Monday, August 5, 2013

Old Trails, Arizona - Route 66 Ghost Towns

The town of Old Trails, Arizona became official in 1916.  The town's demise commenced in 1925 when the gold played out.  Although it had a short life span, at one time Old Trails had more than 500 residents, electricity, a laundry, ice cream shop, bakery, machine shops and a hospital.  VERY little of the town remains today.

Although Old Trails is only a short distance from the famous Ghost Town of Oatman, most people don't even know that it exists, or that they are driving through it.

On a side note, last year I posted an article here called, Needles California - Modern Day Ghost Town. Apparently, a resident of Needles recently discovered it. I guess they discussed what they had found with others and I've received several comments and emails as a result. A couple of them weren't very happy about me calling it a "modern day ghost town, and took me to task. If I was wrong, I could understand that, but I wasn't. In fact, I responded to their comments with information about the town that I didn't share in my the original post. Some of these folks are in denial of the worst kind.

If you are interested, you can use the above link to go there. My last very long response is not in the comments area, but at the bottom of the post. Blogger wouldn't accept it as a comment because it had too many characters.  I finished it at about 3:00 this morning and I was pretty bleary eyed. I think I'd better go back and give it another proof reading.



  1. I would really like to spend some time n a place like this - just to see what I could photograph.

    Nice post - and the end paragraph is interesting as well.

    Cheers - Stewart M

  2. Again, yet another terrific post with pictures that makes me wish these old places and elderly objects could talk and share their stories with us.

    I read the new comments on the Needles piece- and I think you did a very good job of refuting the negative ones. The truth is the truth.

  3. You're right, not much remaining.
    Sorry people gave you a bad time about calling Needles a modern day ghost town.

  4. Gosh, we missed this place when we went to Oatman. Guess we'll have to make another trip~
    ~~Cheryl Ann~

  5. We've been to this place!

    I am enchanted with that old rusted truck.

    It always puzzles me, though, because I thought stuff didn't rust in Arizona.

    I'm going to check out your response now Pat!

  6. these are intriguing but sad images.

    i think lots of folks who still reside in a place that was once 'booming' resent the ghost town label. a tiny place on the map near here has the same objections on their facebook site. :)

  7. I've been to Oatman, which is cheesy in a good sort of way, but not Lost Trails. Nice photos, I had a good 2 week trip West (NV, E CA and UT), but am not back in the humidity

  8. I haven't been to Oatman, but I have been to Needles! Great post and photos as always, Pat. There are always some people who find fault with anything that's not "Theirs"! Have a great week and keep clicking!!

  9. Dude, you went all out in laying out the facts. Well argued.

    I love this set of pictures. That stone wall, with the sideways building is particularly picturesque.

  10. Great photos Pat! Hey, maybe the ghosts needmto explain things to them as well.

  11. To have had all that going for it at the beginning, it sure had a short lifespan.

  12. Stewart M - Thanks Stewart! I wish I was into photograph when I was a kid, because I'd like to have photos of what it looked like many years ago. There are jeep roads around there leading to some old stuff. Next time maybe.

    Shelly - Thanks so much Shelly! I totally agree, these places fill me with questions and I wish I knew the answers. I was probably a little more terse in that last needles comment than I needed to be, but one of the anonymous comments I got was almost all foul language. He (I assume) told me to do things to myself that are physically impossible.

    Alex - I was so young when I first saw these places and there was so a lot more stuff there then. That's okay Alex, it is what it is and those folks are are just in denial. I need to post more photos from the residential areas as proof. Maybe I'll have to do another post.

    trav4adventures - Yep, it's only about a mile or two from the outskirts of Oatman. I think there might be an antique store/trailer still there.

    Jenny - Yeah, I love old seeing rusted out old trucks and cars. Oatman is in the very high desert (about 3,000 feet I think) and it does snow there, so would help to make things rust. Thanks for your funny comment at the Needles post!

    TexWisGirl - I totally agree with you Theresa! It is kind of sad. I understand that part of being defensive is usually connect to denial.

  13. sage - I know what you mean and I think they add the fake gun fights and such to draw in more tourists. So I guess I understand it, but it is kind of cheesy. A lot of the old folks seem to like it. I'm glad you had a good trip! Hope you post some photos soon.

    Sylvia K - Thanks Sylvia! Your first sentence reminds me of a song.

    "Well, I've never been to heaven but I've been to Oklahoma"
    "People tell me I was born there Lord I really don't remember"
    "In Oklahoma or Arizona what does it matter..." Remember that one?

