Am I wrong to think that the loneliest road in America should not have places to eat, sleep, and shop?
Most articles I read about lonely roads include information about places to eat, sleep, and shop. Especially the so-called Loneliest Road in America in Nevada.
I enjoy finding Uniquely American Road Trips. Even though I have driven in every state, criss-crossed the United States several times, and spent over a year on the road, I certainly have not visited every remote road.
For instance, I have only been on the main roads in Alaska and I imagine that many Alaskan roads are lonelier than the loneliest one in the lower 48.
How to find the real Loneliest Road in America?
Do you like off-the-beaten-path scenic drives? Here is one of my favorite remote, off the grid roads.
The loneliest road in America I have been on was in the extreme southwestern corner of New Mexico.
The Geronimo Trail between Douglas, Arizona and the New Mexico border is more lonely than most of the published lonely road articles. In an hour and a half, I only saw a handful of vehicles. That was the road I drove to get to the loneliest road. More about my real loneliest road in America below.
Most of the Geronimo Trail between Douglas, Arizona and the New Mexico border looks like this.
One side road from the Geronimo Trail was particularly gnarly.
Another Geronimo Trail side road.
I crossed from Arizona to New Mexico.
About 30 minutes later, the terrain changed from mountainous to grassland. The Geronimo Trail continued north to the intersection with highway 338 (to Animas) but I turned south on County Road C002.
Driving the Real Loneliest Road in America
I drove around the farm roads for another 30-45 minutes. The scenery was magnificent—a great valley between the Peloncillo Mountains to the west and the Animas Mountains—and the continental divide leading south to Antelope Wells—to the east.
Although I did not see a person or even any farm animals for over an hour, I did see a wild pronghorn herd.
I eventually drove north on County Road C001 (highway 338) from near Cloverdale Cemetery (within a couple of miles from the Mexico border). After about 15 minutes, I saw the first vehicle in 90 minutes—a pickup truck, of course. Soon the road was paved and there were more vehicles.
How busy is the Real Loneliest Road in America?
I did not see another vehicle, person, or sign of person (house, farm) for 90 minutes of driving. It was a solid hour and a half of blissful, no signs of life (at least 75 miles) before I saw another car.
Needless to say, I was off the grid. No cell service. That other self-proclaimed one (see NV Hwy 50) promotes events, places to see, towns, and more along its loneliest road. How the heck is that lonely?
My GPS marked historical sites in the area.
My original plan was to drive Guadalupe Canyon Road along the extreme southeastern edge of Arizona and into New Mexico. I pulled up to a Border Patrol car a few miles east of Douglas along Guadalupe Canyon Road to ask about the road.
The Border Patrol agent told me that it is impossible to do that—unpassable road, potential outlaws, and dangerous situations.
If you want to find this approximate route I followed, use Google Maps and Get Directions from Douglas, AZ to Cloverdale Cemetery Animas, NM.
What is the loneliest road you have been on?
If you like coastal scenic drives, see our Ultimate US Coastal Scenic Drives Resource Guide.
16 thoughts on “Drive the True, Real Loneliest Road in America”
Did you get the name of the ranch, by chance? I’m wondering if they would allow driving through with prior permission. There appear to be 4WD routes through there.
I highly doubt you would get permission to drive through there. They live there because they like their solitude. You could walk in and ask them. I’m thankful that they still let people walk in. I strongly suspect that the road has deteriorated greatly on the NM side. I looked closely on Google Earth recently and it looked pretty rough. A Jeep could probably still do it. You can drive in from the NM side quite a ways so the locked portion is only 4-5 miles?
BTW, I just re-checked some of my sources and a NM birder who goes there a lot says you DON’T want to go close to the ranch house! I think that means you can forget about driving through. 🙂
Great information. Thank you.
I will have to dig deep into my photo archive to see if I can find the ranch name.
Thanks for sharing a great post!
Thank you for reading and for the comment. Cheers!
Be sure to check if your rental car contract permits driving on these type of roads. Many don’t. Otherwise, its insurance void.
Sounds like a reasonable thing to do. Travel Happy, Don!
Will do! Thanks, Charles.
30 some years ago you could drive through Guadalupe Cyn from AZ to NM. We camped there once for a couple nights by the creek. It was magical. It is one of the premier birding sites in the country. The people who own the ranch put the gate up for various reasons. You can still walk in as I did a couple of years ago. I think it is too rugged for all but the hardiest drug smugglers and they don’t want any part of you and they mainly travel at night anyway.
Thank you so much for the note. Gorgeous place.
There are a few lonely roads not too far away from this in West Texas.
I love driving around west Texas. In fact, this particular trip ended in El Paso. Driving around Big Bend—Alpine, Marfa, Terlingua, etc.—is wonderful.
My loneliest was the primitive road along the southern end of Big Bend National Park.
Very nice. Thank you.
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