Tombstone Arizona Attractions
Helldorado Days
OCTOBER 17-19, 2014
Helldorado Days Couple

In July 1881, a disgruntled miner writes the Tombstone Nugget newspaper stating that instead of finding their "Eldorado" of riches, many men ended up washing dishes or other menial jobs, finding instead, their "Helldorado". The term stuck. Helldorado is Tombstone's oldest festival celebrating its rip-roaring days of the 1880's.  Helldorado, started in 1929, is sponsored by Helldorado, Inc. whose membership is composed of residents in Cochise County. 

Helldorado Ghosts

Helldorado is a major Arizona Attraction held every third weekend in October and consists of gunfight re-enactment shows, street entertainment, fashion shows and a family oriented carnival.  In addition, come and watch the Annual Helldorado Parade on Sunday at 11am. 

Stroll down Allen Street and check out some of the most unique gift shops and restaurants in America.

Wyatt Earp Days

IMG: Artist Unknown Courtesy of Google Images

Held every Memorial Day Weekend, sponsored by the Tombstone Lions Club to raise money for youth activities.  The celebration consists of a chili cook-off, fashion shows by the Tombstone Vigilettes and gunfight re-enactments by the Tombstone Renegade Lions and the Tombstone Vigilantes, as well as games for the kids.

Q n A ~
Is Helldorado Days a bikers event?

Yes and no, its all about Tombstone, and its part in American History.

Yes, you will see some really nice Harley Davidson's.  But then again, if I was a cowboy in 1880's Tombstone, I'd be riding a Harley!  A majority of the steel horse riders who come into town, are dawned in authentic western period attire.  Modern day cowboys? Or ghosts from the past.

Barny Fife

The Most Authentic Western Town in America!

Wooden Sidewalks of Tombstone

Step onto Allen Street and step back in time. Other than the Nike sneakers and asphalt you would swear you were in 1880's Arizona Territory. Walk the wooden sidewalks and admire the tastefully decorated shop windows all while a gunfight breaks out in the middle of the street. You will relive the spirit of the American West alongside folks adorned in authentic 1880's wear. This is one of Arizona's attractions you don't want to miss.

Big Nose Kate's Saloon Tombstone

Tombstone is the most famous and most infamous mining town in America. Ed Schieffelin was told he would only find his tombstone in the land of the Apache in the San Pedro Valley. Thus, he named his first silver claim "Tombstone," and it became the name of the town which incorporated in 1881.

Bird Cage Theater Tombstone Arizona

Tombstone needed to put itself back on the map. This happened quite by mistake with what started as the towns 50th Anniversary celebration, Helldorado Days. This annual event in mid-October is the most authentic reenactment of 1880?s American West that you can find. Activities include gunfight reenactments, a parade, fashion shows, a carnival, live music, street entertainment, food to suit every taste, and the Tombstone Vigilettes' Variety Night. Other annual events include the Wyatt Earp Days in late May, Vigilante Days in August commemorating Tombstone's unique heritage, and the Clanton Gang Reunion in November.

Tombstone Entertainment

In 1962, the Department of the Interior designated Tombstone a Registered Historical Landmark. It is estimated that more than 500,000 tourists visit Tombstone every year and most local businesses are dependent on the tourism. The mild year-round climate and low humidity make Tombstone an attractive place for retirement.

Visiting the Cochise County Courthouse is a definite stop for anyone. Now a museum, see the tools of the trades; learn of the people, the barons, the politicians, the law, and the outlaws. Just make sure it?s not you swingin? from the gallows in the courtyard. The Bird Cage Theatre is now a museum, featuring original bullet holes from drunken cowboys and the most valuable piece of old west history in Arizona... laden with silver fixtures this horse drawn hearse once partly owned by Wyatt Earp is valued over 1 million dollars.

While the area later became notorious for saloons, gambling houses, and the famous Wyatt Earp & Clanton Gang shoot-out at the O.K. Corral, in the 1880s Tombstone was larger than Tucson and had become the most cultivated city in the West. In 1886 massive amounts of underground water filled the near 200 miles of mines and combined with the falling silver prices ended the boom. Having survived the Great Depression, removal of the county seat to Bisbee, and numerous city fires, Tombstone became known as the "Town Too Tough To Die."



Or Real Cowboy Loads In Your Holster?

Guns If you are dressing the part for your visit to this original American Western town, visitors are reminded that even handgun replicas and children's toy guns are not legal to possess in any Saloon or establishment which serves open liquor.  Better remember to check your firearm at the smoke shop before frequenting the famous Saloons of Tombstone.  If not, its likely the Marshall will have a real chat with you. Also, children are allowed entrance to the saloons during the daytime only if accompanied by their parents.

