Do you want a different type of adventure this year? Something beyond hiking, biking, or wine tasting? Southern Oregon has a variety of expeditions the entire family will enjoy, especially if they like all things spooky. This year, don’t wait until Halloween to discover some of the area’s ghost towns. 

Southern Oregon has a handful of ghost towns, rich with history and interesting stories. Visit these local ghost towns and learn about Oregon’s fascinating past.

1) Buncom, Jackson County

An abandoned mid-19th century mining town, Buncom is one of Oregon’s most well-preserved ghost towns. It was founded in 1851 by Chinese miners after gold was discovered in Jacksonville and Sterling Creek. The mines contained silver, chromite and cinnabar. 

Back in the day, Buncom had a saloon and general store, and added a post office in 1896. Buncom attracted farmers, ranchers and loggers, in addition to many miners.

Only three buildings from that time still survive. The bunkhouse, post office and cookhouse are protected and preserved by the Buncom Historical Society. 

2) Golden, Josephine County

Completely abandoned, Golden is a true Oregon ghost town. The city was established during the 1840s gold rush and began as a mining camp on Coyote Creek. It developed into a town around 1890, and was a hub for people working in nearby remote places.

At its peak, more than 150 people lived in Golden. There was a church, post office, orchard and general store — but no saloons.

Golden sits in beautiful woodlands and has its own historic district — the Golden State Heritage Site. You can explore the four remaining structures: a residence, shed, church and the building that housed the store and post office. 

3) Sterlingville Cemetery

4.2 miles from Buncom, Sterlingville Cemetery isn’t haunted, but this graveyard is all that remains of the gold mining township of Sterlingville.

When you arrive, stop at the aluminum gate on the dirt road and enter the cemetery through the side gate. A sign shows how a 1,200-person town grew after miners James Sterling and Aaron Davis located a gold strike in 1854.

As miners arrived, stores opened, including a saloon, bakery, boarding house and warehouse. Today, Sterlingville is overgrown with trees and brush, with only the cemetery still remaining.

To get to Sterlingville Cemetery, go south toward Jacksonville. Take Oregon Street (Highway 238) west and turn left on Cady Road. Follow Cady Road for 1.8 miles and turn right onto Sterling Creek Road. Go 6.3 miles. There’s a dirt road to the left with a wooden sign stating “Sterlingville Cemetery 1863.”

Southern Oregon’s Rich History

Visit these historic Southern Oregon ghost towns and learn more about our region’s unique and spooky history. It’s a great way to connect to our area’s past and learn how it’s related to the present.