Did you know that Oregon has more ghost towns than any other state in the country? This awesome, historic road trip will take you through six amazing ghost towns in central and eastern Oregon. The trip will take about 9 hours of driving time, so you may want to bring camping gear or book a hotel to stretch it out over multiple days. From Kent to Cornucopia, these 6 incredible towns offer a glimpse into Oregon’s fascinating past.
The first stop on this road trip is the incredible town of Kent, located in Sherman County. Although the town isn't totally abandoned (there are still some residents living here), there are many incredible, haunted-looking old buildings to check out, including a grain silo, an abandoned cafe/gas station, and more.
The next stop on this road trip is the famous, partially-inhabited ghost town Shaniko. Shaniko is one of the most popular and best-preserved ghost towns in Oregon. Walking the streets of this little town is like being transported back in time to the old Wild West. There's an abandoned jailhouse, city hall, schoolhouse, and much more. Shaniko was first inhabited after gold was discovered in the area during Oregon's gold rush. The town went on to be called the "Wool Capital Of The World," but after the railroad traveling through Shaniko was replaced with a different route, the city's economy began to decline and eventually nearly the entire population had left, leaving the city - and it's ghosts - behind.
After leaving Shaniko, you'll drive along the 218 past the beautiful Clarno Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds (if you feel like stopping to stretch your legs, be sure to check out the beautiful scenery there). Your next ghost town stop will be the
incredible town of Hardman. Hardman was once a central point where farmers in the area would get together and exchange goods, but after a number of years the businesses and population began to dwindle, and today it is considered a ghost town, with only about 20 residents still living there among the ruins. This unique little place is definitely worth visiting; you can wander around past incredible abandoned buildings and farms under the wide open country sky.
Next up: Granite. This fascinating little ghost town is right on the edge of the Umatilla National Forest and is full of ghostly abandoned buildings like this one. 38 people still live here so it's not completely abandoned (which means you should be careful not to trespass) but there are a whole lot of interesting old buildings that will give you an eerie sense of what the town looked like years ago.
Not long after leaving Granite, you'll come to the town of Greenhorn: population 0. This is one of the few towns in Oregon that is completely abandoned. Greenhorn began as a gold rush town, until gold mining was made illegal during WW2 and the town's population dwindled away.
After passing through Baker City (which is a great place to stop for lunch, shopping, and/or to stay the night), the last stop on this trip will take you to Cornucopia. This historic ghost town was platted during the gold rush in the 1880s. Here you'll find some spooky abandoned buildings like this one pictured above, as well as the Cornucopia Jailhouse, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Have you visited any of these incredible places before? What other stops would you suggest making in the area?