About 18 miles northeast of St. George , Silver Reef is probably Utah’s most accessible ghost town.
In about 1870, prospectors found rich silver deposits in the sandstone here, much to the surprise of mining experts who thought such a combination impossible. The town grew up several years later and boomed 1878-1882. The population peaked at 1,500 and included a sizable Chinese community. Then a combination of lower silver prices, declining yields, and water in the mines forced the operations to close one by one, the last in 1891. Other attempts at mining have been made from time to time, including some uranium production in the 1950s and 1960s, but the town had died.
The Wells Fargo Building, which once stood in the center of town, is now Silver Reef's main attraction. Built of stone in 1877, it looks as solid as ever and houses a small museum. Encroaching modern houses detract a bit from the setting, but the ghosts are still here. Stone walls and foundations peek out of the sagebrush. A short walk on the road past the building takes you to the ruins and tailings of the mills that once shook the town with their racket. From Leeds, take Exit 22 or 23 and follow signs 1.3 miles on a paved road.