Text and Photos by Kristen May
Off of highway 40 in Arizona just outside of Flagstaff, there lies an abandoned town by the name of Two Guns. We didn’t know anything about this place when we stumbled upon it last year but one thing we knew was we had to stop. Our first trip out here we only got to see it for about an hour until the sun went down, but we knew that wouldn’t be our only visit. We made sure to come back again.
When we arrived, we met a man who was heading West and made the stop here. He told us that the site was rumored to be called the Apache Death Cave. We looked more into these rumors and found that the cave that runs underneath the buildings was said to be the site of a gruesome massacre of the Navajo by the Apache. Later that same day, the Navajo scouts tracking the Apache found them camping in the cave system and set the caves on fire, burning alive all the Apaches inside.
We did some of our own research on the place and found that most recently the site was a tourist stop and zoo along what was once historic route 66. The buildings seen from the roads were the cages, outhouses, and a gift shop of the former zoo which had a main attraction of mountain lions. Later on a KOA purchased the land and built a campsite, which has also since been abandoned.
There may be some truth to the legends surrounding this place or it may be an elaborate hoax made up to entice customers to the attractions, but there is a cave system that can be seen under the buildings that does have noticeable burn marks on it. Whichever story is true, it is still a really neat place to visit and photograph. To see the buildings for yourself take the Two Guns exit off of route 40. For safety reasons I would recommend sticking to the dirt roads while walking around here and avoiding going into the caves as they are very unstable.
Photos (C) 2015 Kristen May
Kristen is an avid traveler from Maryland. Learn more about her in her recent Woman on the Road interview, and check out her social links below.