Castle Dome Mines Museum and Ghost Town

Kofa National Wildlife Refuge

Eastern Sonoran + Colorado Desert, Arizona

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Castle Dome Mines Museum and Ghost Town
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  • The road into the mines area is maintained gravel for the last 10 miles.- Castle Dome Mines Museum and Ghost Town
  • The "ghost town" buildings are clustered along short gravel and wooden paths. Many old vehicles and pieces of mine equipment are there as well.- Castle Dome Mines Museum and Ghost Town
  • View of some of the restored buildings of the ghost town.- Castle Dome Mines Museum and Ghost Town
  • Many of the buildings are packed with period furniture and household items. This is the lobby of the hotel building.- Castle Dome Mines Museum and Ghost Town
  • This mine shaft goes down 200 feet vertically, but it is safely covered with a metal grate. While generally safe, hazards do exist on the site.- Castle Dome Mines Museum and Ghost Town
  • The bunkhouse building on the mine site has a fully-equipped kitchen.- Castle Dome Mines Museum and Ghost Town
  • The views of the surrounding desert and the Castle Dome mountains are spectacular, as are the many saguaro and cholla cacti.- Castle Dome Mines Museum and Ghost Town
  • There are numerous mine shaft entrances that are not covered, but the areas are secured behind a barbed-wire fence. This would not be a safe area for small children without close parental supervision.- Castle Dome Mines Museum and Ghost Town
  • There are traditional outhouses on both parts of the site.- Castle Dome Mines Museum and Ghost Town
  • The cemetery and some of the buildings on the mine site.- Castle Dome Mines Museum and Ghost Town
  • The setting for the Castle Dome mine museum is stunning!- Castle Dome Mines Museum and Ghost Town
  • Another view of the beautiful Sororan Desert location for this adventure.- Castle Dome Mines Museum and Ghost Town
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Stunning desert scenery. Many historic artifacts.
Cons: 
Rough road. Very hot in summer. Limited or no food available on site.
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Region:
Eastern Sonoran + Colorado Desert, AZ
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
No
Parking Pass: 
Other
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Fall
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Pro Contributor

The Castle Dome Mountains were the scene of extensive mining activities from the 1860s through the 1970s. Silver, lead, gold, copper, and zinc were mined in large amounts here, and the population of Castle Dome City reached 3,000 in the early 20th century.

What remains at this site today are the remnants of several mines, over 40 buildings, and a wealth of artifacts from the mining era. Some buildings are in their original location, and many others were moved here to save them from destruction when the nearby wildlife refuge was created. This is more of a museum than an actual ghost town, but the wealth of period artifacts, the authentic mining environment, and the beautiful desert setting at the foot of the Castle Dome Mountains make this a worthwhile trip.

The road is well-marked and in good condition, though the last 3 miles of the 10-mile gravel road gets somewhat rough. A standard passenger car should have no trouble. The museum is divided into two sections, each with a separate parking area.  The ghost town consists of about 30 buildings clustered together with wood or gravel paths connecting them. The mining area has about 10 buildings, several mine shafts, and in-place pieces of mining equipment. It is accessed via a 0.5-mile loop trail on well-marked gravel paths. Neither area seems wheelchair-friendly. About three hours should be allocated to adequately tour the site.

The museum is located within the 655,000 acre Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, which is nearly the size of Yosemite National Park. This vast refuge encompasses two mountain ranges and offers extensive opportunities for hiking and backcountry camping.

 

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