Are you wondering what the International Car Forest is? Are you planning a road trip through Nevada and wondering if you should stop here? Should you take the kids?
I can help. My family stopped at the International Car Forest on our way home from a road trip to Yosemite National Park.
The International Car Forest is located in Goldfield, Nevada. It's a 30-minute drive from Tonopah, Nevada, which is where we stayed. It's about three hours northwest of Las Vegas.
Here is everything you need to know to decide if the International Car Forest will be a worthwhile stop for your family.
What's it called again?
The official name is the International Car Forest of the Last Church. It was created by an artist and independent thinker named Michael Rippie.
According to Rippie, “The Last Church” is a representation of the last church being inside each of us. “International Forest” was a spoof on National Forest.
What will I see there?
You will see dozens of old cars and buses spread over several acres that have been painted by artists. Many of the cars have been partially buried with their ends sticking up in the air.
This art exhibit is ever-changing. Artists from all over the world come here to leave their mark. Weather and nature make changes as well.
We visited with my parents and my teenage children. Most of us thought that this site was fascinating, but some of our group were less impressed. If you love modern art or quirky roadside attractions, you'll probably love the International Car Forest.
How do I get there?
The International Car Forest is located in Goldfield, which is on Highway 95 in southwestern Nevada. Goldfield is a tiny town about 30 minutes south of Tonopah. While Tonopah feels like a mining town, Goldfield feels like an artist community.
The International Car Forest is located at the end of town, on Crystal Street. Between Google Maps and signs, we had no trouble finding it.
Expect to drive on a dirt road for the last mile or two. It's bumpy but maintained, and our minivan handled it well. Once inside, just park wherever you want and walk around.
Is it good for kids?
I took my kids, who were ages 13 and 16, and was glad I did. However, there are some inherent dangers of visiting the International Car Forest. They are easy enough to avoid if you are careful.
Risks include rusty metal, broken glass, and thorns. My son wore sandals and regretted it, due to the thorns. In warm weather, I'd keep an eye out for rattlesnakes.
Some parents may object to occasional profanities or explicit images spray-painted on the cars. This is considered vandalism and the Car Forest partners with artists who find creative ways to keep the space clean and focused on art with positive messages.
A sign at the entrance reminds visitors that this is an “at your own risk” kind of place.
How much does it cost?
It costs nothing to visit the International Car Forest. Donations are appreciated. Learn more about this site and donate at https://internationalcarforestofthelastchurch.com/.
When is it open?
The International Car Forest is always open. There is no gate or attendant.
Related: 10 Fun Things to Do in Ely, Nevada
What amenities are available?
Almost none. There was a porta-potty with “Rest Room” spray-painted on the door. I would have needed to be desperate to open the door and use it.
Food and drinks are sold in Goldfield, less than five miles away. The nearest fuel can be found in Tonopah.
What should we bring?
Most visitors will not need more than 30-60 minutes to visit this attraction, so you don't need to bring much.
I strongly recommend sturdy, closed-toe shoes. Dress for the weather. Here are a few more items you might like to have on hand:
- Drinking water
- Hand sanitizer
The International Car Forest is a fascinating place if you're in the area and you enjoy modern art or quirky roadside attractions. We are glad we visited.
I hope that our experience helps your family decide if it's worth the trip. Happy travels!
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