Loneliest Road in America

Do you like off the beaten path scenic drives?

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.

Am I wrong to think that the loneliest road in America should not have places to eat, sleep, and shop?

I enjoy finding scenic roads in America. 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 hundreds of Alaskan roads are lonelier than the loneliest one in the lower 48.

Anyway, the loneliest road in America I have been on was in the extreme southwestern corner of New Mexico.

How lonely?

I did not see another vehicle, person, or sign of person (house, farm) for 90 minutes of driving. A solid hour and a half of driving (at least 75 miles) before I saw another car.

Needless to say, I was off the grid. No cell service.

Recommended places to eat, stay, and shop? Yeah, good one.

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.

Most of the Geronimo Trail between Douglas, Arizona and the New Mexico border looks like this.

Geronimo Trail in southeast Arizona
Geronimo Trail in southeast Arizona

One side road from the Geronimo Trail was particularly gnarly.

Loneliest Road in America, Geronimo Trail in Arizona
rough side road off Geronimo Trail, Arizona

Another Geronimo Trail side road.

Loneliest Road in America, Geronimo Trail in Arizona
another Geronimo Trail side road

I crossed from Arizona to New Mexico.

Loneliest Road in America, Geronimo Trail in Arizona
state border (Arizona, New Mexico) sign along Geronimo Trail, 1933
Loneliest Road in America, Geronimo Trail in Arizona
view from Geronimo Trail at AZ / NM border

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.

County Road 002 in New Mexico, Loneliest Road in America
County Road 002 in New Mexico, 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.

Loneliest Road in America, CR 002 in New Mexico and Geronimo Trail in Arizona
pronghorn herd along County Road 002 in New Mexico

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.

My GPS marked historical sites in the area.

Loneliest Road in America, County Road 002 in New Mexico by Charles McCool of McCool Travel
GPS screen shot of ghost towns along CR 002 in New Mexico

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. He told me that it is impossible to do it. Unpassable road, potential outlaws, and dangerous situations.

Loneliest Road in America, Guadalupe Canyon Road in Arizona
Guadalupe Canyon Road in Arizona (dead end)
Loneliest Road in America, Guadalupe Canyon in Arizona and New Mexico (danger sign) by Charles McCool of McCool Travel
danger sign in Guadalupe Canyon in Arizona and New Mexico

If you want to find this approximate route, 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.

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11 thoughts on “Loneliest Road in America”

  1. 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.

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