The ghost town of Chloride, Arizona's oldest silver-mining camp, takes its name from a type of silver ore mined here. During its heyday, from 1900 to 1920, some 60 mines operated in the area: silver, gold, lead, zinc, molybdenum, and even turquoise were mined here. Around 370 folks live in and around Chloride today; there's a restaurant, saloon, convenience store, two RV parks, and a smattering of old buildings.
Western artist Roy Purcell painted the large murals on the rocks on the east edge of town—10 feet high and almost 30 feet across, they depict a goddess figure, intertwined snakes, and Eastern and Native American symbols. To reach the murals, follow signs from the east end of Highway 125 along the unpaved road—it's a slow, twisting drive best attempted with four-wheel drive. Outdoors enthusiasts can take advantage of the miles of hiking trails and explore the mineral-rich hills with excellent rockhounding opportunities.
Mock gunfights in the streets mark high noon on Saturday (only the first and third Saturdays in July and August). In late June the entire town turns out for Old Miner's Day—the biggest event of the year featuring a parade, bazaar, bake sale, and family-friendly contests (St. Patrick's Day is also a big to-do here).
The marked turnoff on Highway 125 for Chloride is about 12 miles north of Kingman on U.S. 93. For more information, contact the Chloride Chamber of Commerce (4940 Tennessee Ave., Chloride 928/565–4251 www.chloridearizona.com). Give wide berth to abandoned mine entrances and shafts, which are often unstable and can cave in without warning. Experts believe there are more than 200,000 abandoned mines in Arizona, many in the rich mineral regions such as the one surrounding Chloride.
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