Do you love exploring California ghost towns?
What about ghost towns filled with actual…ghosts?
Well get ready, because you’re about to discover the 10 most haunted ghost towns in California.
Updated 2/9/2020 – Some of these places used to be bustling towns a hundred years ago.
Instead of surviving, these towns suddenly emptied out and became deserted.
The buildings still stand, but no one has lived there for hundreds of years.
You can walk through all of the different areas, but you may see lots of former residents from these abandoned towns who have remained on to haunt these areas.
The strangest part of these creepy locations is that some inhabitants left without taking any of their belongings, so their homes are exactly as they were hundreds of years ago.
If you’re brave enough to visit these towns, you’re in luck.
Because we’ve included the coordinates for each so you can easily find one near you.
Table of Contents
The 10 Best California Ghost Towns To Visit If You Love The Paranormal
A few people still live in the heart of Ridgecrest, but the rest of the inhabitants have been driven out for a mysterious reason.
They fled leaving all kinds of strange things behind, which makes the outskirts of town worth a trip.
People left cars, tires, stoves, fridges, and even clothing behind as they fled.
Sometimes if you walk past all of the things that have been left behind, you can hear whispers from the people who left.
Photo credit: flickr/johnmueller
35.6225° N, 117.6709° W
This old town that was named after a South African mine.
Residents hoped that this name would bring them luck, but that was sadly not true.
A few people still live on the outskirts of the town, but the rest of the community is gone.
There is an abandoned playground in the town with only a few places to play, surrounded by the empty desert.
Visitors say that they can hear children laughing near the park.
Photo credit: flickr/dclmeyer
35.3727° N, 117.6348° W
Keeler is another town that was abandoned because of losing its water supply.
The city management for Los Angeles drained all the water toward LA, leaving nothing for the people back in Keeler.
Those who didn’t have the means to leave the town died lonely deaths. Their ghosts now reportedly roam the area.
Today, Keeler is a huge dust bowl with plenty of abandoned trailers.
If you go, you never know who or what you might encounter.
Photo credit: flickr/jodymiller
36.4872° N, 117.8740° W
4. Red Mountain
Here is another dead town, also found in the Randsburg mining district.
People used to live in Red Mountain because of the gold mine nearby, but there were a lot of other illicit businesses.
The bars and brothels were legendary in this town, but many of the working women were killed in disputes among miners.
Today you can sometimes see lights turning on and off in what used to be the women’s rooms, even though no one is there.
Photo credit: flickr/88017382@N00
35.3583° N, 117.6167° W
This ghost town in California is about fifteen miles down the road from the nearest living town.
It used to have a school, a church, and an actual literary society.
Unlike all of the other ghost towns in the area, Garlock did not fail because of a mine.
The water supply to the town mysteriously dried up, leaving no water for everyone in the town.
They were all doomed, so they packed up and quickly fled for a safer place to live.
Photo credit: flickr/muzzlehatch
Think you’re ready?
35.4025° N, 117.7901° W
Within the Randsburg mining district there are several haunted ghost towns; Atolia is one of them.
Atolia used to be a bustling mining town with a tungsten production plant.
It had a bar called the Bucket of Blood Saloon, which shows just how much crime there was in Atolia during its mining days.
As soon as the mine shut down, everyone fled, but visitors still hear the shouts of people coming from the saloon late at night.
Photo credit: flickr/lucas3d
35.3147° N, 117.6083° W
Here is scary ghost town that should go on your list of haunted places to explore.
This place is in the middle of nowhere, and even during its bustling heyday few people made Saltdale their permanent home.
Out of all the ghost towns in California, Saltdale is the most isolated.
You might have a difficult time finding someone who will even bring you to this town.
Back in the 1920s, Saltdale had many miners in the area who worked at a local salt mine.
As technology improved and mining for salt became less important, the miners were no longer needed.
One by one, each miner moved away from the town.
There were no police in Saltdale because it was too far away from any other major towns, so the crime rate increased.
It became so bad that the general store was robbed almost every day.
The general stores soon closed down as well.
Soon after this the school closed and the mine stopped operating.
There were no doctors left in the area, so many women died while they were giving birth to children.
This made even more people move away until the town was completely deserted.
If you go back to this ghost town, you can see abandoned fountains and the belongings of people who fled from the crime in Saltdale.
Rusting piles of metal from the mine are all along the road.
Be cautious if you visit, because this town is so remote.
Photo credit: flickr/cameraexperiment
35.3593° N, 117.8857° W
This Golden State ghost town is one that most people do not know about, because it is not on maps.
One of the smaller dead townships, it is a little bit west of Barstow.
Years ago, Lockhart had a strong agricultural community where people grew a lot of alfalfa.
There is an abandoned gas station and general store, which are completely open to the elements now.
There is one room still standing from the town’s motel.
Photo credit: flickr/lostamerica
35.0147° N, 117.3309° W
9. Death Valley Junction
A few miles east of Death Valley, you will find the abandoned Death Valley Junction.
This whistle stop used to be popular when the railroad first came through and brought people to this town.
People used to travel here and make their homes around the mine.
Once the railroad shut down, everyone in the town left.
Now if you visit this town, you will see wild horses roaming through the area in the day – and spirits of the deceased at night.
Photo credit: flickr/mexicaliblues
36.3003° N, 116.4106° W
Historic Bodie is one of the most famous ghost towns in California.
In fact, it’s one of the most famous ghost towns in America, and with good reason.
You can find Bodie State Park on the far side of Yosemite, which is not too far from Mono Lake.
The town of Bodie used to have over ten thousand people living in it, and it was one of the biggest towns in California in the 1800s.
It’s remote and in the mountains, so it can be a little tricky to get to.
Only about five percent of the original buildings are still stable, and the rest are in ruins or in various states of repair.
There used to be many families in Bodie, but mining was a dangerous occupation.
Many young men perished in the mines, but their spirits remain in the town.
Some visitors swear that they feel as though they are followed every time they walk through the town, and different lights turn on and off by themselves.
Sometimes music plays from the old saloons in the town, and you can hear it faintly on the wind.
There is also supposedly a curse, making Bodie one of the only cursed California townships.
- Related: The Curse of Bodie Ghost Town
The creepy spirits in the town are fiercely protective of their possessions, even though they can no longer live in the town alive.
Every visitor who has tried to steal from the town has had horrible misfortunes happen, so make sure that you do not disturb anything in the town if you visit.
Photo credit: flickr/jeffreysullivan
38.2128° N, 119.0125° W
Your Next Step
Get a map, some friends, and make your way to one of the ghost towns on this list.
But do you dare go alone?