Menu Close

Exploring the Ghost Towns of Northern Oregon

Northern Oregon is home to a number of fascinating ghost towns, each with its own unique history and charm.​ These abandoned towns offer a glimpse into the past and are a perfect destination for history enthusiasts and adventure seekers.​ From former mining towns to once-thriving railroad hubs, here are some of the ghost towns worth exploring in Northern Oregon⁚

Fort Stevens

Located about 1 hour and 40 minutes from Portland, Fort Stevens is not exactly a ghost town but rather a ghost site.​ Originally a military installation established during the Civil War to defend the mouth of the Columbia River, Fort Stevens saw combat during World War II.​ Today, it is managed by Oregon State Parks and offers visitors a chance to explore its historical significance.


Shaniko is one of the most popular and best-preserved ghost towns in Oregon.​ Known as the ″Wool Capital of the World,″ Shaniko was once a bustling town with a population of 600 people in 1910.​ However, its decline began when a competitor built a new railroad line to Bend. Today, walking through the streets of Shaniko is like stepping back in time to the Old Wild West, with its abandoned jailhouse, city hall, and schoolhouse.​


Golden is a ghost town located in Josephine County in Southern Oregon.​ It was one of the towns that flourished during the Gold Rush of the 19th century.​ People from all over the country flocked to Golden in search of gold and fortune.​ Today, the Golden State Heritage Site preserves the remnants of this once-thriving town, offering visitors a chance to learn about its fascinating history.​


Antelope is a tiny ghost town located in Central Oregon.​ Its name is believed to have originated from the large population of pronghorns (also called antelopes) that once roamed the area.​ Antelope gained infamy in the 1980s when it became the stronghold of the Rajneesh movement, a controversial religious group. Today, visitors can explore the remnants of the Rajneesh commune and learn about the town’s colorful past.​


Hardman, located in Morrow County, was once a vibrant center of commerce.​ With schools, stores, hotels, a newspaper, and even a telephone office, the town thrived in the early 1900s.​ However٫ its decline began when a railroad ran through nearby Heppner. Today٫ Hardman stands as a testament to the boom and bust cycles that shaped many ghost towns in the Pacific Northwest.​

If you’re planning a visit to any of these ghost towns, it’s important to note that some of them may have limited facilities or accessibility.​ However, the unique experience of exploring these abandoned towns is well worth the effort.​ Whether you’re a history buff or simply curious about the past, Northern Oregon’s ghost towns offer a fascinating journey into the region’s history and heritage.​