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Searching for abandoned places in Washington? You’re in the right place. Below are 20 of my favorite abandoned places across the state!
Abandoned Places In Washington
1. Satsop Nuclear Power Plant
These two ominous cooling towers were part of Washington Nuclear Project Nos. 3 and 5, abbreviated as WNP-3 and WNP-5. The plan was there would be a total of five nuclear power plants at the Satsop site generating power.
Construction for the project began back in 1977 when the first two towers were built. Unfortunately, costs ballooned out of control resulting in management changes for the project. Despite these changes, the estimated cost rose from $4.1 billion to nearly $24 billion.
Construction halted in 1983 after the parent company failed to sell enough bonds to fund the rest of the project. After numerous starts and stops, the project was terminated in 1999 after nearing 76% completion.
The surrounding area has been transformed into a business park but the two cooling towers remain standing and vacant. The towers are fenced off but can be explored up close with a little planning good timing.
2. The Cement Ship
Simply known as the “Cement Ship” this moored vessel sits on the shore in Dupont Washington, but little is known about its history. It’s rumored that this one was one of four scuttled ships in the area that were abandoned during the 60s and 70s.
While I couldn’t find concrete evidence (pun intended), it is very likely these concrete ships were a part of the reserve fleet during World War II. During the war, steel was in short supply so the Navy construed reserve ships made of concrete to aid other countries. When the war ended, many of these ships were used to create artificial reefs and break walls.
The ship has decayed with time but is still a unique abandoned place in Washington to check out. If you go, be sure to time your trip with low tide so you can get as close as possible to the ship. Just follow the Sequalitchew Creek Canyon trail to the coastline. Be sure to bring good hiking boots as the trail can get steep in some areas.
3. Bicycle Tree
There are many stories explaining how this bike ended up inside a tree, but no one knows for sure. One of the most popular stories is that a boy tied his bike to the tree before being sent off to war. Famed author Berkeley Breathed who grew up on the island wrote about the bike in his book Red Ranger Came Calling.
While there are certainly larger abandoned places in Washington, the bicycle tree is probably one of the most unique sites I’ve visited. Just like in the photos the bike has been consumed by the trunk of the tree. It almost doesn’t seem real until you see it yourself.
If you’re in the area or not too far away, consider stopping by and checking it out. The bicycle tree is a great example of how nature and time work together to take back the Earth from us.
4. Battery 247
Battery 247 is one of many abandoned WWII gun batteries scattered throughout Washington and the Pacific Northwest. The battery was built around 1943 and was one of three batteries that protected the mouth of the Columbia River.
The battery was decommissioned in 1945 shortly after the end of World War II. The guns were removed and relocated shortly after the site’s closure.
You can reach Battery 247 via McKenzie Head Trail which is a short 0.8-mile hike from the parking lot. Today the concrete structures remain in great condition. No guns remain, but the area is open to the public making this one of the few abandoned places in Washington that are legal to explore.
5. Govan School House
Govan is one of many ghost towns dotted across the Washington backroads, with the schoolhouse beings its most iconic structure. The school was built in 1906 and served the community until 1927 when a fire decimated many of Govan’s structures. The town was left completely vacant in 1942.
Historically there have been multiple unsolved murders in Govan which adds to its allure. In 1902 the town’s judge and his wife were found beaten to death inside their home. In 1941 a woman was found murdered on her farm. Her missing son was found eight years later in a field outside of town. In all these cases, no one was ever convicted.
Three people live in Govan making it a true ghost town. The schoolhouse is the star of the show, being one of the most interesting abandoned buildings in the area. Govan is definitely a place you’ll want to check out for yourself, even if it involves taking a small trip.
6. Battery O’Flyng
Battery O’Flyng is one of the more historic abandoned places in Washington with this site dating back to 1904. The battery was named after Elijah O’Flyng who died at the siege of Fort Erie while serving the 23rd U.S Infantry during the War of 1812. The battery like many others was tasked with defending the mouth of the Columbia River.
The battery is completely overgrown covered in a thick layer of moss and vegetation. The site is technically off-limits and only accessible legally with the coast guard’s permission. I personally think Battery O’Flyng is one of the best batteries to explore as it has remained untouched by humans to be reclaimed by nature. Despite its abandonment, the battery remains in great condition.
7. Bodie Ghost Town
Not to be confused with Bodie, CA, this Washington ghost town was established in 1900 as a mill town. During its peak, the town had a post office, hotel, and numerous residential homes. The massive stamp mill processed ore from the nearby Golconda mines. The mill was the lifeblood of the town.
Everything was great until the mines slowed down. By 1930 the mill had closed, leaving many people without work or opportunity in Bodie. In 1962 a fire ripped through the town destroying the mill.
Bodie has numerous abandoned structures scattered around fields and along the road. Bodie is a very cool place and is among the few abandoned places in Washington that date back to the goldrush area.
