Carbon County is famous for its abundance of outdoor recreational activities but the county also has a spooky side.
Many of Carbon County's early inhabitants were miners. The mining community was transient, accustomed to leaving if better mineral deposits were found elsewhere. This created ghost towns which offer an excellent choice for exploration and geocaching. Here are a few of these spooky ghost towns!
Benton Ghost Town
Benton is regarded as the first ghost town in Wyoming. The town, itself, was named after Thomas Hart Benton (1782-1858), senator from Missouri, father-in-law of John C. Fremont, and an avid advocate of western expansion. It was only inhabited for three rowdy months between July and September 1898 when the population reached 3,000 inhabitants. Inhabited by workers living in shanty tents, the settlement was one of several temporary towns that sprung up as the railroad moved west..Benton is located near the North Platte River, eleven miles east of Rawlins, marked today by a Union Pacific milepost. Both Zane Grey & General Ulysses S. Grant passed through Benton. It was notorious for crime, vice and avarice. Saloons, brothels & gambling establishments kept the hard working and hard living railroad workers busy. According to area legend more than 100 men died in gunfights during Benton's short existence.
Carbon Ghost Town
The town of Carbon was founded by the Union Pacific Railroad in 1868 as a place where they could source for fuel for steam locomotives. It was unfortunately not a great place to live as it was rife with Indian attacks, frequent mining accidents and lacked water. Once inhabited by 1000 people this mining outpost contained several coal mines, as well as churches, a general store, saloons, bank, school, newspaper, hotel and miner’s hall among other businesses. In 1890, a fire destroyed most of the town's structures and today, only a few foundations remain. There is still a cemetery and traces of the old town of Carbon still at the site. The town of Carbon went bust when coal mines started closing down and the railroad moved the line. This prompted inhabitants to move to better places such as Hanna and left the place pretty much a ghost town. The Hanna Museum is your best resource to learn more about the old town of Carbon. The museum has photos, artifacts, maps and personal accounts of life in Carbon. The old Ghost Town of Carbon Cemetary is popular for both history buffs and decendants of the miners who lived and died in the mines of Carbon.
The Ghost Town of Battle
The best time to visit the ghost town of Battle is during the late spring, summer or early fall. We highly suggest doing this route only in a 4 Wheel Drive high clearance vehicle. There are still a number of residences in Battle some of whom are related to miners who settled the area back in its heyday. The tiny town of Battle is located 13-14 miles east of Encampment & Riverside along county road 70 towards Slater, Colorado. The town was names after nearby Battle Pass.
Rudefeha/Dillon Ghost Towns
A great town to explore, it should however, be accorded caution as the mineshaft was never filled when the miners abandoned the town. There are also some buildings still stands to this day. Rudefeha is an abandoned mining town. Take Hwy 230 south out of Saratoga. When you get to Encampment, take Hwy 70 west. As you meander through the forest, look for the town of Battle, it's located right on the Continental Divide. Go past battle for about 12 miles and look for a sign alongside Hwy 70 that has the name Copperton on it. Take the dirt road that leads north out of the Copperton junction (Forest Rd. #862).
Dillon was established as an offshoot, or, sister town of Rudefeha and Battle mines, primeraly as a town for drunks and trouble-makers once saloons were banned from Rudefeha, the company town site. Once the mine folded along with local establishments, the mine employese flooded outwards to find work across Wyoming and America's west.
The Ghost Town of Rambler
Traveling to Rambler is no easy task! Located near the top of the western side of the Continental Divide is a small valley in the middle of which is a clear blue lake. Close to the lake is what is left of Rambler. Once a booming copper mining town housing hundreds of people, only a few buildings still stand as the reminder of a town that produced half a million pounds of copper. All the ore was carried by mule train over the Divide and down to the smelter at Encampment. The scenery alone is worth the trip.