Greetings, travelers! Knowing our love for ghost towns, it was just a matter of time before we made it to one of Arizona’s most popular historic mining towns, Jerome.
Even though mining in Jerome ended in 1953 (after 77 years!), the town is still a thriving tourist destination and artistic community with plenty of fun things to do and see.
The drive: The charming hillside spot is only about a two hour drive up north from Phoenix. There are spots to fuel up and stop along the way, but because the I-17 reduces to two lanes as you head toward Flagstaff (and unfortunately, as you head back) traffic can get kind of hairy, with REALLY long delays depending on what’s happening (holidays, ski/snowboarding season, etc.), so I would recommend filling up to a full tank of gas before you go.
When to visit: Because it’s hopping tourist destination, Jerome stays pretty busy year-round. It helps that even during the hot summer months, it’s a few degrees cooler being farther up north. I know that we always stress getting somewhere in the early a.m., but it’s really true if you want to avoid the crowds and have the run of the town for yourself! Holidays are often the busiest, as well, but I think we lucked out because we got to Jerome just a bit after 10 a.m. – by the time we left around 2 p.m., the place was poppin’.
If you like to hike: We recommend Dead Horse Ranch, a state park just 20 minutes away from Jerome. Don’t let the name throw you off, it’s a pleasant and expansive state park with a lot to offer. There are sites for campers, lagoons for fishing, areas for picnicking, and even a small river with a river walk. There are also, of course, hiking trails – I think we ended up hiking about 3 miles along their Lime Kiln trail. I would say this trail is easy to moderate, depending on your hiking experience – nothing too steep and no climbing required. Just always make sure that you a) have enough water (it doesn’t hurt to bring snacks for energy, either), b) know what trail you’re on and stay on it and c) know your limits.
What to see: This is really traveler’s choice! We basically just walked around the town with no set agenda, but other travelers recommend the Douglas Mansion or Gold King Mine. Just remember that this is a hillside town, so you will be doing a LOT of walking upwards (and then blessedly, downwards).
Notable places we found on our stroll –
It wouldn’t be a ghost town without the ghosts. The Jerome Grand Hotel has a history of haunts – it was originally a hospital during the town’s mining days.
This church has been standing for more than 100 years. Visitors are welcome, and though it’s no longer an active parish, they do hold mass every third Saturday of the month.
From what we could tell and from what I’d heard from a family member, this is a pottery and glassblowing studio. Open hours seem… flexible. If you do manage to catch them when they’re open to the public, apparently they do pottery and glassblowing demos.
Getting your grub on: We ate at the Haunted Hamburger, and no, the burgers aren’t haunted, but the building supposedly is. Also, their outside patio offers a great view of the town below. There are plenty of other food stops to choose from, but they fill up FAST once they open (another reason to get there earlier rather than later).
Certainly, there’s plenty more to explore, but hopefully this will be a good starter guide for you.
Y’all come back now, ya hear?
With much affection,
The Nightborn Travel Team
I have an affinity for discovery and you covered every aspect of Jerome – this is fantastic and may be on my next destination list!
forgot website – thanks
This is a keeper Thank you. I’m in California and this is on my list to visit. I love exploring old towns, the history and taking long road trips. This will be a place I will defiantly have to visit.
What a great guide! I’ll save it for the future. I live in North Carolina in the Blueridge mountains. We love to travel, but never been to Arizona yet.
Jiawun | Beauty Nerd By Night
I love ghost towns and Jerome looks amazing! I don’t know if I’d eat the the Haunted Hamburger though.. haha!
Female Traveler✈️ (@hrakaridi)
Wowww i love ghosts towns too!! this is really a great guide 🙂 i definitely pin it <3
I live in Scottsdale I need to finally visit Jerome this looks super cool and have a few friends who have loved it!
I have never been to Arizona, and actually haven’t heard of Jerome either. It looks like a wonderful community with so much beautiful scenery! If I ever make it out west, I will definitely try to check it out!
Thanks for sharing this guide. I ‘ll share your post to my cousins, they are in California!
What a great guide. I am definitely put this on my bookmark as my future next travel destination. Will shared this too, to my friend who is residing in California.
Amazing photos, and what a great visitors guide