Thursday, April 26, 2012

Owanka, an easy-to-find ghost town

What makes a South Dakota ghost town great for photographers? In the case of Owanka, southwest of the almost-ghost town of Wasta, it's ease of finding, a decent amount of buildings to shoot and some interesting prairie scenery around it.

To find Owanka, head south from Interstate 90's Exit 90 and you can't miss it in about 5.5 miles when the road dips down into a wide ravine. GPS coordinates are N44° 1'16.17 W102°35'15.03. As I said, this is southwest of Wasta in western South Dakota or almost directly west of Wall.

It's fun to be able to show pretty much the entire town in the vista from the top of the valley. Also, what ghost town would be complete without a good collection of abandoned vehicles? I loved the trio of Ford Falcons rusting in the grass.

There are still people living in Owanka, so be respectful of private property while visiting and tread lightly. Photographers are not the only creatures that like to hang out in ghost towns and abandoned vehicles - snakes, skunks, raccoons and their kind can be found in many of these places.

Thanks to fellow photographer Robin Hao Gonzalez for inspiring my visit to Owanka. She's good at finding fun stuff to shoot.


Larry said...

We stopped here on our way out to Rapid City. Lots of stuff to shoot! Thanks for the tip!

Chad Coppess said...

Glad it was useful. Thanks for reading!

Arlin Talley said...

We used to live in Owanka - 1954-1960. Can we purchase the photos to make larger prints?
Arlin Talley

Chad Coppess said...

Arlin, email me at

Steve Triplett said...

Is that land private property? I would love to get closer to take shots, but last time I was there I stayed on the roads. This is one of those photos I got.


Chad Coppess said...

Great shot Steve. I'm sure it is not public property, which means it is owned by someone. Unfortunately I don't have a clue who that might be.