Not every vacation has to be crowded and action-packed. For families that love exploring spooky places, the Grafton ghost town might be the perfect place to visit. It’s a lesser-known attraction in Utah, but it’s a great stop if you’re visiting the Zion National Park.
So, should you visit Grafton, Utah? If so, what should you expect?
Why Should You Visit Grafton, Utah?
If you love spooky history and outdoor adventures, then you should visit Grafton. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience, but it requires lots of planning ahead because it really is an abandoned town with no typical amenities. If you’re visiting the Zion National Park anyway, you might as well drive 20 to 30 minutes out of your way to check out this unique attraction too.
Grafton was a settlement started by Mormon pioneers in the mid-1800s. There were several similar settlements across Utah at the time. A group of ten families established Grafton in 1859, and it became a place for growing cotton.
The town was always small, but it was popular in the early 1900s. When a canal was built in 1906 to reroute Grafton’s irrigation water, many of the residents left. The town became deserted by 1945, but the land is still privately owned today.
Today, it’s mostly used as an eerie destination for travelers to explore. It was also used as a set for the 1969 movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
How to Get There
To get to Grafton, you only need to travel a quarter of a mile off the highway that leads to Zion National Park. You’ll take a 3.5 mile road to get directly to the ghost town near Zion, and the last two miles of the road are unpaved. There aren’t a lot of signs leading up to this secluded town, but there will be a few to guide you.
You can access the Grafton ghost town by taking Highway 9 through Rockville. You can turn on Bridge Road just past the Rockville town center. You’ll end up on an unpaved portion of the road, but it’s well-maintained. If there’s inclement weather, you may want to reschedule your trip to the ghost town since the path can get muddy.
Luckily, Google maps will lead you directly to the Grafton ghost town Utah if you enter it in your phone.
What to Expect at the Grafton Ghost Town
There are a lot of mesmerizing sights in Grafton, Utah. When exploring, you’ll find several historical buildings and a graveyard. The Grafton Heritage Partnership Project has maintained the town over the years and put up signs to improve the experience for visitors. Even though some things have been updated over the years, no one has lived in the town since it was abandoned.
The most well-known structure in the town is the school house. It was built in 1886, but it is in great shape for its age. Outside the school house, a swing has been installed on a large tree, serving as a fun activity for kids and a good photo opportunity.
There are several buildings in the town that have been restored. You can go inside some of them, but others are closed to the public to avoid vandalism. Yet, even from the outside, these structures are fascinating to observe.
When the town was occupied, there were about 30 large buildings, but today, the community has only been able to maintain five of them. The buildings that are locked have platforms that make it easy to look inside.
Before you visit, it’s important to remember that this location is a ghost town, so you’ll need to plan accordingly. You won’t find any places with food, water, gas stations, or bathrooms. The closest businesses about 15 to 20 minutes away.
You’ll pass a small cemetery to get to the town, which is another essential stop during your visit. It has a few dozen graves dated from 1860 to 1910. The tombstones give some historical context about the difficult lives the people of Grafton faced. One example of a shocking story is the five children of John and Charlotte Ballard, who all died before turning 9 years old.
The largest grave is for the Berry family, and it’s in the center of the graveyard in an enclosed fence. There’s something eerie about this old graveyard, so it might not be the best attraction for those who scare easily.
If you like to explore, there are some dirt and gravel trails near Grafton Utah. You can travel to the nearby Zion National Park for the most mesmerizing trails. No matter where you hike, make sure you pack water for you trip, especially on summer days.
Hiking near the Grafton ghost town is an incredible experience because the town is surrounded by gorgeous cliffs and farmland. Some of the surrounding farmland is still in use, and some people live just outside of Grafton.
Where to Stay Near Grafton Ghost Town
Of course, there’s no lodging in Grafton, but you’ll find some options just outside of it. Rockville has limited places to stay, and you’ll find a wider variety as you get closer to Springdale. In the other direction, there are some options in Virgin as well.
Grafton probably isn’t the only attraction you’re interested in, so it may be more convenient to research hotels near Zion National Park since that’s the biggest tourist attraction in the area.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most common questions about the Grafton ghost town.
Are There Other Ghost Towns Near Zion National Park?
Grafton is the only Zion ghost town, but there are a few other Utah ghost towns in other areas, including Silver Reef, the Russian Settlement, and Terrace.
What Other Attractions are Near the Grafton Ghost Town?
Almost all the attractions near Grafton are part of the Zion National Park. Angels Landing, The Narrows, and The Subway are just a few landmarks in the gorgeous park.
Is the Grafton Ghost Town the Right Destination for You?
If you love real-life spooky experiences, then the Grafton ghost town in Utah should be on your bucket list. Young kids might get overwhelmed with this unique attraction, but if you plan ahead, the adults and older kids in your family will likely have a wonderful time!
If this attraction isn’t speaking to you, check out some of the other fun things to do in Utah.