    TS Hendrik - Thanks Tim! I was so sleepy though, I really need to proof it. This is some rough country and I can't imagine dealing with way back then.

    Brian - Thanks Brian! Somebody sure needs to! I need to do a couple more posts about the back and sides streets in these places.

    Ms. A - It sure did. The "citizens" of those gold camps that turned into towns, would move on the next place as soon as they had exhausted the valuable minerals.

  14. Great find and great shots! It's like a desert time capsule.

    While I was living in Newport Beach I planned on taking some pictures of the SOKA campus but I completely forgot. :-)

  15. Really great series of photos. I'm sure there are many, many people in other parts of the U.S. who must find these places so strange and foreign.

    And I'm so impressed with your deep knowledge of facts concerning Needles! I dare say you have a better and more nuanced grasp of the historic demise than the actual residents in Needles. Which is probably why the town is in such dire straights.

    Fascinating, educational, and all around fun!

  16. Kay - Thanks Kay!

    James - Thanks James! Same thing with me about SOKA. You can't just walk in, but they have a lot of events, so it wouldn't be too hard to get in. It is directly across the valley from our back yard.

    Stickup Artist - Thanks so much! You are so right! I think many Americans find it strange and foreign as well. I'm kind of a research junkie anyway, but when I have a cause. I can go overboard...
    For us Needles is a great place to park our RV and base of our desert explorations. I'm on my way to your blog to see if you posted anything (despite the hot season off).

  17. ahhh these pictures are very special, you are an artist my friend! I love the first one so much!Thanks for sharing your adventures!

  18. Yes, wonderful landscapes of the desert with the scars of the past of this famous route, beautiful photos!

  19. quite interesting about those emails you've received, Pat.

  20. That first picture says it all.

    It's funny, and pathetic too, that people would be so defensive of Needles. Come on, it's called Needles. You live there. Acknowledging its history!

    Be well, Pat, and thanks for the ongoing tour. I never heard of Oatman.


  21. Cezar and Leia - Thanks so much Leia, I truly appreciate your kind words.

    Leovi - Thanks Leovi! That is a good way of putting it, "scars of the past."

    DEZMOND - Very interesting! To me, it is also kind of sad. If I lived there, I would have to be involved in city politics.

    Robyn - I know the real reason that it's called Needles, but after asking if there was a meth problem in Needles, I was told "Needles is the perfect name for this place!"

    I agree about the defensiveness of people. I think they usually get that way, when they know they are in denial.

  22. Hey, we have the technology to restore that car ;-) It's a shame the town only survived 9 years, it looks pretty cool.

  23. What great shots of the ghost town. I went back and read the Needles post, quite the hornets nest!

  24. great showing, pat!great find!

    i like looking at landscape photos of the desert and also photos of ghost makes me sad though.

    such an interesting post, my friend, filled with beautiful pictures!

    have a great day!

  25. I'm fascinated that some people would take the time to complain about the way you saw the town. Hey! You have a just as much a right to your opinion as they do. Isn't the U.S. the land of the free and the brave? Just sayin'.

  26. Fun -- we must have driven through this in the past -- embarrassed to say without recognizing what it was.

    Love your desert finds -- and this one is definitely a real ghost town -- nobody is ever again going to have a home here -- summer or winter.

    Off to Needles. See you later!

  27. Decided to come back and comment here instead of on your original Needles post (I remembered it when I re-read the first part) ...Amazing to read what you stirred up...definitely one of the few times I've read through all the comments on a post. Good reporting work. You deserve to be proud of yourself (although you might need to wear a disguise next time you go back!)

  28. Hi there - thanks for all the comments, you must have hit a WiFi hot spot!

    The budgies are a wild bird here - as far as I know the cage birds must have all started from here at some time.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  29. That is the most "rusted-out" car ever! It never fails to amaze me how nature takes over and erases in no time, what was once a thriving human endeavour. It puts things into a different perspective--we tend to think we are, and what we do, will last forever.

  30. Its a sad state of affairs Pat..100 years can make or break a small town.
    Goodness me you really did ruffle some feathers there, it fascinates me that abusive comments nearly always come under the name of anonymous :) I like that you were so well researched with the facts, nice work!

  31. So desolate and wild. I can see why these places inspire you.

  32. Hi, I follow your other blog, the world in black in white. This one is great too. I've always had a soft spot for ghost towns in the old west. There is something wonderfully creepy about old abandoned places showing us how people used to live.

