The beautiful Southwest is also home to some amazing history about the Wild West. If you’re interested in visiting some of the iconic Old West sites, here are some places worth paying a visit:
Monument Valley, located on the Arizona-Utah border, features scenes of natural beauty that will be recognizable to anyone who has watched a Western movie. Monument Valley is located on the Navajo reservation, and is home to some recognizable rock formations, namely, the Mittens. Check out Goulding’s Lodge & Trading Post, which has a free (donations accepted) museum featuring movie stills, call sheets, movie posters and other memorabilia, as well as a detailed map featuring specific movie locations around Monument Valley. You can also hire a Navajo guide for a personal tour, who will share the stories and legends behind each rock formation.
Jerome, also known as the Wickedest Town in the West, is a former copper mining town which perches on a hillside. This adorable town is lined with shops, art galleries and restaurants, and is a fun way to spend a beautiful autumn day. Visit the Jerome State Historic Park, home to the Douglas Mansion, with its museum detailing the history of both Jerome and the Douglas family. And be sure to check out the Audrey Shaft Headframe Park, which features a 1,900-foot mining shaft covered with glass, allowing visitors to learn about what mining was like with a peek into the depths of an old mine.
For more history about mining in Arizona, head to Goldfield Ghost Town, located in Apache Junction at the base of the Superstition Mountains. You can take a 25-minute tour of a mine shaft, and also tour the town with its museum, bordello, a church, livery stables as well as a reptile exhibit. Other activities include a zip line, a shooting gallery, panning for gold, riding a train and horseback rides. Gunfights are held on Saturdays and Sundays.
The Yuma Territorial Prison is located in a State Historical Park, and is home to a museum which details what life was like for those incarcerated at the turn of the 20th century. The first prisoners in 1876 actually built the cells in which they were imprisoned. You can visit the former mess hall and walk around inside of the original cell block.
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