Sometimes you just want to get away from it all. A demanding job, a phone ringing off the hook, and in some cases, even other people. That desire is understandable and sometimes fulfilling it can be one of the most inspiring things you ever do. From Henry Thoreau to John Muir, some of the greatest thoughts were born out of isolation. Check out these somewhat deserted places to gather your thoughts.
Deserted Places in The Western States
Supai is located near the Grand Canyon but receives nowhere near the number of visitors as the famous landmark. In fact, it is officially the most remote town in the lower 48 states, and the only way to get there is to take a helicopter, ride a mule, or hike in along the Havasupai Trail. The only thing resembling civilization here is a hotel (where there’s sure to be vacancies), a restaurant (where no reservations are needed), and a convenience store (which is more of a necessity store for locals).
Even the mail in Supai is still delivered by mule. However, if you’re wanting some elbow room after a day at the Grand Canyon, Supai has plenty. It also has the incredible Wigleeva rock formations, and best of all, several stunning waterfalls, including Mooney, Havasu, and Navajo Falls. With only 200 or so residents of Supai, you’ll likely have the natural wonders of this deserted place all to yourself.
Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah
For getting away from other people, the moon is the best place imaginable. The Bonneville Salt Flats are the next best option, and even look a lot like an extraterrestrial surface to boot. The area is so flat and so barren it’s frequently used by racers seeking land speed milestones. If you’re looking for some occasional activity, you may see a rocket car zip by. Drive your car on the salt flats yourself and pretend your crappy used import stands a chance at a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. The land itself is wonderful though, especially during winter, where the flats collect an inch of water and reflect the surrounding mountains and blue sky. These flats are frequently used in movies and can inspire you to let your own imagination run wild.
Crested Butte, Colorado
While not exactly a deserted place, this is one of the few ski towns in America where you won’t find yourself in a long line at every lift. Crested Butte has less than 2000 residents, yet contains its own airport, meaning you can easily get there and still feel as if you’re far from civilization. The area offers some of the best backcountry skiing and snowboarding for winter athletes who truly want to escape it all. In summer, you’re likely to face even fewer crowds and can go mountain biking, rock climbing, kayaking, or fishing. If you’re seeking a moment alone though, avoid the town during days it hosts major festivals. If things get too stifling closer to sea level, there’s also plenty of chances to climb the gorgeous mountains that surround the town.
Texas is a populous state, but its massive size still leaves plenty of areas mostly untouched by people. Marfa, Texas with a population of around 2000 is one of those places. There are few cities in the Lone Star State that can rival Marfa’s nighttime sky since the town’s light pollution is so low. You’ll find a community of fellow introverts, as Marfa attracts several artists, and you’ll have lots of opportunities to observe their work with few distractions.
You may even be lucky enough to witness the Marfa lights, visible to the southwest on clear nights. For over a hundred years, mysterious lights have appeared on the horizon, where they move in unpredictable patterns, leading some to even associate them with extraterrestrial activity. The strangest thing in the town is probably a non-functioning Prada boutique, a jarring reminder of how much of a deserted place this is, and far you are removed from city life.
The Northern States
Alaska is the least densely populated state in America, but if even that is too crowded for you, Barrow is the place for you. This deserted town is situated north of the Arctic Circle and has a population of barely 4000 residents who are hardy enough to brave the region’s harsh climate. In summer, the Arctic Ocean thaws for several miles out, allowing you to wade into waters that most never see and even fewer have the cajones to step into. There are no roads connecting Barrow with the rest of Alaska, so despite its size, the town has its own airport, where it’s not uncommon to see polar bears wandering the tarmac. If you love sports but hate crowded stadiums, stop by to see a game played by the local Barrow Whalers high school football team, which has to fly in opponents.
Angle Inlet, Minnesota
This town, or rather, unincorporated community, is so remote you actually have to cross into Canada, and then out again to reach it by land. How many towns in America can say they need a passport to be reached? Angle Inlet is situated along the Lake of the Woods and is the northernmost town in the contiguous U.S. With a population of under 100, try to learn the names of every permanent resident. You can also visit Fort St. Charles, a reconstructed 1732 outpost, although don’t expect there to be a gift shop. There’s even an Angle Inlet Country Club, so if you’re sick of a group of golfers breathing down your neck on every hole, go to this deserted place for the best vacation tee time imaginable.
A Deserted Place in The South
Wilderness Waterway, Florida
This 99-mile corridor from Everglades City down to Flamingo is perfect for paddlers looking to explore the nearly-untouched wilderness. Here you’ll be surrounded by far more gators and crocodiles than people. For some adventurous hermits, this is more of a comforting idea than it sounds. This deserted place feels like another world. It’s complete with mangrove forests, marshes, and creatures that seem to come from a land that time forgot. You’ll see a collection of birds, reptiles, and maybe even a rare endangered Florida panther along this watery road. The nearest dirt path is 17 miles away at certain points, so you’ll want to make sure you’re an experienced navigator. Avoid summer and fall, or swarms of mosquitoes will ruin your trip more than any group of humans ever could.
As you can see, going to the middle of nowhere doesn’t necessarily mean there’s nothing to do. Taking the road less traveled can offer meaning and personal growth, allowing you to discover more about yourself than you ever could in a more crowded locale.