8. Hanford Site
The Hanford Site is a decommissioned nuclear production facility that was established in 1943. The site played a key role in the Manhattan Project and was home to the world’s first full-scale plutonium production reactor. The plutonium made at the Hanford site was eventually used in the Fat Man, and detonated over Nagasaki.
During the cold war, the Hanford Site ramped up production to expand plutonium processing which helped the United States keep in step with Russia during the arms race. By the end of the cold war, the facility shut down leaving behind 53 million gallons of high-level radioactive waste.
The old productions facilities are under strict control for obvious reasons. Today a massive cleanup initiative is underway to remove the spent nuclear waste. You can schedule a tour of the grounds or take a virtual guide tour on the Hanford site’s website.
9. Northern State Hospital
Northern State Hospital was opened in 1912 in response to the overcrowding of Washington’s two other insane asylums. Despite the best efforts of Northern State, this mental hospital also filled up its 2000 beds quite quickly. Similar to prison farms of that era, Northern State Hospital aimed to be self-sufficient, with patients farming, gardening, and contributing to their own care.
While the hospital had a relatively solid reputation, patients were subject to horrifying treatments like electroshock therapy, lobotomies, and heavy sedation. Rumors claim that some patients were even subject to experience under MK Ultra. The sad thing is, many of these patients were even mentally ill. Many were simply drug abusers, homeless, or suffered from mild depression.
The hospital closed its doors in 1976 after state funding was cut.
1,487 unclaimed bodies are buried on the grounds of the crumbling hospital, making this potentially one of the most haunted abandoned places in Washington. The hospital is truly a unique place to explore with many details still left behind despite nature’s attempt at taking the building back.
10. Cascade Tunnel
The old Cascade Tunnel was built between 1897 and 1900 stretching nearly three miles in length. The tunnel was opened to allow trains safe passage during the winter season to avoid avalanches and other complications with heavy snowfall.
Even with the Cascade Tunnel in place, the rail line still fell victim to snowslide. IN 1910 an avalanche nickname “Tye” crashed into the track near the western portal killing 101 people. To date, this marks the deadliest avalanche in U.S history. The tunnel was abandoned in 1929 for a newer and longer tunnel which you can still see running nearby today.
Both ends of the tunnel can be explored with parking available near the Iron Goat Trail Head. It’s a great experience for novice explorers and is more of a casual location to adventure to. If you’ve explored other abandoned railroad tunnels, chances are this won’t be too different for you.
11. Fort Casey
Fort Casey was part of a trifecta of forts that formed the “Triangle of Fire” that strategically protected the entrance of the Puget Sound. The fort was built in the late 1800s and was used until the mid-1940s for training exercises. As warships and airplanes became more advanced, Fort Casey was decommissioned and deemed obsolete.
Fort Casey is one of the few abandoned places in Washington that is legal to explore. You can get up close with history and explore the Fort along with the other remnants located in the state park. Visitors can pay to enter the park at an automated pay station or by using their annual Discover Pass.
12. Cloverland Ghost Town
Unlike many ghost towns, Cloverland was built not to support mining, but in hopes of forming a large orchard and farming community. Cloverland came into existence during the early 1900s but didn’t last long. The cost of irrigation and land left many residents unable to justify purchasing land in the town. Only a small group of ranchers called Cloverland home until being completely abandoned a short time later.
The Cloverland Garage is one of the more notable buildings still standing right in the center of town. The Cloverland Hotel is also still standing. The local cemetery has a number of tombs dating back to the early 1900s. If you want a true ghost town experience, don’t pass up on visiting Cloverland.
13. Molson Ghost Town
Like many abandoned places in Washington, Molson experienced the boom and bust of all mining towns during the turn of the 19th century. The town was founded by an investor and his promoter who had a stake in the Molson Beer and banking business.
In 1900 the population reached 300 residents with numerous stores, saloons, dance halls, and hotels supporting the population. The town even had an attorney’s office and doctor, which was a rarity of early mining towns. This success was short-lived.
by 1901, the Molson company had withdrawn funding leaving many without work. Only 12 residents stayed behind. The town struggled throughout the Great Depression and suffered even more once the railroad closed in 1931. One of the largest buildings in town “Hotel Tonasket” burned to the ground in 1938. By 1967 the post office was removed, signifying the final blow to the already dying town.
The town has embraced its history and has made moves to preserve many of the structures still standing. Locals even attempted to reconstruct the hotel. While some revitalized ghost towns have a commercial element to them, Molson sticks to its roots to provide an authentic experience. Don’t pass up Molson if you’re in the area.
14. St. Ignatius Hospital
St. Ignatius Hospital was built in 1892 after a catholic priest recognized the need for better healthcare in his community. He received funding from the Sister of Charity to build the hospital which operated for over 60 years. Unlike many hospitals, St. Ignatius relied on donations rather than government funding.
As the building aged the need for maintenance and modernization grew. By 1964 funding from donations was enough to sustain the hospital. The hospital shut its doors that same year.
