Swansea Ghost Town

Day of the Wolves

Smelter #2
Smelter #2

Seven strangers coming soon,
While seven thousand sleep,
Silhouettes against the moon,
Like wolves to kill the sheep.


I’ve had this one on my list for awhile, but given the remoteness, and length of drive, I’d put it off until today. Only speeding about 5 mph, I made it from Phoenix to Swansea in about four hours driving time. (Not counting a half hour stop in Midway.) On the way back out, leaving at 4:00 p.m., I made it 26 miles back to Bouse in under 40 minutes. With no posted speed limit, I channeled my inner Sebastien Loeb. :mrgreen:

Coincidentally, while researching this hike, I found out that the movie “Day of the Wolves” filmed its heist training scenes there. That answered my 40-year old question, “What is the name of that cool movie I saw when I was a kid where a team of robbers held up a town, but were stopped by a shotgun wielding sheriff?” (Where the answer definitely was not “High Noon”.) Richard Egan was the star. And, yes, “Day of the Wolves” is available for free on YouTube. ;-)

The first, larger arch is across a small canyon, I took a few shots, but did not hike out to it, as all the driving time put ghost hunting time at a premium. However, I did hike up to the hills to USLM 2797, so I at least got some AEG for the day. Oddly enough, a few hours later, I found an even older USLM 2797 marker at the base of the water tower hill, a half mile northeast. :?: I also skipped a second, smaller, arch I spotted on the same ridge as the USLM. Climbing to the USLM saddle was steep & slippery, and required some minor scrambling, but the saddle itself was mild. 4-bar Verizon on top. (1-2 bar reception amongst the ruins in town.)

If you look at the satellite view of Swansea, all the square brownish objects you see are not ruins, but are shaft covers. It was the first time I’d seen anything more elaborate than a few token pieces of barbwire protecting a shaft. Other than one adit, the adits are also covered.

Most of Swansea’s ruins are marked by small silver signs indicating the building’s purpose and year of origin. The major ruins also have a larger sign with back-in-the-day pictures, and multiple paragraphs of historical information.

The only disappointment was the lack of identifiable, labelled, or even occupied, graves in the two cemeteries. Maybe they’d all turned into ghosts … or zombies!?

I was surprised how extensive the ruins are. Best I’ve seen in my limited ghost town experience. :-D

But Swansea is the largest, most well-preserved ghost town I have so far explored. Though it has decayed since “Day of the Wolves” was filmed there in 1971, it is now an Arizona-designated archaeological site, and is aministered by the BLM. There are five designated no-fee camping spots. Several pit latrines — bring your own TP! — are scattered about the site. Might be interesting to spend the night there. :mrgreen:

GPS File: Swansea_Ghost_Town

Distance: 6.70 mi.

AEG: 902 ft.

Time: 4h 30m


Hike Video

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