For this weekend’s spur of the moment adventure, we traveled down historic Route 66, explored the ghost town of Oatman, AZ, shopped in snowy Prescott then hiked to the summit of Camelback Mountain in Phoenix…. we covered a lot of ground in less than 2 days.
Getting our weekend kicks down Route 66.
The ghost town of Oatman is about 5 and half hours northwest of Tucson, near California’s eastern border close to the Mojave Desert. The town is nestled in the Black Mountains so the terrain is rocky and windy.
Just on the outskirts of Oatman, we were greeted by wild burros.
Oatman was founded in 1908. The area’s mines produced over 1.8 million ounces of gold but by the mid 1930’s, the boom was over. The last remaining mines were closed in 1942 as they were nonessential to the war effort. Today, the town has a population of 135 and exists on tourism.
Burros first came to Oatman with early day prospectors. The animals were used inside the mines for hauling rock and ore. Outside the mines, burros were used for hauling water and supplies. As the mines closed and people moved away, the burros were released into the surrounding hills. The donkeys today are descended from the pack animals turned loose, and are protected by the US Department of the Interior
This particular burro was still decked out in his St. Patrick’s Day celebration outfit.
The baby burros are fluffy.
While they are still considered wild animals, most of the burros are docile and are willing to trade a scratch on the ear for a nibble of burro chow (every store in Oatman sells a bag of hay cubes and carrots).
Lady, get your own burro!
For lunch, we stopped at the Oatman Hotel. It is no longer a hotel but is now running as a restaurant. Back in its hey-day as a hotel, it used to boast guests like Carole Lombard and Clark Gable, who used to return often to play poker with the miners.
Despite the crowd in the “hotel”, service was excellent and the food delicious. The “Burro Ears” and dip are a must-order –and no they aren’t real burrow ears. They are basically oversized potato chips.
There are thousands of one dollar bills stapled all throughout the restaurant. Back in the day, miners used to keep their pay on the walls so that if anything were to happen to them, their tabs would already be paid. Now-a-days, visitors can write on their own bill and staple it to the wall.
Oatman Ghost Town Overview
- Address: 181 Main St, Oatman, AZ 86433
- Fees: FREE
- Usage: Heavy