There's A Ghost Town Hidden In The Texas Desert & You Can Visit Its Jail And Saloon

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Texas Staff Writer
The Terlingua jail. Right: The road to Terlingua, TX.

The Terlingua jail. Right: The road to Terlingua, TX.

When you think of a ghost town in Texas, you might imagine the cowboys, miners, and war generals that once used to run amok through the desert-like plans of the west or the panhandle.

While they haven't existed in the Lonestar state in decades, you can at least experience the very same Wild West vibes in the ghost town of Terlingua, Texas, in contemporary times.

Located way out in west Texas are the abandoned ruins of a mercury mining area that have stood in the same spot for over two decades. The settlement is complete with walkable mine ruins, giant cacti, and a western town that even has a tiny jail and an operational saloon called the Starlight Theatre.

History is rich in this town that was once home to miners harvesting the bright red cinnabar in the surrounding areas. The old company store still stands as the Terlingua Trading Company where you can buy souvenirs.

If you want to creep yourself out, the historic ghost borough has an authentic cemetery with wood crosses marking the rows of gravesites, and there are a lot. It's a popular stop because of each grave's unique architecture which makes for some eerily fascinating views.

It's said that everyone up and left the municipality in the 1940s once the mercury was picked through. Thus, the once busy city became the ghost town we know today. It is now home to 110 people.

We think the annual Chihuahua dog race, chilli cook-offs, and the nightly performances make Terlingua feel a little less desolate.

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

Brittany Cristiano
Texas Staff Writer
Brittany Cristiano is a Staff Writer for Narcity’s USA Desk focused on viral TikToks, and trending local characters in the Southern United States. She is based in Houston, Texas.