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Amboy is a ghost town in the Mojave Desert region of California. It has between four and eight inhabitants; what remains of the town is owned by a private preservationist.

Get in/Get around[edit]

Amboy is located on the Santa Fe Railroad line between Kingman, Arizona and Barstow, California. It was founded as one of an alphabetical series of railway outposts in the steam locomotive era but trains no longer stop — not even to deliver water to this tiny desert point. A few cinema stars have used private aircraft to reach a private landing strip in the area, as the town's deserted and remote location has been used in movie location shooting.

Most travellers, however, will arrive by car on what was once Route 66. The modern Interstate highway which bypassed US 66 does not go through (or near) Amboy, a key factor leading to the town's demise.


The Salt Ponds of Amboy at sunset
  • While much of the town has been demolished, a few buildings (such as the former Amboy School, closed since 1999, and an abandoned church) still stand.
  • A shoe tree once stood along Route 66 in Amboy, but collapsed under their weight in 2010 and is no more. There was a subsequent attempt to decorate a "lingerie bush" with various undergarments.


Amboy Crater
  • 1 Amboy Crater. The hike to the crater and back to the highway can take 2–3 hours. Amboy Crater (Q4741685) on Wikidata Amboy Crater on Wikipedia


Roy's Café & Motel
  • Roy's Motel & Café, 87520 National Trail Hwy, 92304, +1 760 733-1066. The only working fuel station in the area. This site was a busy automotive garage and eatery in Route 66's heyday. When the Interstate highway bypassed the town, the repair garage and motel closed. Fuel is still available (but expensive, given the remote location) and the next station is many miles across the desert. The café had continued operation for several years but difficulties getting potable water to the site forced its closure.

Eat and drink[edit]

There is no restaurant in Amboy. Snacks and canned or bottled drinks are available at Roy's, but the café's kitchen is closed.


The motel at Roy's, while still standing, is no longer functional, in poor and deteriorating condition.


A US post office appears to have operated in the town until 2011; there is no Internet at this site.

Stay safe[edit]

See also: Hot weather, Arid region safety

The hike into Amboy Crater can be brutally hot and debilitating, crossing open desert with no shade as mid-day summer temperatures enter the 113 °F (45 °C) range. Black volcanic rock radiates heat during the afternoon, making temperatures unbearable. Hiking in open desert mid-day, the hottest time, is dangerous in summer. One litre of water per person per hour (or more) may be needed for survival; as soon as you've used 40% of your potable water, turn back lest you run dry during the return trip.

Inexperienced and unprepared hikers have died here.

Go next[edit]

Routes through Amboy
Santa MonicaBarstow  W US 66 (historic).svg E  NeedlesKingman

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