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Visit the Flooded Thistle Ghost Town

18899-19003 U.S. Highway 89, Utah

based on 3 reviews


Added by Parker Murray

Explore a flooded ghost town created by the costliest landslide in US history.

Thistle, Utah was a small community located in Spanish Fork Canyon, founded in 1883. It flourished for a time as a ranching community and eventually became a major stop on the rail line that ran through it. This all changed in 1983 when a massive landslide dammed the Spanish Fork River and flooded the town. Now there are only a few structures remaining, and most can be seen from the road. Most notable are a red school house, a church on a hill, and a house half sunken in a bog.

From Salt Lake: Travel on I-15 towards the town of Spanish Fork. Take exit 261 and head east on U.S. Route 6/89. To view the landslide from the downstream side, turn right onto Spanish Fork River Park road after approximately 11 miles; otherwise, continue approximately 12.7 miles (from I-15) and turn right into the large pullout immediately before a massive double road cut. This pullout provides an excellent overview of the area. Approximately 1.5 miles past the pullout, turn right onto U.S. Route 89 and travel approximately 1.5 miles to the ruins of the town of Thistle. You can find it with these coordinates: 39.990477,-111.498388. 

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Visit the Flooded Thistle Ghost Town Reviews

Not too far of a drive from Provo. We’ve been multiple times in the winter and summer. The water around the houses is only a foot deep but looks a lot deeper because the houses have sunk into the mud over the years. There’s usually a 2x4 that makes a bridge onto the main building and you can climb up onto the roof. In the winter, the ice is thick enough for you to walk on in some places and you can go into one of the houses. It’s a great quick visit if you’re passing through the canyon or if you just want a short day trip!

Pretty cool but wasn’t worth the drive

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


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