The ultimate goal is to find the U.S.G.S Topographical map that the ghost town is on. With that map you can locate the town and with a portable Global Positioning System you can never get lost! You will want to get the 7.5" topographical map for the town you are looking for. This map is roughly 7.5 X 7.5 miles and has terrain and road detail which enables you to find the site easily.

     So, how do you find which map a town is on? That depends on the information you have. Most ghost towns existed because of a mine or group of mines. When you have a town in mind to visit you will either have the name of the town or name of the mine(s) and most likely the county. With those three things we can locate the proper map. Your state will have a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and a department of mines. These two places are a wealth of information. The BLM will have a public records room in which you can search for the name of any ghost town and read any legally recorded information. In this information you will find the exact legal information (township, range, and section number). From there you can look at their Platte map for that specific legal information and determine the topographical map name. Of course you will be seeing all the legally recorded history of the site also so the BLM is a very interesting place to visit. The easiest thing to do if you have a name of a ghost town is to go the the United States Geological Survey's (USGS) Geographic Names Information Server(GNIS) and fill out the form and the results of your form will give you not only the topographical map that the town is on, but also the exact coordinates of the town. Remember to use "populated place" as the Feature Type on the form. Try a few towns you might be familiar with to see how it works. The GNIS is a great time saver as you can look up many towns in just minutes!

     If you don't have the name of the town but you do have related mine names you can check with the department of mines. They will also have a public room where you can look up any mine name every legally recorded in your state. They will bring you a folder containing all the information they have on that site. Sometimes it is 6 inches thick and even has receipts from the mints and sometimes they hardly have anything. Either way they will have an exact location you can get the topographical map name from. Many times the towns were named after the mines which means you may find even more information here than at the BLM

     Once you have the topographical map you can make you way to the town. We highly suggest investing in a global positioning system (GPS) to make your trip much more enjoyable. With a GPS you can input the exact coordinates from the map and find the site with little or no trouble. You will also know your exact location at all times in case you are in trouble and need to tell someone where you are (cellular phone or ham radio).