Bottle Tree Ranch, Helendale

When Elmer Long was a young boy he used to accompany his father on a search of the wastelands and abandoned settlements in the Mojave desert, looking for objects of historical interest and gathering up anything that may be put to further use, including a large collection of colored glass bottles.

Many years later, after inheriting his father’s collection, artist Elmer Long decided to create “bottle trees” by welding “branches” onto an iron rod, and it wasn't long before he had a small forest! He's built every single tree by hand and collected each of the bottles used.

Bottle Tree Ranch in Helendale, California, comprises of an eclectic mix of “bottle trees”, old road signs, retro toys, broken rifles and other assorted odds ’n’ ends all coming together to produce a very quirky experience. A visit to Bottle Tree Ranch is about more than just the beautiful art installations and the melodic sounds created by the wind blowing through the bottles, because if you're really lucky you'll get to meet Elmer himself - a charming man who is often found talking to visitors about his creation.

The site is open from dawn until dusk, and donations are welcomed but not essential for entry (although highly recommended). Feel free stretch your legs and take photos of the over 200 "trees" - t's very hard to take a poor photograph in such an inspiring location!


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What started as a record of my personal Route 66 experience has grown into an active community of Route 66 veterans and newcomers alike. This website relies entirely on the experiences of its users so please feel free to recommend your own personal favourites.

Every Route 66 road trip is unique, and this site is in no way intended to be a definitive guide to the old road. However, I sincerely hope it offers a starting point to anyone planning their own Route 66 vacation.

Steve Bellamy

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