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Abandoned Town: Zzyzx Road

Vehicle provided by Kia

We’ve all driven by the Zzyzx road sign on the way to Vegas, and I’ve always been curious about what is at the end of the road in the middle of nowhere. While on a summer road trip from OC to Vegas, I finally took the time to pull off the freeway to explore the abandoned town at the end of this famous road.

As we drove down the road, I was glad that I was driving our AWD Kia Sorento because most of the road is not paved. As a mom, I’m not used to driving on dirt roads, and when I was on the dirt road, the Sorento handled just as well as it does on paved roads.

We made our way down the windy road and took a moment to stop and admire the beautiful salt flats. The salt flats in the middle of the desert were absolutely beautiful. My kids wanted to run around on the crusty white ground, but the ground did not feel stable, so we didn’t explore beyond the dirt road.

It was about 4 miles until we reached the end of the road. From what I had read online, I was expecting this cool abandoned town that was at one time the Zzyzx Mineral Springs and Health Resort, but instead, we found lots of people walking around what is now the Desert Studies Center.

We slowly drove into the gates of the Desert Studies Center. The studies center is now occupying the buildings from the once Zzyzx Mineral Springs and Health Resort. We found the famous Zzyzx swings that overlook the desert oasis, and my kids took a few minutes to fly high on the swings while admiring the beautiful view of the oasis with the salt flats in the background.

I am one to love ghost towns and don’t normally get that “eerie feeling, ” but even though people were walking around, I felt the creepiness of the once abandoned town. After about five minutes, I was ready to get back into our Sorento and make our way back to the freeway.

Once I arrived in Las Vegas, I got a call from my husband telling me that he and his dad spread his grandfather’s ashes on Zzyzx Road. Could the feeling that I was getting his spirit? We will never know.

Overall, Zzyzx Road is a place that families should make a stop and visit. The best part of the road is admiring the beautiful salt flats, which is the perfect place to capture a beautiful photo of your children in the desert.

Have fun visiting Zzyzx Road on your next road trip to Las Vegas!

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  1. This article is quite misleading considering it was never “abandoned”. The mineral spa closed in 1974, desert studies center opened in 1976… considering there was legal implications and figuring out what purpose the land/property would be used as that is hardly “abandonement”. Publicizing a college campus abandoned can have very negative implications, and is historically innacurate.

  2. It was not “abandoned”. The desert studies center was established 2 years after the mineral spa closed. This article is misleading and potentially influences people to invasively explore a college students dorm. Vehicle access to non reserved guest is not allowed as stated by signage approaching the facility.

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