For some, surviving a global outbreak may be something of a post-apocalyptic experience, but for others, wandering deserted and undoubtedly haunted locations across Arizona may be the answer. Arizona may have just passed the century mark, but there are still a few long-forgotten sights and things scattered across its vast, parched landscape. These once bustling places are now empty and gathering dust. Arizona’s barren deserts, hills, and valleys are littered with almost as many abandoned places as its saguaros. Some sites only bear the traces of individuals who have resided there, others seem forbidden.
Let’s take a look at some of Arizona’s off-limits sites, which serve as relics of the state’s forgotten past and places we don’t recommend going solo.
Gila River Memorial Airport
This former abandoned airport in Chandler still stands in the heart of the desert, with half a dozen huge planes more or less dilapidated. The airport, which was built in 1942, once served as a base for air operations during World War II. Bold taggers, photographers, videographers and ambitious Instagrammers have made it a popular spot.
However, the decaying planes are located on the Gila River Indian Settlement, and visiting or photographing them requires a permit. If visitors are unwilling to walk away from a trespassing charge, don’t even consider fencing off this spot.
- Address: E Airfield Ln, Chandler, AZ 85249, USA
Decomposing dog tracks
The two desert dog trails detailed below have been heavily traveled by urban explorers and trespassers in the past.
The Black Canyon City Dog Trail
About 40 miles north of Phoenix, the Black Canyon City Dog Circuit is a haven for nomads and urban explorers and an interesting study in ruins. The Funk family built the dog track in 1967, and it ran greyhound racing until 1982. Since the late 1980s, this large property has rapidly deteriorated and continues to be one of the abandoned places the most accessible in the valley.
- Address: 32801 Maggie Mine Rd, Black Canyon City, AZ 85324, USA
Phoenix Trotting Park
Construction of Phoenix Trotting Park began in 1964 on a dark strip of desert near Goodyear that is today the bustling I-10. Due to low turnout and its remote location, the park was closed in 1966 after only a few races. The massive structure has stood unoccupied and abandoned ever since. It is also said to be haunted by some.
- Address: 17758 W Roosevelt St, Goodyear, AZ 85338, United States
More than 4,000 military jets and helicopters were interred at the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG), often known as “The Boneyard”. It is the largest aircraft graveyard in the world, with over 3,000 aircraft at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base near Tucson. The planes, unlike Gila River, are either in storage or being refurbished or renewed.
Public tours are also available. Tours are only available during the week at the Pima Air & Space Museum. Photo ID is required for attendees aged 16 and over and strict security protocols apply.
- Address: Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Tucson, Arizona, 85730, USA
Santa’s ghost town
Santa’s Village was established in 1937 as a flamboyant tourist attraction and was a top attraction on Route 66 for a few decades until the business deteriorated in the 1970s. 90, the Christmas-themed town of Mohave County was declared a ghost town.
Nina Talbot, an eccentric estate agent, envisioned the hamlet as a year-round vacation destination. The Santa Claus Lodge, the town’s only restaurant, was a big hit in its heyday, as was the town’s post office, which received a flood of emails from Santa Claus. The town’s only source of Christmas cheer is a dilapidated wishing well, destroyed and condemned structures, and a bright pink train that’s derailed and rotting. It is definitely one of the tropical places that no family should consider vacationing.
- Address: US Route 93, Mojave County, Golden Valley, Arizona, 86413, United States
- Directions: The town is located between mileposts 57 and 58 on U.S. Route 93, fourteen miles (23 kilometers) northwest of Kingman, Arizona, approximately north of Hermit Lane, and just below the Grasshopper Intersection, Arizona.
Casa Grande Domes
Since the 1980s, this cluster of odd, crumbling circular shapes in Casa Grande has already been abandoned. The domes are the skeletal remains of a never-built computing center.
On the other hand, these intriguing modern ruins look like an abandoned alien spacecraft rather than a relic of a bygone technological era. Supernatural fans, urban explorers, graffiti artists, conspiracy theorists and young locals looking for a private space to get drunk have all been drawn to the massive UFO-shaped artifacts.
The strange structures have even been featured in Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures. After the largest dome collapsed in December, the district banned domes. Even though the structures are set to be torn down, they will continue to stand in one of Arizona’s mysterious places where tourists are banned, if not the scariest.
- Address: 8109-7467 S Thornton Rd, Casa Grande, AZ 85193, USA
- Directions: Visitors can approach the Casa Grande locations through the Interstate 8 Thorton junction. Then visitors must travel a mile south on the edge of the eastern road to find it.
From abandoned mining towns to the remnants of Route 66, Arizona is home to a plethora of strange places in various states of decay. These places, once thriving and thriving with kitsch energy and mystery, are now hollow, abandoned bones of a bygone era.
20 forbidden places in the world we can never set foot in
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