The Scary Arizona Cave With A History So Deadly It's Called Death Cave

If you're in the mood for a spooky adventure and a taste of the Wild West, then you might be interested in the bone-chilling legends surrounding the Apache Death Cave in Arizona. Located near the town of Winslow in a remote area called Canyon Diablo, the cave is shrouded in mystery and is believed to be one of the most haunted places in all of Arizona. The caves are located just off of the iconic Route 66, one of the oldest highways in the United States. The 2,400 mile road is one of America's most scenic road trip routes, and the creepy cave makes an excellent stopping point as you pass through the rugged and beautiful Arizona desert.

Haunted tourist attractions have been skyrocketing in popularity, but unlike the historic haunted hotels and inns springing up in small towns across the country, the Apache Death Cave remains an off-the-beaten-path experience that is free and unguided. Many locals believe the cave and surrounding canyon area are cursed. You won't find any kitschy gift shops or touristy visitor centers. Instead, you'll find an eerie cave and crumbling stone ruins surrounded by legends of raids, revenge, and massacre.

A revenge-fueled massacre

The legend of the Apache Death Cave dates back to 1878. Two Indigenous tribes, the Navajo and the Apache, were battling one another in that particular region of the Southwest. A group of Apache raiders attacked a Navajo settlement in a massive raid, killing everyone who lived there except three girls. Eventually, Navajo leaders caught wind of the attack and were understandably outraged. They sent out a group of scouts to find the raiders, who seemed to have disappeared. Finally, when the Navajo scouts felt heat coming from under their feet, they discovered the Apache hiding out in a cave system underground.

In their thirst for revenge, the Navajo scouts created a fire using natural materials like dried brush and shrubs at the entrance to the cave, effectively trapping the Apache warriors inside. The Apache attempted to put out the fire from inside the cave, and used the bodies of their slaughtered horses to create a barrier. One member of the Apache group was able to escape the cave and pleaded for the Navajo to stop, but upon hearing that the three girls taken prisoner from the Navajo camp had been killed, the Navajo stoked the fires once again. After a while, the Apache inside the cave perished from smoke inhalation and fire. It is believed that 42 Apache were killed. The exact origins of the legend are unknown, but the location remained a strange and spooky spot for years to come.

A failed roadside attraction turned ghost town

The legend of the Apache Death Cave turned from tragic to strange in the 1920s when a man named Harry Miller and his wife decided to settle on the land. Rumor has it that they thought the massacre site would make an excellent tourist stop, so they created an attraction that was both a zoo for desert animals and a shop. It is said that he raided the caves and sold the skulls and other bones he stole from the caves to tourists. However, some historians believe that the story was completely fabricated by a questionable author named Gladwell Richardson, who wrote a book about Two Guns, Arizona.

The Millers built a variety of structures that now sit abandoned. The area, known as Two Guns, is now a complete ghost town. Other attempts to build homes and create businesses on the land also failed, and now all that remains are the eerie ruins. 

Since the area is abandoned, bloggers report that you can visit the haunting site day or night. There are no facilities, and exploring is not entirely safe since there is no infrastructure. You will need to crawl through small spaces to enter the caves, and you must have proper safety equipment. Use extreme caution when exploring, particularly because of the remote and isolated location. If the legends are true, it's easy to believe that the land is indeed cursed. Visit if you dare!