Two Guns is a ghost town located just off Interstate 40 about 30 miles east of Flagstaff. It is signed exit 230 on I40. Two Guns is reportedly owned by Russell Crowe who purchased it as a possible location for a remake of Westworld. I would take this statement with a large grain of salt.
Two Guns has a reputation of being haunted by a ghost tribe of Apaches who were burned alive in a nearby limestone cave. In 1878 forty-two Apaches died in "The Apache Death Cave" during a confrontation between the Navajo and the Apache. The location of the cave is shown on the map below. The route to the cave is shown in the gallery. The route follows a short footbridge in disrepair; use at your own risk.
In the winter of 1879-80 Billy The Kid and his gang hid out in stone ruins along Canyon Diablo near Two Guns.
In 1889 four men robbed the train near Two Guns and fled with over $100,000 in currency and $40,000 in gold coins. The bandits were captured but the stolen money was never recovered. After release from prison one of the bandits said that the goods were buried near the Canyon Diablo bridge close to Two Guns. Since then many have looked for the treasure but it has not been found.
The first "white" settler of Two Guns was Ed Randolph who built the store next to the Apache Death Cave. Two Guns was purchased by Earle and Louise Cundiff in 1922. In 1925 Harry Miller leased property from the Cundiffs and built many buildings. He constructed the Mountain Lion Zoo and also shored up the Apache Death Cave installing electric lights and building fake ruins in the caves interior. Miller made the cave into a tourist attraction where he sold soft drinks and the remaining skulls of the dead Apaches. Miller named the area Two Guns after silent film western actor William S. Hart. In 1926 Miller shot and killed unarmed Earle Cundiff in a disagreement over the lease. He was acquitted in the resulting trial. In 1930 Miller left the state.
Two Guns has about a dozen ruins varying from a gas station and KOA campground to largely intact old stone buildings. The gas station and KOA Campground building have been vandalized and are heavily graffitied. Conversely the stone buildings photograph very well and the doors and windows can be used to frame other buildings. If you are shooting through a window to frame another building I suggest you either Focus bracket, shoot at f/16 or f/22 to gain DOF, or shoot wider and crop.
Two Guns is an excellent destination for Milky Way photography. The best sides of both the Mountain Lion Zoo and the Round House face south. The Apache Death Cave is also photogenic.
While in the area you may want to visit nearby Meteor Crater off exit 233 on I40. Reportedly Meteor Crater is the most intact impact crater on Earth. While the museum and exhibits are informative I find the crater very difficult to photograph. A wide angle lens is needed.
To view the map in Google Maps please click anywhere on the map above.
The topo map Meteor Crater covers both Meteor Crater and the Two Guns ghost town. This map can be downloaded in a variety of formats by clicking or right-clicking below:
|Geo Tiff/Avenza||KMZ||Oruxmaps||KMZ Decollared||Oruxmap Decollared||Avenza Decollared|
|Meteor Crater||KMZ||Oruxmap||KMZ Decollared||Oruxmap Decollared||Avenza Decollared|
Mountain Lion Zoo at Night
Mountain Lion Zoo
Apache Death Cave
Milky Way over Round House
Mountain Lion Zoo at Dawn
Bridge over Canyon Diablo