A few fascinating gems hidden in Amboy—yes, the ghost town that was listed on eBay.
There is plenty to see along the historic Route 66 (“America’s Highway”) and one of them is the abandoned town of Amboy in the middle of the Mojave Desert. Although there isn’t a whole lot of activity here, it’s an incredible place to take in the turbulent geological past of the area and how this storied town from the 1800s made it onto eBay. Here are all the telling sights that make this town an unmissable stop.
Amboy Ghost Town’s Roy Motel and cafe
This eerie town first came to be in 1883 and become yet another desolate town along Route 66 which faded away in the sun when the road became obsolete. After changing ownership a number of times, with no sign of being revived, it was eventually listed on eBay for $1.9 million in 2013. While there were no takers, Albert Okura ended up buying the land with the intention of restoring to its former glory.
During its heyday, there were 150 permanent residents with roadside oasis Roy’s Motel and Cafe at the heart of it all, one of the only places that weary travelers could fill up on gas, cool off with drinks, and dine on hot food in these parts. Thanks to Okura, today it still stands as a welcoming neon beacon and an example of “Googie” architecture.
Amboy Salt Flats
While very little else is going on in Amboy, there are multiple evaporation ponds dug out of the Bristol Dry Lake by the National Chloride Company of America, and these bodies of water are an active part of their business operation. These salt evaporation ponds are made up of food-grade liquid Calcium Chloride which gives the water its sparkling blue color. These unique halite formations are believed to be created by magma chambers below the crust and can provide around 60 million tons of salt—enough to keep your food tasting good for a lifetime.
At a first glance, the white formations create the illusion of snow which makes for a surreal sight in the middle of the stark, arid surroundings. While they could normally be accessed through the National Trails Highway from Amboy Road (a 4-hour drive from Los Angele). However, a dirt wall has since been installed to deter the public from visiting.
Situated alongside the salt ponds, is the incredible Amboy Crater which is a 250-foot dark, volcanic cone, offering amazing hiking opportunities. This caldera, which is a large crater formed when a volcano collapses, was formed 79,000 years ago and is one of the youngest lava fields in the US. While dormant volcanic land might not be the first place that springs to mind when you think of a day out, the trails along the rim offer scenic views of the lava lakes, collapsed lava tubes and sinks, spatter cones and massive flows of basalt.
It was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1973 and is recognized for its visual and geological significance. You can choose a picnic spot and during the right season, you can take in views of the colorful wild flora growing on the surrounding land.