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OCTOBER 17-19 2014
OCTOBER 16-18 2015
OCTOBER 21-23 2016

Special Thanks To
Tombstone News
Great American Adventures
Helldorado Girls
Stampede RV Park
Bisbee News

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Arizona Reporter

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Arizona Became a New Territory
February 24, 1863

How far would you travel for silver and gold? After Arizona became a separate territory on February 24, 1863, New Englanders searching for gold came to Arizona and founded the town of Prescott.

When silver was discovered at Tombstone, Arizona, in 1877, nearly 7,000 people came to the territory. Four years later, the rough frontier town became the site of the famous gunfight at the O.K. Corral. By the 1880's the Arizona territory was bustling with fortune seekers from all around the world.

In 1912, no longer a lawless frontier, Arizona became a state, but precious metals and gunslingers were only a part of Arizona's heritage.



Arizona Ghost Towns

Touring Arizona's ghost towns is an excellent way to step back into the bygone days of the Old West. Once you begin to slow down from the hectic pace of contemporary life, you start to feel more and more at home among the memories of an earlier time.
Please remember - there will by many more visitors to come after you, and they all deserve the same opportunity as you had to experience a bit of Arizona as it was in the pioneer days. So please - resist the temptation to disturb anything.

Another point worth remembering is that while Arizona's highways are excellent, the distances are vast. So it pays to make sure your car is top condition before you set out to explore our many fascinating places. Good tires are a must, and if you'll be traveling off the beaten path, it's wise to take extra containers of oil and gasoline. And don't forget water - lots and lots of water! Carrying a shovel and tow line are also wise precautions in remote areas. Desert regions are subject to flash floods and resultant washouts. Obey all posted signs, leave gates as you find them, and do not remove anything from the premises.

Also, some of the places listed below may be on private land or the roads leading to them might be. Please be respectful to the owners and occupants as well as to the landscape.

Charleston in Cochise County, 8 miles southwest of Tombstone. The U.S. Army during World War II used Charleston as a training site for house-to-house combat, destroying many of the buildings. Some adobe ruins survived.

Contention City in Cochise County near Tombstone. Ore from Tombstone was processed in this mill town. Heaps of ruin and rubble.

Dos Cabezas in Cochise County, 15 miles southeast of Willcox. Semi-ghost town where a few residents still support a small P.O. Formerly an active supply center for surrounding mines and cattle ranches. Wells Fargo station 1885. Vacant, crumbling adobes, also stage station.

Duquesne in Santa Cruz County, 19 miles east of Nogales. Former mining town established around the turn of the century. Ruins. The ghost town of Washington Camp is 3/4 of a mile past Duquesne.

Gleeson in Cochise County, 16 miles east of Tombstone. Indians mined turquoise near the present site of Gleeson before Spaniards arrived in the area. Ruins, cemetery.

Goldroad in Mohave County 23 miles southwest of Kingman. Gold first discovered here in 1864. Most of the mining operations were razed in the 1940s. Now mostly diggings, minor ruins.

Hilltop in Cochise County 36 miles southeast from Willcox on State Route 186. Town was first started on the west side of the mountain, then a tunnel was put through to the east side where an even larger town was established.

McMillen in Gila County near U.S. 60, about 10 miles northeast of Globe. The Stonewall Jackson Mine was discovered in 1876 and is believed to have produced close to $3 million. Ruins.

Mowry in Santa Cruz County 15 miles southeast of Patagonia. The small town grew up around the silver, lead and zinc mine U.S. Army Lt. Mowry purchased. The operations were cut short in 1862 when Lt. Mowry was charged with supplying lead for Confederate bullets. Extensive ruins.

Oatman in Mohave County, 32 miles southwest of Kingman. Gold mining town active 1900-1942. Many empty buildings and picturesque ruins. Some small places of business operated by a few "never say die" citizens.

Pearce in Cochise County, 29 miles south of Willcox. This old gold camp once had a population of 2,000 - all of them well supported by the wealth of the Commonwealth mine. It was discovered by Johnny Pearce in 1894 and in its heyday, the old Commonwealth was the richest gold digging in southern Arizona. Operating store and post office, with many vacant adobes, mine and mill ruins.

White Hills in Mohave County 50 miles north of Kingman off State Route 93. In the 1890s it was considered the rowdiest silver camp between Globe and Virginia City. In six years, the 15 mines which surrounded the town produced $12 million in silver bullion. Mostly old diggings.

SOURCE: Arizona Office of Tourism


Map of Tombstone, AZ

Tombstone Arizona

Picture of Tombstone Arizona Circa 1908 - Panoramic photographs (Library of Congress)  Copyright West Coast Art Co.