Johnson Canyon Movie Set – A Spooky Ghost Town – Happy Halloween!

October 2017 – We never know what we’ll see when we poke our head out of our trailer in the boondocks at night, especially near a ghost town out west. Around the end of October, things can get a little spooky!

Happy Halloween witch flies over the moon on a broomstick-min

Who’s that flying by?
(Our friend Bob spotted her – thank you!)

We were camping near Kanab, Utah, a place that was once known as “Little Hollywood” because so many western movies were shot there. Quite a few movie sets still remain in the area, and we explored the Johnson Canyon movie set.

Johnson Canyon movie set ghost town Kanab Utah-min

Visiting the movie set at Johnson Canyon made for a fun little adventure.

Johnson Canyon movie set ghost town Kanab UT-min

Episodes of the TV show Gunsmoke were shot on this set!

Camermen and casts from TV’s Gunsmoke and many other TV shows worked on this set for years. It’s hard to imagine the commotion and excitement of those glamorous days. Now the buildings are falling apart.

Movie set ghost town Johnson Canyon Kanab Utah-min


Inside movie set ghost town Johnson Canyon Kanab Utah-min


Many of the buildings have been removed since its heyday as a movie set, and the few that remain are very dilapidated.

Johnson Canyon movie set ghost town Kanab Utah-min


Stormy skies ghost town at Johnson Canyon movie set Kanab Utah-min

Stormy skies and fast moving clouds added to the mysterious air of this abandoned ghost town.

What’s odd about this place is that even though it was never a real town, it is very much a ghost town today. A rusty old stove stands forlorn among the tall grasses and fallen walls lie against a brick chimney.

Johnson Canyon movie set ghost town Kanab Utah-min

Some scenes were shot inside, so there’s an old stove from the movie days rusting away in a field.

Chimney at Johnson Canyon movie set ghost town in Kanab Utah-min

Dilapidated walls lean against a lone brick chimney.

During our stay in the area, the nights were clear and crisp, and the full moon faded away. The bright stars of the Milky Way glittered in the sky all night long.

One night Mark announced that he was going to take his camera out to the movie set ghost town and see if he could get some cool and spooky pics. Sure enough, while I was snuggled under the blankets in the wee hours of the morning, he got some real winners!

Milky Way over Johnson Canyon movie set ghost town Kanab Utah-min

Mark braved the very cold night air to experience the ghouls and goblins of this ghost town under the stars.

Milky Way over Johnson Canyon movie set ghost town Kanab Utah-min

If the ghost town was alluring by day, it was even more so by night.

Using a small flashlight to “light paint” the buildings in the dark and a big one so he could get from building to building without tripping in the pitch dark, he captured the ghost town buildings at their most mysterious!

Ghost town at night Johnson Canyon movie set Kanab Utah-min

Haunted house.

Stars over ghost town Johnson Canyon movie set Kanab Utah-min

Very mysterious!

It was cold, and a light wind raised the hair on the back of his neck. Coyotes yelped in the distance. As he looked around, he saw pairs of eyes staring at him in the dark. A twig snapped in a tree next to him and he jumped!

Stars over ghost town at Johnson Canyon movie set near Kanab Utah-min


Despite being a little unnerved, Mark’s camera captured one great image after another. The photo above won him “Photo of the Day” at Steve’s Digicam today! Check it out here!!

Milky Way over old cabin Johnson Canyon Utah-8

What ghouls and goblins are living there?

Milky Way over ghost town Johnson Canyon Kanab Utah-min

This is a spooky place at night!

It turned out the eyes belonged to cows that were milling around, but he still got the creeps. When he burst in the trailer door a few hours later, a rush of cold air followed him. He was grinning, but his teeth were chattering too. It’s scary out there!!

Fifth Wheel trailer RV under the milky way black and white-min

Happy Halloween!!

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14 thoughts on “Johnson Canyon Movie Set – A Spooky Ghost Town – Happy Halloween!

  1. Nice to be first to comment on those fantastic shots! (as usual from you two) I loved those night shots and the stars.

  2. Belated Happy Halloween! Thanks to Mark for braving the cold, experimenting with unusual lighting for those haunting shots and to the creative “ghost writer” (sorry, couldn’t resist the pun !!).

    Picturesque as the set is, amazed authorities would permit the film crew to abandon it to disintegrate…just sayin’….

    • Very funny! In the old days Hollywood was very cavalier about building sets and leaving without picking up after themselves. This particular set was used for many films and TV shows, and I’m sure it was adapted for each production and went through many changes and updates. I’m not sure what the story was when it eventually fell into disuse, but there are old movie sets all over the west just like this one that are crumbling. Some become a tourist attraction and others just turn into piles of old weathered lumber!

      -The Ghost Writer

  3. Hi Folks, I really enjoy your photos and information on the places you visit !!!
    You enjoy the same kind of places that I do. I visited Kanab in 2013 and have it on my list of places to visit again. I went to the place in town that has several old movie set buildings that have been restored and they have people in costume. It was a big tourist place with a bus load of Germans that they dressed up in western costumes as Cowboys and Indians.

    I was passing through and only stayed one night in the area but it’s such an interesting pace I plan to go back in the spring. Now that I have an RV I plan to stay for several days and visit some of the old ghost towns in the area. I started a YouTube channel and have several east coast drone videos. I hope to start my RV journey in about a month or so starting on the Outer Banks of North Carolina and travel to the Pacific coast. As I travel I want to do a Vlog of the journey so if you have any suggestions please let me know. Thanks !!!

    • Kanab is a wonderful area and I’m sure you’ll enjoy your return visit when you get there in your RV. We’ve loved all of our travels in America, and your trek from North Carolina to the west coast will undoubtedly traverse some beautiful spots. Our travels are organized by state in the menu system, so if you are curious about places we’ve seen on your route, whether its a northern route or southern route, check those out. It’s all good. Have fun making videos on your trip — what a blast!

  4. Wow, great shots! What a fun place to visit….that is now going on our list of “must sees”. We are new to RVing and have decided to go fulltime in a few years. This will make a great stop for us; thank you for sharing!


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