  33. Wayne - I looked at it closely and I think your finger would go right through some of it. I still like it though!

    Al - Thanks Al! I really do feel badly for Needles. Unfortunately, it's in a nice central spot to go see other places, but not much to see there. It's their own fault because they never wanted to develop and now it's too late.

    Betty - Thanks Betty! Yep, it is a mixed bag, those places. They fill me up with questions that have no answers.

    EG CameraGirl - I think that when people get that defensive, they know they are in the wrong. If I were younger, I might move there for a while and get involved.

    Sallie - I'm pretty sure than about 99% of the people think it's just the outskirts of Oatman. Even a lot of Route 66 books don't mention it.

    Thanks Sallie! I don't feel proud of what I dug up, I actually feel a kind of sad for folks still there. I should probably do a post and present all the photos I have of the stuff they don't talk about. We'll be back there fairly soon and rather than wear a disguise, I'm going right to city hall and the chamber of commerce and let some people try to convince that I'm wrong.

  34. Stewart - My pleasure Stewart! We are home for a while and although I do have a signal here, it is not a good one.

    Rosemary - It is VERY rusty! I'm pretty sure it's a Ford Victoria, maybe 1934. Or maybe not! You are right, we are here for only a moment.

    PerthDailyPhoto - You are so right and it all depends on what people do during that time period. It seems that little was done here.

    Sharon - I wish I could remember them all from my childhood. My grandmother always took a bunch of photos, but they vanished over the years.

    msmariah - Thanks! I feel the same way about ghost towns. There are almost too many see. It is kind of creepy and also kind of sad. I like your blog and signed up!

  35. Oh wow. Not very much left of this town is right. I always wonder what happened to the people when their towns die off. I love the mine picture. It captures the scene perfectly.

  36. Amazing those places you show us. I love them. Greetings.

  37. Baby Sister - I ALWAYS wonder the same thing. The really sad thing about this town, is that most people don't even know it was there. They blow right by it on their way to Oatman.

    Japy - Thank you very much Japy!
    Nice to see you!

  38. I love this series of Ghost towns you have been sharing!
    What an incredible place for photography!

  39. Now that's a ghost town!
    Fantastic shots Pat. Maybe I'll visit this route one day - love the decay - both fascinating and sad. You've inspired me!

  40. Très original ! ces clichés témoignent qu'une vie était là, installé n'est plus.
    Merci de tes visites sur mes pages!
    Bonne journée.

  41. I actually like that old rusty car- but I don't think my neighbors would.

  42. Liz - Thanks so much Liz! The only problem with taking photos there, is that the sky is usually cloudless and the light is very harsh.

    Anthony - It sure is! Anthony, I hope you do visit the southwestern part of the U.S. someday. It is full of stories.

    Cath - You are correct! They were busy little places at one time. Now they are gone! The comments were my pleasure. I'll be back for more.

    Pam - I also love it! If you lived in the desert, your neighbors would have derelict cars in their yards also.

    Laura Delegal - You are so right and I believe that is what draws me to the desert.

  43. You honestly explore the coolest places ever. So jealous!!!

    Heading over to your link!

  44. This comment has been removed by the author.

  45. Stay out of white chief mine crazy people own it

  46. Anonymous - No problem staying out of the mine. I know it has a very deep vertical shaft. There are some other things in that area I do want to see though.

  47. Really liked the writing and pics, Needles is in bad shape, people are hanging on and I hope the best for them, I got to Needles twice a month.... For an old historic town, not a lot found on the internet as for street maps (old ones) pictures and such...

    Looking forward to you updates on Needles.

  48. Anonymous - Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed the. You are SO RIGHT about there not being much on the internet about Needles. That is because the city fathers and bureaucrats have been sitting on their hands for decades. I see they now actually getting some work done on the El Garces. All I can say about that is, Too late...

  49. I See No Harm in calling the Old Townsite of Old Trails a Ghost Town, for that's what it is Now Days! That's what happens to a Town, when in 1915-1920s and population of 500 goes down to only dozen! Its a Ghost Town, and at least you don't have to call it a Extinct town, for its not! Patrick, great job on the information and great pictures, keep up the good work! Chris Cooper

  50. Kit - Thanks so much Chris. I appreciate that you took the time to read this post, and also to comment. To me, some of the most interesting things about "ghost towns" are the back streets, or back roads around them. Many of these places still have some life left in them.


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