Today we finally had the chance to drive south to Ruby, one of the best preserved ghost towns in Arizona!
Ruby is on private property and to explore the town, there is a $12/person fee (cash. Fees go to a non-profit foundation called the Ruby Mines Restoration Project). FYI, if you try to sneak in, you will most likely be sounded out by the happiest dog ever. So don’t be a cheapskate.
The road to Ruby is unpaved and rough. See what happened to this car? Just kidding. A sedan can handle the bumpy roads as long as it doesn’t rain.
Ghost towns always have an aura of creepiness. Out of the list of ghost towns we’ve visited, Ruby if probably one of the creepiest. It’s in the middle of nowhere and the only people we came across (other than the caretaker) were the occasional border patrol agents –who knows who else was out there but there are signs indicating that smuggling and illegal immigrants may be encountered in the area.
Mining started in the 1870’s and peaked in the 1930’s when the population reached about 1,200. It consisted predominantly of camps. The mine closed in 1940 and by 1941, Ruby became a ghost town.
Peeking into the schoolhouse (grades K – 8) before realizing the entrance was in the back.
The slide of death.
No wonder why children didn’t live that long back then.
Mine pad, warehouse, and assay office.
View of Ruby from atop the mine pad.
Interior of the assay office.
Deep ‘open’ shaft that houses up to 150,000 bats. Imagine the guano piling up in there.
Entrance to the mine is locked to protect the bats. Think I’ll pass on the guano anyway…
White sandy beach of Mineral Lake. This seemed like a mirage –smack dab in the middle of the desert is a lake with a sandy beach. What? As it turns out, it’s not sand, but tailings –processed residue from the ball mill.
Sometimes I get dressed before I’ve had coffee. This morning I thought I was going to be in an 80s workout video. Don’t ask.
Jail with a kerosene can blocking the entrance. No nonsense capital punishment?
The mercantile is the site of the infamous Ruby murders. The first incident occurred in the 1920’s when bandits robbed and killed the two owners of the mercantile. The second attack happened 14 months later when again, bandits killed the store’s new owners and robbed the place. The killings led to the largest manhunt in the history of the Southwest.
On that happy note…. we hope you enjoyed our adventure!
Ruby Ghost Town Overview
- Coordinates: 31°27′40″N, 111°14′15″W
- Fees: $12/person
- Hours: Daylight, Thursday – Sunday
- Terrain: High Clearance Vehicle
- Usage: Light