As high school history class taught us, in the late 1800’s there was a gold rush in western America. While most headed out west to California, Canada and Alaska,- Washington was perfectly settled in the middle. This meant while gold seekers were heading up to Canada for their chance at glory, they were bound to stop in humble Washington.

“Some Okanogan stragglers succeeded, leading promoters to label this area the “El Dorado of the North.” This meant that within a short burst of time various mining camps were set up along the mountain side, one of them being Barron. Here campers would do the typical water panning, but also “hard-rock drilling and blasting.”

Fun Fact: Barron is named after Alex Barron who was the first miner to discover the gold in this area.


The Town

Working as a gold miner was no easy feat, but the promise of riches tempted many men alike. For two years men came, slept in tents, worked their tails off- for almost nothing. After two years, the town was barren. Empty, ghosted.

Why? According to Atlas Obscura, “veins of gold quickly disappeared underground and costs were just too high.”

Want to visit?

Great news for visitors- this ghost town is still very much intact and even has mining shafts that are open for the adventurous to check out. Come check out the old cabins, and get a real feel for what the work was like by examining the huge 6 cylinder diesel engine.

This is a free summertime activity- (you won’t see much if it’s covered in snow!) but it is private property. The owners don’t mind guests coming and giving everything a nice look, but please leave things as they are- we don’t want to erase a nice bit of history!

Address: NF-374, Winthrop Washington.


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