BOBBY MAGILL

Journalist • Photographer

Bobby Magill is a senior science writer for Climate Central in New York and a journalist who has covered fracking and the environment in Colorado and New Mexico since 2001. 

10 minutes in the not-quite ghost town of Thompson Springs, Utah

If you've ever driven I-70 from Colorado to Moab, Utah, you've been by Thompson Springs. It's the exit with the Shell station just before the U.S. 191-Moab interchange. If you get off the interstate there, you'll discover a dusty little town long ago bypassed by the freeway now existing as a forlorn reminder of slightly more prosperous days in this lonely quarter of Utah. U.S. 6 & 50, which once formed the main drag through town, now follows the interstate, but the old highway remains in the middle of town, crumbling with age.

Thompson Springs is still hanging on as a settlement (barely), but the derelict old cafe and motels that surely served as a stopping point on the way from Salt Lake to Denver back in the day have become works of art unto themselves, thanks to some creative graffiti artists and, in the office of the Thompson Motel, a massive pile of tumbleweeds.

A week ago, on our way from Capitol Reef to Grand Junction, my somewhat perplexed friends ("How did you learn about this place?" "Why would you ever want to stop here?" they said.) and I pulled off the freeway in Thompson Springs for a 10 minute look around town.