10 surreal abandoned places in Oregon

Peter Watson

From an eerie ghost forest to a UFO boat on a nudist beach, these abandoned places in Oregon are captivating neglected sites.

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here are some fascinating abandoned places in OregonThye-Wee Gn/Shutterstock

10 abandoned places in Oregon

Often, an eerie silence surrounds abandoned places, emitting a bizarre energy that speaks to something deep within us, playing on our curious nature.

If you do visit these abandoned places in Oregon, don't trespass and be careful as many of these sites are now considered dangerous.

1. Wreck of the Peter Iredale

Location: Warrenton, Oregon

The Peter Iredale, a four-masted, steel ship, ran ashore in 1906 and is now one of the most accessible shipwrecks on the West Coast.

It has remained here, slowly decaying on the shore for more than a century.

At low tide, visitors can walk up to the vessel’s remains and wonder about how it met such a fate.

The shipwreck is located just beyond the parking lot at Fort Stevens State Park.

2. Port of Tillamook Bay Railroad

Location: Tillamook, Oregon

Historic Tillamook holds historical significance as a once-bustling port and industrial center.

The Port of Tillamook Bay Railroad (POTB) is a short line owned and operated by the Port of Tillamook Bay situated along Oregon’s Pacific coastline and has a history dating back to the early 1950s.

However, after a series of storms destroyed some of the tracks, the railway was abandoned in 2007.

It's still possible to ride the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad, but the 10-mile hike along the old railroad reveals some fascinating abandoned sites en route.

The trail takes in numerous tunnels and bridges as it makes its way through Oregon’s Tillamook State Forest.

There are also a number of old steam engines and rail cars sat rusting behind the Tillamook Air Museum.

3. Witches Castle in Forest Park

Location: Portland, Oregon

Tucked away in the woods of Forest Park is an abandoned stone structure with multiple stories of its history. The Stone House is best known as the Witch’s Castle.

The structure is apparently the remnants of a former restroom built in 1929, but we prefer to imagine stories behind the castle’s origins.

It’s a great marker along the 30-mile Wildwood Trail, easily accessed via Macleay Park in Northwest Portland.

4. Fort Stevens

Location: Hammond, Oregon

Fort Stevens was once the primary military defense installation in the three-fort, Harbor Defense System at the mouth of the Columbia River (along with Forts Canby and Columbia in Washington).

The fort saw service for 84 years, from the Civil War to World War II.

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Russel Battery, once a military stronghold, now sits empty in OregonDCrane/Shutterstock

The area still shows remnants of its military past. Visitors can take a free underground tour of rare turn-of-the-century artillery gun batteries, the fort's old jail and an extensive military museum.

Today, Fort Stevens has grown into a 4,300 acre park offering exploration of history, nature, and many other recreational opportunities.

5. Dufur

Location: Wasco County, Oregon

Not far away from Boyd is the still-living community of Dufur with a population of 609.

Once the location of the largest dry-land apple orchard in the U.S., Dufur was established in the 1870s and named for a local landowner, Andrew J. Dufur.

The town’s most noticeable building is the grand 1907 Historic Balch Hotel, a nine-room, three-story beauty that’s been completely renovated and makes a great location for weddings, reunions, retreats or quiet getaways.

A tour of Dufur visits the Schreiber House, a two-story, hand-hewn log cabin located at the Dufur Historical Society Living History Museum (the cabin was built in 1900 and housed four generations of the Schreiber family).

Also on-site, you’ll find the Endersby School, a charming and simple schoolhouse dating back to 1882 (and originally located in a nearby town of the same name).

6. Neskowin Ghost Forest

Location: Neskowin, Oregon

Back in the winter of 1997-98, a series of storms hit the central Oregon coastal town of Neskowin.

The turbulent weather unearthed what is known today as the Neskowin Ghost Forest, the remnants of an ancient sitka spruce forest.

The stumps of the Ghost Forest have been estimated at approximately 2000 years old, and when they were alive, the trees are thought to have stood 150-200 feet high.

Scientists believe that the forest was ultimately destroyed as a result of an earthquake or tsunami, and the remains were eventually buried deep.

The event that destroyed the forest also helped to save the stumps by burying the remains, thus being preserved rather than eroding them away over time.

The Ghost Forest stumps all still rest in their original soil, deep beneath the sands.

The sea levels were believed to be very similar back then to what they are today, which helps to explain why they have now been exposed and not reburied over the past 14 years.

Before the big storms of 97-98, locals would sometimes witness a few of these stumps exposed during particularly harsh storms, every 20 years or so, but they would always be reburied in a few days.

7. Collins Beach UFO Boat

Location: Portland, Oregon

This abandoned graffiti-boat boat sits on Collins Beach – popular with nudists since the 1970s – and is shaped remarkably like a UFO.

Unbelievably, this old vessel actually housed a family for three months back in 1973, but things were a bit better back in its heyday.

Back then, the boat featured a working, if basic, kitchen, and electric lighting powered by a generator.

Today, the boat has long been abandoned and is better known for its diverse graffiti and as an unusual point of interest.

8. Wreck of the Mary D. Hume

Location: Gold Beach, Oregon

The Mary D. Hume was active for 97 years and as such, still holds the record for longest-serving vessel of the Pacific Coast.

Built in 1881, the vessel spent her first ten years hauling goods from Oregon to San Fransisco.

Purchased in 1889 by Pacific Whaling Co., it then spent 10 years as an Arctic whaling vessel, making history in the process by spending an incredible six years at sea in total.

In 1899, the Mary D. started a towing service on the Nushagak River in Alaska, and was then sold to The American Tug Boat company.

In 1914 she briefly served in the Alaska Halibut industry before returning to work as a tug boat for another 60 years.

Finally, in 1978, the Mary D. Hume was retired to Gold Beach where she now sits, gradually settling into the mud, not far from where she was originally constructed.

9. The Old Mill

Location: Vernonia, Oregon

Vernoniawas once home to the Oregon-American Lumber Company until it closed in 1957.

Remnants of the Old Mill still remain today. However, only the concrete foundations of the fuel bunker are still standing.

It sits on the bank of Lake Vernonia which originally served as the millpond.

10. White River Falls Power plant

Location: Maupin, Oregon

The White River plunges 90' over a basalt shelf. The park offers excellent viewpoints of the White River falls.

A rugged quarter-mile trail takes hikers down deep within the canyon to the historic hydroelectric power plant at the base of the raw, churning power of the falls.

The power plant supplied electricity to Wasco and Sherman Counties from 1910 until the completion of The Dalles Dam in 1960.

The chasm of the falls tells a geological story of violence and power; the old grist pond tells the story of people learning to use that power.

The hydroelectric plant at the bottom tells the story of human ingenuity and persistence as we turned the Pacific Northwest's abundant natural energy into electricity.

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Peter Watson is a writer, photographer and adventurer. A keen trekker and climber he can usually be found on the trails of the Greater Ranges. He’s visited over 80 countries and is currently focused on climbing the seven summits – the highest mountain on every continent. Four down, three to go... He has also travelled extensively around the US developing a penchant for American backcountry, abandoned buildings and natural wonders en route.

Phoenix, AZ
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