Thistle

Thistle is considered a ghost town; it was located up Spanish Fork Canyon in the midst of the Rockies.

Landslide in 1983 that drowned Thistle
Canada thistles thrived in the valley so the small town was named Thistle.

Canadian Thistle

In 1983 the mountain started moving 5 inches an hour!  Thistle’s 22 families were evacuated from their homes. The sliding mud called a “slump” had dammed up Spanish Fork River causing the water to back up behind it. The town of Thistle, Utah disappeared under the waters with water reaching the rooftops. 



Gazing downward from Hiway 6 at 5,000 feet, I saw Thistle’s buildings under water in the small lake dubbed Lake Thistle. Mother nature built a dam – the entire mountain had moved and the trees drowned.

The lake was determined to be too dangerous so moving equipment was brought in to release the water so that it would not flood other nearby towns. 

This event turned Thistle into a ghost town, unlike most ghost towns – most of the buildings are all under water.

School House

After much of the lake subsided, a few very wet stinky houses exist. 


The land is a marshland, home to frogs, birds, insects and perhaps fish. It may also serve as a watering hole for rabbits, elk, and deer. 




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