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Exploring the Ghost Town of Elizabethtown, New Mexico

If you’re a fan of exploring ghost towns and diving into the rich history of the American Southwest‚ Elizabethtown in New Mexico is a must-visit destination. This unincorporated community‚ located in Colfax County‚ is known for its fascinating past as a bustling mining town in the late 19th century.​ Today‚ Elizabethtown stands as a reminder of the state’s rich mining heritage and offers visitors a chance to step back in time.​

The History of Elizabethtown

Elizabethtown was founded in 1866 after the discovery of gold and copper deposits in the Moreno Valley.​ Captain William H.​ Moore‚ the commander of Fort Union‚ named the town after his daughter‚ Elizabeth Catherine Moore.​ Within a short period‚ Elizabethtown became New Mexico’s first incorporated town‚ attracting prospectors‚ settlers‚ and entrepreneurs from all over.​

During its heyday‚ Elizabethtown boasted a population of approximately 7‚000 residents and was a thriving mining center. The town had numerous stores‚ saloons‚ brothels‚ and gambling halls‚ characteristic of the Wild West era. However‚ the town faced challenges from landowners‚ vigilantes‚ and even a notorious serial killer.​

Exploring the Ghost Town

Today‚ Elizabethtown is a ghost town that has retained some of its historical buildings and ruins.​ Visitors can explore the remnants of Froelick Store‚ the Mutz Hotel‚ and other structures that stood during the town’s heyday.​ These remnants offer a glimpse into the past and serve as a testament to the challenges and triumphs faced by the early settlers.​

As you wander through the quiet streets and remnants of Elizabethtown‚ imagine what life was like during its mining boom.​ Take in the scenic beauty of the surrounding Carson National Forest‚ which provides a serene backdrop to the town. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the unique charm and haunting beauty of this historical site.​

Visiting Elizabethtown

Elizabethtown is conveniently located just off New Mexico State Road 38‚ between the communities of Eagle Nest and Red River.​ It’s easily accessible‚ making it an ideal day trip or stop along a longer journey through New Mexico’s enchanting landscapes.​

While there are no services or amenities within Elizabethtown itself‚ nearby towns like Eagle Nest and Red River offer various accommodations‚ restaurants‚ and recreational activities.​ Consider planning your visit to coincide with the annual Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway‚ an 84-mile drive that showcases the beauty of Northern New Mexico‚ including Elizabethtown.​

Remember to respect the historical significance and fragile nature of the area by leaving no trace and taking only photographs.​ Take time to read any informational placards or signs that provide context to the buildings and ruins you encounter during your visit.


Elizabethtown‚ New Mexico‚ is a ghost town that offers a fascinating glimpse into the state’s mining history.​ As you explore the remnants of this once-thriving community‚ you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for the challenges and triumphs of the early settlers.​ Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply enjoy off-the-beaten-path adventures‚ a visit to Elizabethtown will transport you back in time and leave you with lasting memories;