12 Ghost Towns you will find and enjoy on Route 66

Road Ghost Towns Route 66

This post is also available in: Español

It seems that the word ghost has a certain magnetism, we know you’re here for it, you’re not fooling us! First of all,what are the Ghost Towns on Route 66? Well, Route 66 crosses the USA from west to east, but with the creation of the Interstate Highway Network Route 66 lost its importance. Its various sections were replaced by highways, leaving some of the towns along its route abandoned.

The truth is that traveling the Ghost Towns of Route 66 is a highly recommended experience because it is traveling through time. Its abandoned cafes and disused gas stations are a great attraction and imagining what they were like in the past is even better. Don’t just round the mystery in Area 51!

That said we bring you 12 Route 66 Ghost Towns you won’t want to miss:

Calico, California

Calico was founded in 1881 as a silver mining town and in 2005 was declared by Arnold Schwarzenegger, then governor, as The Silver Rush Ghost Town. Now a state park called Calico Ghost Town, all but five of its buildings were restored in 1950. Today it’s a tourist attraction, wow.

Entrance to Calico ghost town California

United States is the country of National Parks, or so it seems because very close to Calico (3 hours away) is one of the best: the Death Valley of California, known for being the hottest place in the world. While you’re out there, check it out, won’t you?

Newberry Springs, California

Lights, camera and action! In Newberry Springs is the Bagdad Cafe that served as inspiration for a novel and movie based in Bagdad, the driest corner (if you see the movie you will understand why this adjective is used) of the United States.

Why isn’t Bagdad Cafe in Bagdad? Because it was in ruins, and they took advantage of the Sidewinder Cafe facilities in Newberry Springs and changed the name, just like that. Bagdad won’t have a cafe, but it has a cemetery, and visiting a cemetery in a ghost town is cool.

Amboy, California

The town of Amboy is known for the Roy’s Motel & Cafe sign. Although years ago it was a restaurant, motel and gas station, today only the latter part is in operation – it’s hard to imagine that Amboy even had an airport! In 2003 its population was 7 people and that same year it was put up for sale on Ebay for the modest price of $1.9 million, but didn’t sell.

Oatman, California

Its current population is 150 people and one poltergeist: Oatie the Ghost. Yes, that’s it, a poltergeist! It’s believed to be the spirit of William Ray Flour, an Irish miner who died behind the Oatman Hotel. Don’t worry it’s harmless and will let you enjoy the Black Mountains surrounding this former mining camp.

Chloride, Arizona

This small town has been surviving the harsh desert climate since 1860. When the mining boom came to an end, Chloride became almost a ghost town. Today, it is home to about 250 modern-day cowboys.

Hackberry, Arizona

The town was born as a mining settlement in 1875. The economic boom in mining lasted until the ore ran out in the mid-1910s. In 1919 there was one family left, the Griggs. When 66 became popular motels and gas stations appeared, which closed when Interstate 40 opened 25 kilometers north in the 1970s. In 2010 Hackberry had 68 residents.

Store in Hackberry ghost town Arizona

Seligman Arizona

Touring the Ghost Towns of Route 66 there is time for everything, even a haircut. You might not think it’s necessary on such a special trip to stop for a haircut, but in Seligman Angel Delgadillo is still working as a barber, at 93 years old!

And we weren’t lying when we told you about National Parks in the United States. Less than 2 hours away you can visit the Grand Canyon, the very Grand Canyon you’ve heard so much about.

Golden, New Mexico

In the 2010 census there were 37 people residing in Golden. If they remain you can go pay them a visit, or stop by and buy some handmade native-made items at the Henderson Store if you want a souvenir.

Madrid, New Mexico

This ghost town is not so ghostly. It recovered and now has approximately 40 businesses, including art galleries. In 2010 it had 204 inhabitants, by the skin of its teeth it enters our list of Route 66 Ghost Towns!

House in Madrid Ghost Town New Mexico

Texola, Oklahoma

Its name is a mix between Texas and Oklahoma, how curious! It is currently inhabited by less than 10 people, but the bar is still in operation. The good thing is that you won’t have to call for reservations. The service station, Magnolia Service Station, is restored, so if you pass through Texola you can put gas in the car and have a snack, no need for anything else!

Erick, Oklahoma

There are times when more than the place itself, it is its essence that makes it special. This is what happens in Erick which, being just another ghost town on Route 66, is still alive thanks to Harley Russell. Russell considers himself a mediocre musician and lives of people’s tips. Seeing him in his store where nothing is to sell singing without any technique is Erick’s attraction and it’s quite a treat.

Red Oak II, Missouri

You can’t talk about Red Oak without mentioning Lowell Davis. Davis was an illustrator, but his greatest work of art was Red Oak II. Yes, he founded the town near Carthage as an homage to his own town Red Oak. With his own hands he restored its old houses and has made tourists feel as if they were in the last century. What an artist!

The Ghost Towns of Route 66 are many, but we have chosen 12 that we think you will like for sure. The best thing is to know its history and if you do it through the voice of its few inhabitants, it’s even better! Do you dare to tour the Ghost Towns of Route 66 in full?


Journalist, nomad and adventurer. Paula would never say no to a camping trip and is an expert in setting up a tent in less than 10 seconds.

Besides that, she loves to dance and maybe that's why she loves Latin America so much. One of her best trips was to Argentina, but she has many more destinations behind her, which she talks about in this blog.

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