There’s A Charming Secret Ghost Town In California & It Looks Just Like The Wild West

It is straight out of old Western movies.

Georgia Staff Writer
​A woman in a colorful skirt and boots in front of an old hotel. Right: A man standing in front of a windmill.

A woman in a colorful skirt and boots in front of an old hotel. Right: A man standing in front of a windmill.

Stepping into this hidden ghost town in Southern California feels like stepping out of the modern world and into a John Wayne film: at least that's our first impression of Pioneertown, going by the pictures on Instagram.

It's an unincorporated town, situated in the Morongo Basin region of San Bernardino's High Desert, just outside of Joshua Tree National Park.

The old mining town, located just two hours outside of Los Angeles, was revamped by Hollywood investors in the 1940s to resemble the Wild West. It's served as the backdrop for more than 80 films and television shows.

Walking through Pioneertown's Mane Street, you'll find old-school saloons, frontier stables, and replicas of old jails. You can also stumble upon mock gun fights, and charming, quaint storefronts.

A popular spot here is the Pappy & Harriet's Pioneertown Palace. This music venue offers live acts, no-frill eats and serves as an iconic watering hole for locals and visitors alike. In the past, it has hosted the likes of Paul McCartney, Robert Plant, Lizzo, Lorde and the Arctic Monkeys.

"When I first walked into Pappy & Harriet’s as a customer, it reminded me of the first Star Wars, when they walked into the bar and saw all the aliens just drinking and having fun," the current owner, Linda Krantz, told Visit California.

Due to it's close proximity to Joshua Tree National Park, this is a great town to visit for the lovers of great outdoors, especially if you're looking to explore California's magnificent natural beauty.

Whether you're committed to taking a long hike in the desert, or you prefer saloon hopping and dancing to live music in cowboy boots, Pioneertown has something for curious travelers across the country.

Before you get going, check our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.

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