Explore the Forgotten Ghost Towns in the Washington State

Explore the Forgotten Ghost Towns in the Washington State

Amidst some of Washington’s most breathtaking landscapes, you can find deserted mining towns and other ghost towns. Forlorn or forgotten towns like these have fascinating histories of migration and transformation, which pique the interest of daredevils interested in ghost stories and reports of the paranormal. If you’re looking for a bit of mystery and history, you should visit these Washington ghost towns.


Sherman, a community just fifteen minutes northeast of Govan off Highway 2, too had its beginnings during a period of great homesteading activity but saw its population decline as new roads brought people to bigger cities like Spokane. A schoolhouse, a cemetery, and a church are among the eerie remnants of the once-occupied land that are now open to the public.

Monte Cristo

Among the most well-known Washington ghost towns is Monte Cristo, which is located east of Granite Falls off Mountain Loop Highway. You may reach this long-gone mining town by hiking 8 km in a round fashion, with minimal elevation increase and only one log crossing. Transport yourself to a different time with the help of weathered signs and long-gone structures and machinery. Monte Cristo sprang to life in the 1890s during a mining boom, but by 1907, money problems and a decline in mining potential had rendered the community unsustainable.

Start at the Barlow Pass trailhead and walk for approximately four miles on the closed road that follows the path that miners took over a hundred years ago to get to the Monte Cristo ghost town.

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Explore the Forgotten Ghost Towns in the Washington State

Molson travels to Okanogan County, which is close to the Canadian border, to see a town that had a brief period of prosperity, thanks to mining and the railroad. As a result of a local filing for a homestead that encompassed the majority of the town’s land, the majority of the inhabitants left Molson for what is now New Molson, leaving behind relics such as ancient pioneer dwellings and farm machinery. The old Oroville schoolhouse is now a museum run entirely by volunteers; it is open to the public from Memorial Day to Labor Day and houses vast collections of historical artifacts.


Founded in 1900 as a mining village, Melmont is located along Highway 165 on the fringes of Mount Rainier National Park. The mines here were responsible for four percent of Pierce County’s coal output at its height, and the thriving town had a hotel, tavern, butcher shop, store, train terminal, and housing for employees of the Northwest Improvement Company. There was a dramatic decline in population as the town’s railroad switched from steam to diesel and electric power in 1918. By the 1920s, a terrible fire had wiped out most of it.

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Melmont Ghost Town route, which is 6 miles in total and follows an old railroad bed, is open to hikers today, though it can get muddy at times. (Please be aware that there are seasonal closures on Mowich Lake Road.) You can see ancient, rusted cars and the ruins of long-gone structures, such as a school basement and the abutment of a wagon bridge. In the 1920s, the Carbon River Ranch, a residence for a family that evolved into the Carbon River Ranger Station, was constructed using a significant amount of reclaimed wood from this school building.



Visit Govan, a former railway town off Highway 2 east of Coulee City, to learn about the area’s turbulent past. Before the Central Washington Railway arrived in Lincoln County in 1889, Govan was a location in the county known for a number of gruesome, unsolved killings that occurred there in the 1900s. With the loss of farmland and the advent of better transportation options, the town’s population quickly dwindled, and the building of Highway 2 accelerated its decline. See the remnants of a post office and a historic schoolhouse that shut down in the 1940s at this famous Washington ghost town, which is a popular spot for photographers seeking to capture an enigmatic moment from the past.


One of the earliest mining regions in Washington, which was still a territory in the 1860s, was Nighthawk, which is also in Okanogan County. The boom town fed six concentrate mills in the area in 1903, and many of the original buildings, including the Nighthawk hotel, original schoolhouse, mining office, and old mill, are still intact today. Due to declining metal prices and rising operational costs, the mines eventually closed and the town’s population gradually declined.

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This little Washington ghost town is full of history and is located approximately 30 minutes east of Oroville. The town of Chesaw was named after a Chinese prospector who lived there and supplied his fellow miners. The discovery of placer gold in the area caused a brief boom in the town, which subsequently transformed into a logging settlement.

When it was at its busiest, the site had several businesses, including hotels, a three-story livery barn, a blacksmith shop, department stores, a barber shop, a post office, three bars, a bank, and more. The town is now just a shell of its former self, but what little remains includes a false-front building and other structures that serve actual purposes, such as a tavern where curious onlookers may get burgers.



Claquato was previously the Lewis County Seat, but now it is known mostly for its cemetery and the oldest remaining church in Washington. The cemetery is home to the famed fir tree that provided refuge for pioneers in the area. Despite its 1950s restoration and subsequent addition to the National Register of Historic Places, the church retains its original bell and crown of thorns steeple.

The Chehalis and Neuwaukum rivers were once the destinations of Native American hunting and fishing routes that passed through this region, which was once a seasonal campground. Before Hawkins Davis died from a fall at the mill in the 1850s, Claquato had already become a prosperous lumber town thanks to his leadership. Officially erased from the county records in 1902, Claquato fell into disrepair around ten years later as a result of the railroad’s decision to avoid the town.


Remember to be mindful of the environment while you explore. To aid with the preservation of the sites’ heritage, please do not disrupt any vegetation, buildings, or abandoned equipment. Please do not touch any of the objects found at these cultural sites, and remember to remove all of your belongings before leaving. Being mindful of other tourists and keeping a safe distance from any wildlife you may see are both important considerations. Responsible tourism guarantees that not only this generation but also those to come can marvel at these enchanted artifacts.

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