Landscape: Ghost Town, Utah

Cisco Utah Ghost TownI’ve developed a fascination for Cisco, a collapsing town in near-middle-of-nowhere Utah. This modern ghost town sits along Utah’s State Route 128, not too far off of I-70—but along a route that people in a hurry wouldn’t bother traveling. I’ve watched Cisco become more ramshackle over the past few years since I started taking frequent trips to southwest Utah from Colorado. The first time I passed Cisco, I remember being alarmed at its buildings collapsing so near the road. I slowed down as I passed by so that I could stare at its remains, but I didn’t get out of my car. I’ve since stopped a few times and walked around the ruins closest to the road, but I get a spooky feeling when I do—as if people are still there, somewhere. I’ve rooted around for more information about this place and still have not met anyone or confirmed whether or not real-live people live in Cisco year round. A person I know in Moab told me that some folks may live there in the summer and sell supplies to river runners. But on my recent late-autumn visit, the town looked pretty abandoned to me:

Cisco Utah buildings

I read that the town’s demise came after steam locomotives stopped making regular stops there. The railroad tracks are right across the road, and evidently Union Pacific still uses a rail siding there.

railroad near cisco utah

I couldn’t resist taking this photo in November just after the elections. Evidently there are a few Obama supporters hanging out in the area, though the rest of the state is overwhelmingly Republican:

obama supporters in cisco utah

And even though I drove the Subaru on this last visit, I stopped in Cisco last autumn on a van trip:

VW van cisco utah

One of the reasons why I love taking the Old Lady—my 1970 VW van—out on the road is that she pretty much sputters along. Slowly. And this is the best way to take in places like Cisco that you’d otherwise miss with the blink of an eye.


5 responses to “Landscape: Ghost Town, Utah

  1. I drive by Cisco on my trips to Moab also, but have never stopped in Cisco. Once I turned left, instead of right, to the bridge by the river, to collect rocks. I got great petrified ripples there.

  2. Lovely blog, I found it doing research about working at McMurdo. There is an opening for me next summer in air traffi control. I would be interested in sending along a question or two, if you had the time.
    JIm in Utah.

  3. Ghost cities are so fascinating. I’ve been trying to find more about Cisco, but it doesn’t seem to be much to find.

  4. I’ve been through Cisco a couple of times, years ago, on cross country motorcycle trips. I’m not sure what feeds my curiousity but I keep going back on Google Earth and checking up on it. I guess, just to see if there is still anything there.
    There seems to be an odd facination for me even though I know it’s just a Ghost Town dying in the desert sun.
    I think my biggest question is … why do I feel so drawn to a place that I have no connection to and one that has no reasonable value left to pursue?
    I guess it’s my own personal ‘Twilight Zone’ experience.

    • D&RGrandaughter

      Maybe a long ago relative worked on the railroad and they want you to learn more. Always pay attention to still small voice. Could be telling you something. Neat.

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