While at Zion National Park in southern Utah, we decided to check out a ghost town. Our boys are still talking about Sego, the last ghost town we visited on a trip to Moab. Grafton Ghost Town is just a few miles from Zion and Springdale which makes it a perfect excursion.
The town of Grafton was established as a cotton mission. Brigham Young called missionaries to southern Utah to grow cotton after the Civil War. Many towns were established, and most survived, but Grafton was abandoned due to heavy flooding of the Virgin River and the outbreak of the Blackhawk War.
Grafton was a pretty important town for a while, even serving as the county seat of Garfield County. Its population peaked right around 1866 when there were nearly 30 families living there.
Recently, Grafton has been refurbished. Several buildings including a few farms and an old school have been upgraded, and orchards have been restored around town. This gives the town a much different feel from the truly abandoned town of Sego that we visited along I-70. Each of the buildings has windows and there are interpretive signs that tell a bit of the history of Grafton.
Make sure to stop at the Grafton cemetery as well. There are well-marked graves of several of the settlers there, and a few Native Americans have been buried in this cemetery as well. (Remember to be respectful of those who have passed at this site.)
Grafton can be found a few miles from the town of Rockville. You access the town via a dirt road, which passes a historic bridge that is worth making the trip for even without the ghost town. If you’d like to see something a little different in the Zion area, Grafton Ghost Town is for you.
Watch for Bridge Road in Rockville, Utah on Highway 9. It’s on the South side of the road and there is a small Grafton sign on the Stop sign as well. You’ll know you are heading the right way if you cross an old bridge. After you cross the bridge, turn right onto Grafton Road (there is another Grafton sign pointing the way to go). You will travel on this road for about 2.9 miles (there is one fork in the road where you need to stay left. Watch for the Grafton sign!). You will then see a sign for the Grafton cemetery. We pulled over and visited the cemetery first. When you are done looking at the old gravestones, continue down Grafton road and you will arrive at the ghost town. It’s a dead end road, so you’ll have to head back the way you came.