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Review Highlights
Ghosting expeditions

Long driving for the experience but well worth the views. We did it in the Smart but I would not... read more

Reviewed December 29, 2017
J3w3ll68
,
Quartzsite, Arizona
via mobile
The Ghost Town and the water source

This archeological site is maintained by the BLM & AZ. Saw only 2 other vehicles (Thursday). Long... read more

Reviewed April 14, 2017
hng863
,
Gaffney, South Carolina
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Reviewed February 5, 2018 via mobile

This was a hard drive to see very little.
No signs of ghosts or anything else.
You need a rugged vehicle to drive the final few miles.

2  Thank CamilleV643
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed January 12, 2018

I have been to a lot of ghost towns in the Southwest. This one is disappointing considering the distance on dirt roads. It is not a town, but a mining site.There are no buildings to see other than the workers cabins which have been restored and are clearly not original looking. Otherwise its a collection of concrete foundations of building long gone. Yet, for some who love this stuff it could be great.

Desert rats will like going there on ATVs and campers can camp there, no facilities. There is a BLM outhouse near the entrance.

Bring food and water, we got hungry for lunch and only had pretzels and beer (ok not too bad.)

Entrance from Bouse AZ (pop 1000) is a 27 mile dirt road. There are other ways in that are more paved. Like Shea Rd to Swansea Mesa Road. Still mostly dirt.

If you can find your way to Swansea Road you will get there.

A 2WD SUV can do it easily but watch for large dips. Max speed about 40 mph unless you can see way ahead. I would not recommend a car due to the clearance needed.

No cell service.

Enjoy the desert view with no signs of people or civilization until getting to Swansea.

Allow a half day for driving from AZ 95 to the site, visiting, and returning.

3  Thank Ray S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed December 29, 2017 via mobile

Long driving for the experience but well worth the views. We did it in the Smart but I would not recommend it for just anyone, it takes talent!

1  Thank J3w3ll68
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed December 29, 2017

Most Arizona ghost towns require four wheel drive to visit, but not Swansea. We went in our F150 2wd truck and there was a car at the town when we got there! I DO NOT recommend driving a car there because of the ground clearance -a 2WD SUV or truck is the way to get there. The mine shafts have been covered with solid metal grating so it is pretty safe. I would take little kids there without any worry though I would keep them close. There is a reason I call my grandkids 'monkeys' - they climb on anything. The various sites have nice markers explaining what you are looking at. There are picnic tables and barbecues available. A super nice day trip with great views along the way. There is a bathroom located just before you enter the town. There are more buildings here than other Arizona ghost towns I have visited and you don't have to spend hours on a skull numbing 4x4 trail to enjoy it. Drive out, see the town, barbecue your lunch and head back home - a perfect day. Yo could spend a couple hours just seeing all the sites in Swansea.

5  Thank 940brianm940
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed July 19, 2017 via mobile

This is a wonderful place to visit if you appreciate history and a great view. You can make it with a two wheel drive but I always recommend a high clearance vehicle, preferably 4x4. Great place for a family day trip. Be sure to read up on Swansea before you go.

Thank 900georgef
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed April 14, 2017

This archeological site is maintained by the BLM & AZ. Saw only 2 other vehicles (Thursday). Long drive to town off route 95 and some of the road was rough with loose rock. 4WD not needed. Brochure at vault toilet helped with visualizing the ruins former state. Walked around, then went toward the water plant which was about 5 miles further - 4WD required to get over rock shelves on road. Spring flowers were in bloom and saw evidence (droppings) of various animals, but only an occasional small lizard.

1  Thank hng863
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed April 8, 2017

I've been to a lot of remote mines and ghost towns but this is one of the larger ones. What was cool was there were camping locations with benches and bbqs. It was good to see someone is trying to preserve the old buildings. The road is like a dirt freeway from Shay paved road until the last mile or so.

1  Thank KAHNMAN805
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed October 11, 2016

This is one of my favorite places to load up the atv's and go. There is a trailhead outside of Bouse where you can park and unload. One your ride you will follow an above ground pipeline that runs for miles. The scenery is great and if you watch closely you can find herds of wild burro's. Fun interesting reader signs along the way about Patton training his army there.

1  Thank Paulette C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed April 25, 2016

Best way to see all of Swansea is by off road vehicles. Nice ATV ride with lots of scenery and challenges to and from the ghost town. You can find artifacts, excellent photo spots, and a nice place for lunch. Can be a 50 mile ride when you throw in the Bill Williams River!

1  Thank David O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed April 25, 2016

I noticed a few other reviewers mentioning "easy drive" so I thought I would offer my opinion: this is a very long drive from Parker, Arizona, and I found it quite challenging in a standard car.

It's about 30 miles, about 13 of which is on good, paved road, and then the remaining 17 is on dirt, which varies from good to very rough. This trip will take about one hour (one way) from Parker, maybe 45 minutes if you really don't drive carefully. This is possible if you take a standard car, but the rough parts are very slow going, and really not advisable if at all wet. There is no help available, and if you get stuck or break down, you're a long way from anything in order to get help.

A truck or 4WD would be my recommendation. I took a standard car and there are several places with deep ruts where the bottom of the car will interact with the stones. There are also very bumpy sections which, if taken too quickly, will cause the car to "bottom out" and scrape the underside.

There is also one bridge with an 8-ton weight limit! I would not expect anyone to attempt this in a vehicle over 8 tons: it's definitely not suitable for most RVs or for towing.

The directions are very clear and it's good to see such good signposting. From Shea Road outside Parker, there's a number of good signs with direction and distance to Swansea. It would be hard to go wrong, but make sure you have a GPS or phone with maps because getting lost would involve a very long trip on difficult roads.

There are no amenities here: it's a ghost town. There are no restrooms, there's no gift shop, and there's nowhere to buy water, so bring plenty of your own just in case. There is no entry fee and nothing to buy.

Everything is fully explorable except the mine shafts (for obvious reasons) and you're free to look around the town at your leisure. Everything is easily accessible on foot once you've parked up, but you do have the option of driving to most of the buildings if you prefer.

During my visit, there was nobody else around. I didn't see another person or vehicle from the time I left the main road, all through my visit, until the time I got back on the main road.

This town was (shamefully) vandalised and as a result, there isn't as much to see as there would have been, but there is a collection of worker houses, a couple of (covered) mine shafts, the ruins of a smelter and the manager's house, and the ruins of a dust collector, as well as loads of pipes, pathways and general debris.

Because this is a ghost town and everyone should be able to enjoy it as such, you need to be careful: don't drop any litter (take it all back with you in the car: there's no trash cans), don't move any objects and especially don't take anything away with you. Don't be tempted to write your name or any graffiti on anything: there's nobody around to stop this sort of thing, but it would ruin the place for everyone else. There is a special plaque (not part of the original town) that you can use to write on if you really feel the need.

Remarkably, everything is very well signposted when you arrive, and boards explain the purpose of each of the buildings (most of which are ruined) and what happened to them over the years, as well as a great history of the town.

You can definitely get a great sense of early 20th century life in Arizona from visiting this place, but it's fragile, and very remote. It gets extremely hot, so be prepared when you visit and don't be tempted to take anything away other than photographs. If you're sensitive to the heat, precious about your vehicle, or have an RV, or are wheelchair bound, this definitely is not a good place to visit.

That said, I was fascinated by this place, the history it has left behind, and the feeling of isolation and desolation you get when visiting. Provided you're not looking for a casual American tourist experience, and not put off by the above, it's a real pleasure to visit and experience this place.

16  Thank fw190a8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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