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New Mexico’s finest ghost towns

20th July 2011 Print

Tumble weeds crossing your path, a dusty desert road and abandoned buildings are all images that are associated with the old Wild West. New Mexico’s rich mining history and cowboy heritage has left over 400 ghost towns scattered across the state.

Visitors can be transported back in time to the old west, with a host of ghost towns to choose from. Here’s five of the best:

1. Shakespeare Ghost Town
Located just outside the city of Lordsburg, near the Arizona border is Shakespeare Ghost Town. Visitors can walk in the footsteps of famous cowboys and outlaws such as Billy the Kid and John Ringo. In addition to the town’s regular tours there are seven living history re-enactment shows, including ‘Death over an Egg’ where Ross Woods was shot and killed in the dining room of the Stratford Hotel by Bean Belly Smith or, ‘the silver nuggets visit Shakespeare’ where beautiful Can Can girls were once greeted with riotous enthusiasm by rowdy cowboys and miners.

2. Dawson
In 1901 Dawson coal mine opened, but by 1950 the whole town was deserted due to several mining explosions that resulted in the death of over 350 miners. In its heyday Dawson, which is located in north east New Mexico, had its own newspaper, a theatre, hotel, hospital, golf course and bowling alley. The town now stands empty and visitors are left with the memories of those who lost their lives and whose graves are marked by a single white cross.

3. Lake Valley Ghost Town
Located by the western side of Monument Peak, north west of Las Cruces is Lake Valley Ghost Town. Once an old ore mining town with a reputation for being a tough cowboy haunt, today visitors can explore the old buildings and the restored school house. The site is famed for its beautiful vistas across the area and it still has a nearby working mine.

4. Steins – Railroad Ghost Town
Step away from the mining towns and visit Steins, an old railroad town which was named after Captain Enoch Stein, a US army officer. During the late 1800s and early 1900s a number of rail tracks were built through the town and today it is one of the most well preserved ghost towns. Located in the south western corner of New Mexico, Steins still has its period furnishings so visitors really can take a step back in time and see how a western town really used to look.

5. Yeso
Set right in the centre of El Grande, New Mexico is Yeso, an old trading centre for ranchers and farmers in the area. When it became clear that the land surrounding Yeso was no good to farmers many of them left, leaving behind the empty shells of family homes, a motel, garage and local shop.

For more information on visiting New Mexico, please visit: