One thing the Pacific Northwest, (also known as Cascadia in certain circles,) has an excess of is Ghost Towns and abandoned or lost cities and communities. Decades of exploration, gold strikes, construction projects, land speculation and homesteading have left abandoned names, mines, and towns across the Pacific Northwest and Cascadia states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, (Northern) California, and the Canadian Providence of British Columbia.
Some of these towns are still around and are populated, but many are a shadow of their former self. Most simply do not exist at all any longer as anything more then a wide spot along a road, a clearing in the woods, or if we’re lucky, a forlorn abandoned building or two. The listings below are by no extensive or complete and is always changing as research uncovers new locations. If you know of a specific town that is missing, please leave a comment below. If you have any information or recollections about a specific town, please leave it in the comments of that town.
Be sure to check out the Ghost Town Classification system to find out why many of these towns are considered “Ghost Towns.”
Amazingly, British Columbia has a number of well preserved ghost towns. Part of this is due to the relative infantry of the timber and mining industries in the Providence. Many of these ghost towns aren’t as old as those in the rest of the Pacific Northwest. But, that does not mean they’re all new. There are a number of very old ghost towns in British Columbia, many left over from early exploration.
California (Northern California only)
I arbitrarily picked north of San Francisco to divide Pacific Northwest Ghost Towns. The actual line can be argued as closer to Redmond, but I wanted to grab the huge number of towns in the Plumas National Forest outside of Reno
Idaho’s ghost towns are heavily clustered on the east side of the state. The state’s geography hides billions of tons of copper ore in highly inaccessible areas along with other rare minerals. Many ghost town sprung up to serve the workers at these mines before the bottom fell out of the market.
For many, Nevada is the quintessential Ghost Town state. The dry environment and long distances between points of civilization has preserved many great towns. Among the states on this list, Nevada has the most towns with intact ruins.
This is the map that started it all. An attempt to identify areas in Oregon that had gold mining activity led to my interest in ghost towns and the history behind them. So many places exist that are little more then names on a map these days. I hope to bring great stories to light.
Like the other states Washington has suffered a number of down turns over the years. These have led to numerous ghost towns scatted across the state. From coal mining to fishing, to early settlement, Washington has them all.
Update! If you have an interest in ghost towns outside of the Pacific Northwest, visit my new site Ghost Town Map. This new site is dedicated to cataloging ghost towns not only in the United States, but around the world.