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16 Ghost Towns In Washington [MAP]

    ghost towns in Washington

    If you’re searching for ghost towns in Washington, we’ve got you covered! Below are 16 different ghost towns you can explore across the great state of Washington along with their status and exact GPS coordinates.

    We rate ghost towns in Washington based on their status. Here’s how our system works:

    • Abandoned: Is abandoned with ruins and structures in a decayed state. Great for urban explorers.
    • Historic: Preservation efforts have been made and sometimes plaques installed. Great for everyone.
    • Barren: Almost nothing remains of the town. Ideal for metal detectorists.
    • Commercial: Is commercially owned with amenities, restaurants, and stores. Great for families.
    • Semi-Abandoned: Abandoned areas with a small population in the area.
    • Privately Owned: Tours might be available but not open to the general public.


    1. Bodie

    48.83441, -118.89715
    Status: Abandoned

    Photo Credit: Larry Myhre – flickr.com

    History:

    Bodie is was a thriving town that boomed during the gold rush in the late 1800s and early 1900s. However, when the gold reserves were exhausted, the town lost much of its luster. Though Bodie is now an abandoned ghost town, you won’t get the sense of being stranded in a desolate place, because the town is full of charming wooden buildings. While this area of Washington is largely private, you can still visit the historic district of the town.

    What’s Left?

    The town’s only recognizable structure is the Old Bodie clădire, which is believed to have been a schoolhouse that doubled as a saloon. Local legend, however, disputes this claim. The town was also mistaken for a group of cabins north of Bodie Mining Camp. In fact, the town was located at the junction of Toroda Creek and Curlew Road.


    2. Coal Creek

    47.54181, -122.14884
    Status: Semi-Abandoned

    History:

    In 1884, Coal Creek was established as (you guessed it) a mining town. However, the community was shut down in 1919 due to a mining strike. In an effort to make money, labor recruiters invited African Americans to the town which was typically taboo at the time. The African Americans were lured by offers of high-paying jobs and free transportation. This agitated the strike-hit miners and tensions mounted until a riot erupted, and the National Guard was called in.

    As the demand for coal dwindled after the world financial crisis, the Pacific Coast Company shut down the coal factory and abandoned the town. The company sold off anything of value, including miners’ homes. The company also abandoned the rail line in 1933 and pulled out the rails by 1937. While many of the miners remained, some opted to start independent mining operations. Eventually, oil replaced coal as a fuel and the town began to return to nature.

    What’s Left?

    Today, a popular trail along the creek provides views of the defunct coal mining equipment and bits of coal. While visiting Coal Creek, make sure to wear sturdy hiking boots as the weather man make the trails rough at the time. I personally love Coal Creek with its lush forest and close proximity to New Castle, making it one of my top favorite ghost towns in Washington.


    3. Copper City

    46.76894, -121.34966
    Status:
    Abandoned

    Photo Credit: willhiteweb.com

    History:

    If you love ghost towns, and have access to 4×4. you’ll want to visit Copper City. Founded in 1910, this Copper City was a mining town. In the first half of the twentieth century, this area was home to a thriving mining town. The Bumping Mining District of Yakima County attracted miners looking for gold and copper.

    The Bumping Lake District had 42 active claims, including a mine in the Yakima River Canyon. The town’s development was fueled by mining, and its roads were built and operated by the Copper City Mining Co. Electricity and telephone service were added to the community’s infrastructure which was uncommon at the time.

    But by 1948, the mine closed. The ore wasn’t as valuable as predicted and the town was soon left for dead. The ruins of a bunkhouse and ore mill are still standing, but the community is mostly a ghost town today.

    What’s Left?

    Today, the crumbling wooden remains of the bunkhouse and other cabins have been left behind. Many structures have collapsed over years. Copper City is one of the most remote ghost towns in Washington, so be sure to leave prepared for the roads ahead.


    4. Franklin

    47.29794, -121.95897
    Status: Abandoned

    History:

    Franklin was a coal mining town established in the late 1800s and had a large workforce of freed slaves from the south. The racially mixed working conditions create a tense situation that resulted in the death of two miners. IN 1894 a fire broke out underground that killed 37 miners. Oddly enough a jury ruled that the fire was intentionally set, but the perpetrator perished in his own blaze.

    What’s Left?

    Today not much is left but trails and ruins. Explorers can relax and walk along the trails.


    5. Govan

    47.74054, -118.81915
    Status: Abandoned

    History:

    Govan, Washington, was once a thriving farming town. Located south of Grand Coulee Dam, the town was a stop along the Central Washington Railway. In the early 1900s, it was home to a post office, school, two churches, and many businesses. However, after a fire destroyed much of the town in 1927, the town began to fall into ruins. It was eventually bypassed by highway 2, but despite its low population, its historical significance remains intact.

    What’s Left?

    Today not much is left outside of the old Govan school house. Although Govan lacks many buildings, it has its own charm unlike any of the other ghost towns in Washington.


    6. Iron Gate Trail

    47.71884, -121.17083
    Status: Abandoned

    Photo Credit: thatoregonlife.com

    History:

    f you enjoy hiking or cycling in the Pacific Northwest, you can find yourself on the Iron Gate Trail in Washington. This beautiful trail can take you through the forests of the Pacific Northwest. Hikers who have been on the trail say that they’ve heard eerie sounds, seen disembodied voices, and had their hair stand on end. The trail follows the old path of the railway and leads to tunnel where the train would pass through.

    What’s Left?

    The town of Iron Gate is no longer, however, the trail lives on. Explorers can check out the numerous railroad remnants and of course the Iron Gate tunnel.


    7. Lester

    47.2094, -121.4928
    Status: Abandoned

    History:

    Lester was formed in 1892 to support workers and travelers using the Northern Pacific Railroad. Sadly forest fires would devastate the community in the early 1900s. This wasn’t the tipping point of the population’s decline, but it certainly contributed to it.

    By the 1950s steam engines were rapidly being replaced, leaving that railroad route practically abandoned. This lack of new travelers and dwindling opportunity sent residents looking for towns with better jobs. The town was finally closed down by the city of Tacoma to preserve the quality of the Green River Watershed.

    What’s Left?

    Today Lester has numerous abandoned homes scattered all across the area. Many homes are completely overgrown making it my favorite ghost town in Washington.


    8. Melmont

    47.03059, -122.03489
    Status: Abandoned

    Photo Credit: hikingwithmybrother.com

    History:

    This historic town dates back to the early 1900s when the Northwest Improvement Company opened a mine that would deliver coal to Carbonado. The town itself included a schoolhouse, post office, and saloon. Many of the buildings in the town were still standing, but the majority of them had been destroyed by a fire in the 1920s.

    What’s Left?

    Mossy overgrown ruins are all that’s left of Melmont. Most prominently the old school house ruins are left behind for curious explorers and photographers.


    9. Monte Cristo

    45.90595, -121.57313
    Status: Abandoned

    History:

     Once a gold and silver mining town, Monte Cristo morphed into a resort town and operated until 1983. Monte Cristo was once a vibrant mining town with thousands of hopeful prospectors staking claims on its peak. Because of a lack of funding and less than stellar mining prospects, the town was not able to survive long, despite the natural beauty of its surroundings.

    What’s Left?

    You can still see a few buildings and enjoy the views of the surrounding area from a trail near the Verlot Ranger Station, which also has brochures about Monte Cristo.


    10. Nighthawk

    48.96822, -119.63289
    Status: Abandoned

    History:

    The town was named after a mine that operated near the town. The mining town was settled around the turn of the 20th century by Hiram “Okanogan” Smith, an American who was friendly to Native Americans. Smith was elected to the Territorial Legislature of Washington in 1860.  It is estimated that more than 3,000 people lived here when mining first began in the 1860s.

    What’s Left?

    Today, the town is a ruin and is home to few residents. The mines that once supported the town have closed down. A number of the structures can still be seen, but they have been left in the same state they were in when they were abandoned. With so many buildings to explore Nighthawk is one of my favorite ghost towns in Washington to explore.


