaming wall of windows, and horse statue are worth a peek.
The domes of Casa Grande
The super-creepy, super-cool Casa Grande Domes was first built in 1982 by a California tech company. But, when the company went bankrupt more than 30 years ago, they abandoned ship. The domes attract some interesting groups of people, from casual enthusiasts to formal dignitaries, and of course the teenage punks who raided their parents’ liquor cabinet. Today, the domes have begun to crumble, so you can only see them from the road — no trespassing allowed!
KOA’s secluded campground
East of Flagstaff, Two Guns was once a thriving tourist stop off Route 66 with a gas station, souvenir shop, and even a zoo that housed bobcats and panthers. The destination was not closed because a cat got out of its cage and a tourist came for dinner. Like many Route 66 stops that were bypassed by I-40, it soon died out and today lies in ruins.
Salt River Valley
There’s something truly eerie about abandoned jails and prisons — Alcatraz, anyone? So, the empty jailhouse in the Salt River Canyon didn’t actually house any Wild West outlaws, notorious killers, or criminals, it was built as a fun place for tourists to take photos while refueling their cars. But it’s still pretty creepy.
Wopatki National Monument
The preserve near Flagstaff has several sandstone houses built by the Pueblo people. Evidence of the first inhabitants dates back to 500 AD. Voptaki is the largest building on the site, with over 100 rooms. In the late 1960s it was added to the National Register of Historic Places to ensure that what remained of the ancient site was preserved.
Twin Arrow Trading Post
The Twin Arrows Trading Post is another abandoned pit stop along historic Route 66. Today, 25-foot-tall red and yellow arrows made from telephone poles neighbor gas stations, diners, and vacant crew shops. Twin Arrows is owned by the Hopi tribe and there has been talking of restoring the area, but it is still ravaged by Arizona’s harsh elements and vegetation.
Vulture gold mine
Vulture City was founded in 1863 at the height of the California Gold Rush. After several years of success, the Vulture Mine was temporarily closed by a regulatory agency in 1942 and permanently closed shortly thereafter. The site is no stranger to legend and urban legend. Some say the property is haunted, and we’ll take their word for it. More than a dozen men met their fate at the Hanging Tree, an old ironwood used for theft in the mine’s heyday. Today you can check out the mine for yourself for $15.
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