America is pretty big, isn’t it? There are vast areas of land where there is nothing in the way of civilization. Mountains and deserts, yes but not a Wal-Mart anywhere in sight. But in the middle of these remote areas, you will find pockets of habitation. In these places there may only be a few shops and a school, but people can spend their whole lives there, miles away from anywhere else. Find out just far away you can get from the world in our Top 10 Remote Small Towns.
10. Crested Butte, CO
If you’re ever in the mountains of Colorado, be sure to check out the tiny town of Crested Butte. It’s a ski resort, covering only 0.7 sqmiles, but with a population of 1,487 and its own airport and Nordic Center. It started life as a mining town, but is now known as “the last great Colorado ski town” with a maze of ski runs over Crested Butte itself. It’s also miles away from anywhere, with the settlement of Almont 18 miles away, and that barely counts as a town, being less than a mile from one end to the other. The next town away is Gunnison, 21 miles south of Crested Butte. On all other sides of the town, there is nothing but mountains. Aspen lies 23 miles to the north-west but there is no road in between. A great ski town, but an isolated one.
9. Marfa, TX
From the freezing mountains of Colorado to the parched desert of West Texas. With an area of 1.4sqmiles, Marfa is a very small town that has received nationwide interest due to the mysterious Marfa lights, which appear in the night sky for no known reason. Marfa has also acted as a film set for various productions, including ”There Will be Blood” and “No Country for Old Men”. It also has a permanent work of modern art, entitled “Prada Marfa” (above), which is set in the middle of nowhere and resembles a Prada shop. Within a few days of installation, thieves broke in and stole the handbags and shoes. It may be famous, but it’s also very remote. The nearest town is Alpine, which is also not huge although it does have an airport. The rest of the surrounding area is desert. If you head due west from Marfa, you would not hit a major town before you get to the Gulf of California, 500 miles away. The only place en route is the tiny Nuevos Casas Grande. So if you get stuck in Marfa, don’t walk west…
8. Angle Inlet, MN
We’re back up north again. So far north, in fact that this small town can only be reached by going into Canada and back out again. Perched on the edge of Lake on the Woods, it was the northernmost point of the contiguous US, according to the census and it has a population of just 60. The nearest American town is Warroad, 32 miles away in a straight line, but to reach there by road would involve going around the lakes and over the border twice. So, it’s safe to say it’s cut off from the world.
7. Jordan Valley, OR
Another small town, covering 2.08 sqmiles, Jordan Valley is set in a rare green river valley, amid vast stretches of rocky mountains. There is a population of 181, but it has its own mayor – Jake Roe. I’m guessing the mayoral elections aren’t fiercely contested and might even be done by a show of hands. The town is made up of sheep and cattle farmers, and its local tourist attraction is the Jordan Crater Field (above) – a field of extinct volcanoes and splatter cones, made of cooled lava. Apart from that, there isn’t much around and the nearest town is Murphy, 30 miles away in a straight line over the mountains. Even that appears to be an airstrip and not much else. If you get trapped in Jordan Valley, you could be there for a while…
6. Williams, AZ
Williams is huge compared to some of the towns on our list, but at a population of 3,023 it still isn’t what you’d call a huge city. It lies an hour away from the Grand Canyon, via the Grand Canyon Railway and it’s also on the historic Route 66. There are mountains to the north, forest to the south and the town of Flagstaff 30 miles to the East. Still, there’s a lot to do in Williams, according to the official tourist site. Attractions include the intriguing-sounding “Bearizona”, a wildlife park where you can encounter bears in their natural habitat. And presumably performing their natural act of tracking and killing humans. If you still fancy getting up close and personal with the bears, remember you won’t be able to get away in a hurry…!
5. Jarbidge, NV
Another mountain town, Jarbidge is on the edge of the Jarbidge Wilderness – a name that should give you some idea of its remoteness. One of the ways of reaching is is via an 80-mile dirt road, that only opens a few months a year due to snow, although there is another road from closest town Twin Falls, 36 miles away. Penny Eggen, who has the challenging job of Jarbidge Director of Tourism and Public Relations, describes the areaas a “recreational paradise and a history buff’s dream”. It certainly looks scenic, and if you like your paradises secluded, she may well be right….
4. Edna Bay, AK
A settlement that’s both remote and tiny, Edna Bay is located on Kosciusko Island and comprises a shop, a church, a marina, some houses and rentals…and several saw mills. Visitors are advised to bring everything they would need for “remote outdoor survival” with them, as the local shop/post office isn’t huge. The whole town has 49 permanent residents, who are mostly loggers or fishermen. There is another town – Cape Pole – a mere 5 miles across the island but that is a similarly small settlement, which had 100 people at its most populated, 40 years ago. The nearest town apart from that is Petersburg, 31 miles away in a straight line. And when you’re dealing with icy waterways, there isn’t much in the way of straight lines. Just pack for remote outdoor survival…
3. Eureka, NV
Another entry for Nevada, Eureka is on Highway 50, a full 77 miles west of the equally isolated Ely. The Highway is marketed as “The Loneliest Road in America“, a phrase originally derived from a very negative piece in Life magazine around 1987. In the article, they urged travellers to stay away from the emptiness of the road “unless they’re confident of their survival skills.”. The tourist board of Nevada have turned this around and now the lonely road is a popular attraction, taking in ghost towns, cemeteries and…Eureka. Bigger than most of the settlements on the highway, Eureka boasts a population of 610 and an opera house. There are also a bizarre series of circlesin the ground just outside the town, which have been the subject of some paranormal speculation. Rather boringly, they’re just circles made out of crops by a local farming method. Or maybe aliens. Who knows?
2. Supai, AZ
If you thought Jarbidge was difficult to get to, why not try going to Supai? This town is perched on the edge of the Grand Canyon, and the only access is by mule as the nearest road is 8 miles away (there are no cars in the 208-strong community). It is officially the most remote place in the lower 48 states and there is a hotel, cafe and convenience store there but nothing else. It is one of only two places in the US that still receives its mail by mule. It’s safe to say there’s not a great deal to do in Supai, except visiting the Grand Canyon but it’s a spectacular looking place. And someone has kindly compiled a list of 6 ways to pass the time, although they largely revolve around waterfalls and canyons. If you don’t like both of those, probably best to stay away.
1. Barrow, AK
And now for the most remote place in the whole of America – Barrow, on the north coast of Alaska. Famed for its constant stretches of darkness during the winter months, Barrow is not the destination of choice for winter-sun-seekers. The feel of the town was captured by the vampire movie “30 Days of Night“, set during the polar night – a month of darkness.
The town is unconnected to the rest of Alaska by road, relying on air transport to bring in supplies and visitors. The nearest town is probably Fairbanks, around 300 miles away over ice sheets and national parks. With a population of 4,212 Barrow isn’t the smallest settlement- it even has its own high school football team, although a team had to be flown in from Delta Junction to play them in 2006. It may not be as tiny as some on the list, but it is very, very far away from anywhere and so is the remotest small town in the whole of the USA.