    11. Fort Casey

    48.15709, -122.67743
    Status: Historic

    History:

    For many years, Fort Casey, Washington was a military training facility, guarding downstream towns like Bremerton and Keystone. Although the military was no longer needed, the fort was still home to several infamous ghost stories. In fact, one of them even mentions numerous suicides.

    What’s Left?

    Today, the fort is a state park and provides activities such as hiking, boating, and camping. Visitors can explore five abandoned military batteries, including the original one. Three of the batteries were built during the 1890s as a defense for Puget Sound. Fort Casey, Fort Worden, and Fort Flagler formed the Triangle of Fire, which was a strategic position for the Pacific Ocean.

    The last two were built in the early 1900s and can blast through four-inch steel. In addition to the abandoned fort, tourists are encouraged to explore the surrounding area, as well as the squat observation towers.


    12. Fort Columbia

    46.25331, -123.91877
    Status: Historic

    Photo Credit: Jasperdo – flickr.com

    History:

    Fort Columbia was built between 1896 and 1903, with many renovations during the years. While forts aren’t typically “ghost towns” Fort Columbia encompasses 618 acres and supported thousands of people during peak operation. Like its cousin Fort Casey, Columbia was part of the “triangle of fire” designed to protect the west coast.

    What’s Left?

    Fort Columbia is one of the best-preserved ghost towns in Washington with many aspects of the fort restored and preserved over the years.


    13. Liberty

    47.25461, -120.66309
    Status: Historic

    History:

    The city of Liberty is considered the oldest mining town in the state. Miners Newton and Benton Goodwin discovered gold there in 1867, and left town in search of bigger fortunes. They came back to the town in 1873 and struck it rich! This news sparked a mini gold rush in the area. Miners moved to other states, but many stayed behind and built their lives in Liberty.

    What’s Left?

     Today, you can hike along the abandoned mine route and learn more about its spooky history. Some of the buildings remain active, including a cannery and old pastures.


    14. Molson

    48.98111, -119.19944
    Status: Historic

    History:

     Located just off the Canadian border, this town was once a booming mining town that was abandoned by an arrogant farmer. Today, the town is a creepy Open Air Museum that still houses many of the original buildings. Once a bustling community, Molson had a general store, saloon, and hotel, as well as a blacksmith shop and hotel.

    What’s Left?

    Today, the townsite is home to several buildings that are still standing, including the schoolhouse and the Molson State Bank. The bank still houses its original safe, and you can see some of the buildings that once served the community. Although the town no longer has a post office, there are dozens of buildings from the old days. While the town was home to over 300 people at one time, it’s hard to imagine the thriving town that once stood here.


    15. Chesaw

    48.94601, -119.05143
    Status: Semi-Abandoned

    History:

    Chesaw was named after a Chinese settler “Shee Saw” who settled during the late 1800s and eventually married a Native American. The town didn’t last long as its population boomed in 1896 and crashed four short years later.

    What’s Left?

    Today a few homes and storefront remain in a state of decay. I personally love Chesaw as not many venture out this way to explore its dusty remains.


    16. Claquato

    46.64343, -123.01735
    Status: Semi-Abandoned

    History:

    Claquato, Washington, became a thriving lumber town in the 1850s. The town even had its own mill. It was a boomtown until its founder passed away in 1864. After that, the town was bypassed by the railroad, which led to its demise.

    What’s Left?

    The town has two remaining landmarks: the Methodist church and a school. Regardless of the fact that the town is no longer inhabited, it is a fascinating place to explore. While it’s not the most fascinating ghost town in Washington, I’d still recommend checking it out if you’re nearby.


    Go out and explore!

    That concludes our list of ghost towns in Washington, but that doesn’t mean that’s all there is to find. Take the back roads, follow train tracks, and find some places for yourself. There are plenty of places I kept off this list so get out there and explore.

    If you’re having trouble finding ghost towns be sure to check out our Ultimate Guide to Finding Abandoned Places, or explore other ghost towns across the country.