Ghost towns - California, southern Oregon and Nevada
Hi guys. Hope you're all well.
This year's road trip beckons (end August/beginning Spetember) and this time I've been asked to write a travel piece about ghost towns. Now, we have two weeks to do a northern loop from Los Angeles, taking in a few days up the coast before cutting back inland.
I'm guessing that heading inland in southern Oregon would be the best place to start looping back across the route, so I'm curious as to what are the best ghost towns you guys have seen in the above states (including southern Idaho). I've seen places such as Bannack in Montana but they don't have to be as intact as that (if they are, great).
The Nevadan leg of the journey will be on 93 and 6 heading towards Goldfield but, as for the rest, I'm open to suggestions.
Nice to see you here again!
Welcome back to America!
I'm not familiar with ghost towns but found this link with information about Nevada and California ghost towns. Oh, and this one that seems to cover more states.
Hope these help you get started and that some folks with more knowledge about these things pop in to give you a hand.
Thanks very much Judy
Yes, I have those websites. Doesn't look as though there are any ghost town aficionados on here. Thanks anyway.
Ghost towns in California
I love to visit ghost towns, and my wife and kids put up with my interest if they don't share my enthusiasm.
The best one I've ever seen is Bodie. Yes, it's now a state park preserved in a state of "arrested decay," but it's still amazing to think that there once was a large mining town in such an inhospitable place. You'll find many more fellow visitors than you would at a little-known site, but the views are worth it.
Another one I like is just across the border into Nevada near Death Valley. Rhyolite also fascinated me because it typified the "boom town" cycle so common to bigger ghost towns. Gold and silver finds made this remote place into a thriving metropolis in the early 1900s, but by the 1930s it was nearly deserted.
One closer to Los Angeles is Keeler. It's a former railroad and ferry town on the edge of Owens Lake in the eastern Sierras. There are still a few residents, but they don't seem to come out much. Once the LA Dept of Water and Power diverted the Owens River into its aquaduct, the Owens Lake dried up. And once the lead and silver played out, the railroad stopped running down from near Carson City. The train station building is still standing, and there is an old mill and a few other old buildings left among the newer mobile homes. One of Keeler's claims to fame is that it was the jump-off point for Frank Norris' character McTeague (in the novel of the same name) as he fled the law into Death Valley.
Up the hill from Keeler is Cerro Gordo. This one has been fairly well restored over the past 30 years. I have yet to visit it, but it is next on my list.
Some of the other ghost towns I've visited are made up mostly of building foundations or minimal remains. Calico is too touristy for my taste. Finding the balance between a site with enough buildings to be interesting and yet remote enough not to be swarmed with fellow tourists is difficult.
Not really a ghost town; similar to many CA Mother Lode towns but in the Ashland/Medford area, since you're going to be up there. They hold an annual music festival (Britt Festival) in the town.
Jacksoville (photo copyright Don Casey)
I agree on Bodie, best there is; only caveat is keep an eye on the state of CA state parks; may close due to budget issues.
Bodie (photo copyright Don Casey)
I also agree on Rhyolite: (photo copyright Don Casey)
With a high-clearance vehicle (may need a 4X4?) you can take Titus Canyon back from Rhyolite into Death Valley. There are some ruins along it, but really not much to write home about.
Titus Canyon Narrows (photo copyright Don Casey)
I know this is a very old thread, but it's still on the first page of Google so this is for anyone new still reading it. In Southern Oregon there are several OK towns, but most everything in the High Desert area is going to be a lonesome barn or house.
Originally Posted by Paolo99
West of I-5 you have Kerby and Buncom. Just west of I-5 is Grave Creek/Altamont and Golden (my personal favorite town.) East of there between Klamath Falls and Lakeview is Bonanza, but little else. The scenery is awesome though so I highly recommend that route.
If you can make the detour, head up into Central and North Eastern Oregon. Shaniko, Granite, Sumpter, Cabell City, Whitney, and Greenhorn are all great stops. Sumpter is a tourist Ghost Town now, but that should not stop you from visiting.
Last edited by Southwest Dave; 10-19-2013 at 02:38 AM.
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