Explore the remains of Grafton Ghost Town, an abandoned mining town near Zion National Park, and discover the stories behind its establishment, decline, and why it’s still a popular tourist destination today.
Grafton Ghost Town and Cemetary Near Zion National Park
Nestled along the banks of the Virgin River near Zion National Park lies the remains of this small mining town that was originally founded in 1859.
Grafton is a well-known ghost town located in southern Utah, near the town of Rockville and just outside of Zion National Park.
It is one of several ghost towns in the region that were abandoned as settlers moved away in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Grafton's history is closely tied to the Mormon pioneer settlement of Utah and the challenges faced by those early settlers.
While it has long since been abandoned, visiting Grafton today still offers a unique opportunity to both learn about one of Utah's early settlements as well as take in some breathtaking natural beauty.
The Road In
The road into Grafton Ghost Town is pretty scary in itself.
You start by crossing a one-lane bridge over the Virgin River.
A dirt road with signs that seem to say if it rains, you won't be coming out.
And while at the town itself that day, you could see a storm brewing on the horizon.
It felt like we were in a rush for time to get out.
There was also a tour guide with a group and they too wanted out as fast as they could.
Just as we made it out to dry road, it began to rain.
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Is Grafton Ghost Town Worth Visiting
Whether Grafton Ghost Town is worth visiting depends on your interests and what you're looking for in a tourist destination.
If you appreciate history, enjoy exploring old towns, and love the beauty of the Utah desert, it could be a worthwhile stop on your itinerary.
Especially if you're already planning to visit Zion National Park or other nearby attractions.
The Grafton Cemetery, also known as the Grafton Ghost Town Cemetery, is an integral part of the town's history.
It is one of the few remaining remnants of the once-thriving community.
The cemetery is located near the Virgin River and contains the graves of early settlers.
There are 74-84 gravesites. Some without headstones.
Some of the graves date back to the mid-1800s, many of them children.
People leave trinkets and flowers throughout the Grafton Cemetary.
1866 was a bad year. A couple of children died from a swing breaking.
Others were killed by Indians. Scarlet Fever and diphtheria were the main culprits.
There is a chart that shows you a map of who is buried where, their name, age, and what killed them.
They provide a glimpse into the hardships and struggles faced by the early Mormon pioneers.
The Grafton Ghost Town Cemetary is one of the most haunting and mysterious places you can visit.
Raised-up graves seem as if they are going to come to life.
Sitting atop a desolate hill above the city of Virgin, it has seen more than its fair share of death and tragedy over time.
Filled with tales both macabre and tragic, its haunted history will leave a lasting impression on anyone who ventures up to this eerie graveyard.
An impression which is only enhanced by the nighttime sky in which the stars seem just a bit brighter here… (not really, because you cannot enter Grafton after dark!)
About Grafton Ghost Town Rockville Utah
Here are some key facts and history about Grafton Ghost Town:
Founded in 1859 by Mormon pioneers who were sent to establish a farming community in the Virgin River Valley.
The town was named after Grafton, Massachusetts, the birthplace of one of the early settlers.
Flooding and Challenges:
Grafton faced numerous challenges during its existence, including periodic flooding from the nearby Virgin River.
Flooding and other factors made it difficult for the settlers to maintain their farms and homes.
Due to the harsh living conditions, including the threat of flooding and conflicts with local Indigenous peoples, many of the residents gradually left Grafton in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The last residents officially left in 1944.
Well-preserved structures, including homes, a schoolhouse, and a church is what Grafton is known for.
The town has been the subject of preservation efforts.
Some of the buildings have been restored to their original condition.
Grafton's picturesque and historic buildings have also made it a popular location for filming.
It has appeared in several movies and TV shows, including the famous 1969 film "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid."
Ghost Town Tours:
While Grafton is uninhabited today, it is a popular destination for tourists and history enthusiasts.
Visitors can take self-guided tours of the town to learn about its history and enjoy its scenic surroundings.
Situated in a beautiful setting near the Virgin River, It offers stunning views of the nearby red rock formations.
Making it a popular stop for visitors exploring Zion National Park.
Preservation and Conservation:
Efforts are ongoing to protect and preserve the remaining structures in Grafton.
It serves as an important historical and cultural landmark in the region.
Grafton Ghost Town Conclusion
Grafton Ghost Town is a testament to the resilience and determination of the early Mormon settlers.
They attempted to make a life in this challenging environment.
Today, it stands as a window into the past.
Offering visitors a glimpse into the history and hardships faced by those who once called Grafton home.
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