Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch is a perfect example of why I started this blog. The ranch encompasses one man’s passion for creating and sharing something unique, which lead to my passion for finding, documenting, and photographing these things for others to enjoy.
Update 2019: Unfortunately, Elmer passed away on June 22nd, 2019. According to the family, the ranch is currently closed with hopes to reopen in late summer 2019. There is a website you can see here for updates. Update September 2021: I went in 2021 and it was not open when I went. I am not sure if this is standard for now or not but it was still cool to see from the road.
Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch is literally a forest of bottle trees (large metal pipes with bottles hanging from them), located along Route 66, right in the heart of the California desert. But I don’t need to tell you the history of this place, let Elmer Long tell you himself in the below video I took while I was there.
- Open sunrise to sunset
- Located right on Route 66
- Elmer accepts donations, but it is free to enter
One of the spots I was most excited about on my recent trip down Route 66 was Elmer’s Bottletree Ranch. As I pulled up in my car, I knew it would live up to expectations. This place was a forest of bottle trees.
As I walked in the entrance, it was hard to figure out what to focus on as there was so much going on, but it is places like this that you need to spend a reasonable amount of time just exploring to get the full experience. Elmer himself likes to hang out here as much as he can and simply talk to those that are enjoying his creation.
Here are some of my favorite pictures from the time there.
He also has a donation box so that you can help him with his art and if you donate you can take a small piece of glass as a souvenir.
My two favorite things at the ranch were the old boat and the tree made out of an old missile.
When I was there, at least ten other people were as well. One person, who had flown in from France to drive Route 66, had heard about Elmer’s Bottletree Ranch all the way over in France.
Elmer also confirmed to me that people from China, Japan and other places around the world show up every so often to interview him and talk about his project, I would love to know how they find out about it.
All in all, Elmer’s Bottletree Ranch is an excellent stop on Route 66. It is a fun place to explore, and there is a lot of photographic opportunities. Hopefully, you can visit when Elmer is there, he is a great guy to talk to, and it is fun to ask questions to the creator of this unique attraction. If you need more stops on this stretch of Route 66, make sure to check out my post on it here, and I would love any comments below.