One of the many wonders of the internet, in addition to having cat videos at the tip of your finger, is that there are a variety of already planned road trips. There are even planned road trips with specific themes, including ones that visit ghost towns. Road trips were always my family’s go to vacation trip while I was growing up – they gave us the chance to take family vacations during school breaks without having to break the bank with flights and camping around Washington is always wonderful during the summer.
With that sentiment, I thought I’d share a few of the planned road trips that already exist!
The Ghost Towns of Colorado – Michael Ray Taylor, National Geographic
- While not strictly ghost towns, this trip starts in Colorado Springs and goes through Pikes Peak, Cripple Creek, Victor, Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, South Park City, St. Elmo, Salida, Royal Gorge, and Aiken Canyon. Some of the stops will be abandoned and occasionally restored ghost towns; other stops will be still lived in but old timey towns. At the Royal Gorge, you’ll be able to visit and the world’s highest suspension bridge and see the breathtaking beauty that Colorado has to offer!
- The best time for this trip is June through September, with the total drive being around 375 miles. While some of the stops mentioned are ghost towns, you’ll also be able to see and experience the Colorado wilderness in a variety of ways.
Take a Ghost Town Road Trip: 7 locations, 8 hours – Gena Wynkoop, Seattle Refined
- With the help of Google Maps, the site Only in Your State, and Tim Nyhus from Ghost Towns of Washington, this road trip visits seven ghost towns in Washington state and takes a total of eight hours to drive (starting from the first town to the last). The towns include: Govan, Sherman, Bodie, Chesaw, Molson, Nighthawk, and Dryer. Some have a few people left living but others just have a few old structures from a more populated time.
- Because of the dreary and rainy weather that Washington has during the fall, winter, and early spring, the best time for this road trip is probably summer through very early fall. Plus, these towns are all east of the cascades, meaning that if you’re coming from Seattle or Western Washington, getting through the mountain pass is extremely difficult in the winter.
This Ghost Town Road Trip in Oregon is the Perfect Adventure – Tyler James, That Oregon Life
- Oregon has more ghost towns than anywhere else in the United States, allowing for so many different ghost town road trips! This specific road trip happens in Eastern Oregon and while not all are true ghost towns, this trip looks like another amazing adventure. The towns in this trip include: Shaniko, Condon, Lonerock, Hardman, Galena, Greenhorn, Granite, Sumpter, Borne, and Cornucopia. The map that was created can be found here.
Utah Ghost Town Tour – Best of the Road
- This trip starts in Ophir, Utah and ends in St. George, with five other stops in between. The entire trip is roughly 375 miles. A few of the listed towns are true ghost towns, abandoned by all and utterly deserted. A few others have a very tiny population and while not a ghost town exactly, the Temple View RV park is just a drive to the Zion National Park. This is another great road trip to do during the summer months but it is important to have adequate resources, as the trip will take you to some remote places.
These are just some of the mostly planned road trips that exist – the site Only In Your State has a bunch of planned trips and lots of information about various road trips! Plus, while not about road trips exactly, another great resource with this is Exploring History In Your Hiking Books. Created and produced by a duo in Washington state, this site explores ghost towns, lost relics and abandoned mines that often take a hike to get to. There are adventuring 101 tips and each trip comes with field notes, photos, directions, things to watch for, best times to go, and mileage. I know that I’ll be taking a few of these hiking adventures soon and they all look like an amazing addition to any road trip if you’re able to hike!
The important thing about these road trips, like with any trip or vacation, is to have some plan beforehand. Some of the trips are in remote and rural areas, so planning when and where you’re going to spend the night will be important. Also, knowing where you can get supplies and gas is just as important. Some of the trips I mention only take a few hours to drive but that total time doesn’t include the time you spend in each town so having some plan or at least some idea of where you’ll sleep is vital.
In the midst of all the fun that can come from these various road trips, it’s also important to be respectful of the areas you visit. These towns may have been abandoned by humanity long ago but they are still susceptible to erosion of many kinds. Be kind to these spaces, as they exist not only for you.
If you have any other trips or your own stories about visiting ghost towns, let me know in the comments! And if you go on one of these road trips, have lots of fun!