Dawson Ghost Town – Dawson, New Mexico - Atlas Obscura

Dawson Ghost Town

Dawson, New Mexico

All that remains of this abandoned coal town is a beautiful, haunting cemetery. 


There is only one road in and out of Dawson, an early-1900s coal town that was abandoned after two disastrous mining explosions killed hundreds of workers. The narrow dirt road dead-ends at the town’s only remaining relic, the cemetery.

The victims of the mining accidents that occurred in 1913 and 1923—many of whom were young immigrants who came to the states to find a better life—are buried in this beautiful resting place. Situated at the base of several buttes, dozens of tilted white crosses and dilapidated iron gates scatter the land.

Incredibly still, peaceful, and a little eerie, the only sound you’re likely to hear is the breeze as it snakes through the overgrown grass. If you’re quiet and observant, you might see antelope and other large wildlife roaming in the distance. Go near sundown to experience the setting sun cascade beautiful beams of orange light on the headstones. Don’t forget to stop by the old mailbox to the right of the entrance and sign your name on the weathered notebook inside.

Know Before You Go

Located 17 miles east of Cimarron on US-64 and A-38. You'll likely say goodbye to your mobile phone service. If you think you'll get lost, download the map to your phone before arrival. 

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