Elmer Long's Bottle Tree Ranch – Oro Grande, California - Atlas Obscura

What does one do when left with thousands of colored glass bottles? Begin a massive recycling effort, or perhaps an obscure outdoor art gallery? Elmer Long decided on both after becoming the sole beneficiary of a massive bottle collection.

As a child, Long scoured the desert with his father, collecting everything and anything. While a younger Long took notes, his father amassed an incredible collection of glass bottles. When he passed away, Long inherited his work, as well as a loss at what to do with the strange collection. In 2000, an idea struck the famously bearded Elmer Long, and he created his first bottle tree.

Shaped like hat racks, with glass bottles of all colors and shapes angled off of them, the bottle tree ranch in California has now grown to some 200 installations. Besides being a beautiful gallery, the hollow bottles also whirr a sweet tune when the wind passes through them. For travelers making their way across America, this collection and its curator are two treasures without equal.

Long passed away in June 2019 at the age of 72. The fate of the Bottle Tree Ranch is currently uncertain.

Update as of February 2022: Bottle Tree Ranch remains open. Free to enter, the ranch does have a “Wishing Well” inside for visitors to leave donations to help keep maintain the unique “forest.”

Know Before You Go

Parking is available along the side of the road, as well as a dirt patch to the right of the gate. Please be respectful, take only photos and memories.

In partnership with KAYAK

Plan Your Trip

From Around the Web