Many people say St. Ignatius is one of the most haunted abandoned places in Washington. Many previous owners have opened up ghost tours alongside history tours. One rumor is that F. E. Martin haunts the halls of this hospital. He was one of the first people to die inside after being crushed by two railcars.
Today the property is in bad shape but is possibly under renovation by a private owner.
15. Nike Site S-13/14
Nike Site S-13/14 is one of over 100 different missile defense bases located across the country. During the cold war, Nike missile sites would keep a watchful eye over our skies defending key cities and the capital. Many Nike missiles were armed with nuclear warheads that could detonate overhead wiping out a Soviet fleet of bombers.
The site was decommissioned in 1974 along with all other Nike sites due to improvements in other air defense technology.
While the missiles are gone, a vast majority of the base is intact but in rough shape. 40 years of untamed wilderness and weather have left their mark on this old base. If you’ve never seen a Nike missile base, this is a great example of one left abandoned.
16. Fort Worden Artillery Battery
Fort Worden was established in the late 1890s with the task of protecting the entrance to Puget Sound. The fort served as the first line of defense in protecting cities like Seattle, Tacoma, and Everett from naval attacks. The batteries housed six guns and were fully staffed by the turn of the century.
In 1947 the fort was disbanded and the guns were removed. It was officially closed when the Harbor Defense Command was deactivated in 1953. It briefly served as a treatment center for youths until being sold to the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission.
Today the battery is a part of the state park which can be freely explored by anyone.
17. Vance Creek Bridge/Viaduct
The old Vance Creek arch bridge was built to support a logging railroad in 1929. The bridge was the second-highest railroad trestle towering over the forest at 347 feet. When logging declined in the area, the railroad wasn’t needed and was abandoned in the 1970s.
The bridge and all of its glory is still intact, but its future is unclear. Restoring the bridge was deemed too expensive and talks of transforming it into a bungee jumping platform are still ongoing. Until then, urban explorers can venture to the bridge for some stunning views.
Of all the abandoned places in Washington, Vance Creek Bridge is one of the most dangerous, so stay safe while exploring.
18. Lester Ghost Town
Unlike other mining towns that mined gold, silver, or uranium, Lester simply mined for coal to supply the steam engines that traversed the Northern Pacific rail line. The town sprung up sometime around the early 1900s and by 1908 nearly 250 residents called Lester home. The town had a roundhouse, general store, saloon, a school, and a post office.
Of course, as coal engines were replaced, the need for this coal faded along with the services of workers in Lester. Around 1940 trains would pass by Lester without needing to resupply their engines. This was a massive blow to the local economy. In the 60s the city of Tacoma set out to shut down the town to protect the drinking water of its city. By 1969 Tacoma owned the land that the dying town was on.
By 1980 only 26 people lived in the town. One school teacher by the name of Gertrude Murphy fought vehemently to revive her town. She worked to save the school but it was ultimately closed along with the rail line in 1985.
There are about a half dozen abandoned homes and other buildings along the old stretch of tracks. The property is considered private so expect a trespassing ticket if caught on the land.
19. Elberton Ghost Town
Elberton was founded in 1886 after the Oregon Railway Co build a rail line through the valley. The town served as a natural resting stop along the way. The town flourished reaching a population of about 400. Residents had access to a blacksmith shop, grain warehouse, church, post office, and flour mill.
Unfortunately, Elberton was hit with a streak of bad luck. In 1900 the sawmill closed down leaving many unemployed. Shortly after that, a fire raged through the town in 1908 destroying many buildings. Finally, in 1910 a flood would cause even more destruction.
By 1929, much of the town had packed up and left looking for more opportunities and less chaos.
Today there are a few brick buildings still standing and some abandoned vehicles in the woods. The old railroad bridge still stands and the cemetery is overgrown and quite eerie. The old Abandoned United Brethern Church is my personal favorite building still left standing.
If you’re nearby, don’t pass up on seeing Elberton,
20. Tian I & II Silos
Washington has over a dozen different missile defense sites and ICBM silos dotted across the state. While some of these sites are privately owned and being lived in, many are in fact abandoned. Washington was a strategic location during the Cold War allowing Minuteman rockets and other nuclear-capable vehicles to reach the Soviet Union in record time.
Due to the sensitive nature of these places and the danger they pose, we’ll keep their exact location undisclosed.
While many silos were destroyed during the SALT initiative, explorers can still find abandoned Titan silos throughout the state. These silos are among some of the most dangerous abandoned places in Washington so please only explore if you are truly prepared.
The silos are pitch dark and often waterlogged or flooded from years of neglect. Expect steep drops in the housing areas and rusted flooring from years of moisture
Go out and explore!
That concludes our list of abandoned places in Washington, but that doesn’t mean that’s all there is to find. Take the back roads, follow train tracks, and find some places for yourself. There are plenty of places I kept off this list so get out there and explore.