Adventures in the International Car Forest

The International Car Forest of the Last Church is three hours’ drive from Las Vegas.
Photo: Mikayla Whitmore

Goldfield, Nevada, is located almost halfway between Las Vegas and Reno; it’s three hours north of the former, four hours south of the latter. Once a gold-mining boomtown with a population of nearly 20,000, it has been humbled by time. Today, Goldfield is home to fewer than 300 people and a few dozen cars, trucks and buses planted in the desert floor like trees. As seen in a recent fashion video by Stella McCartney, this is the International Car Forest of the Last Church.

The Forest is a 2011 collaboration between Reno-based Chad Sorg and Goldfield resident Mark Rippie. The two men couldn’t be more temperamentally distinct; Sorg, a fine artist, saw the visual possibilities of the lone car he saw planted in the ground while driving through Goldfield one day, while Rippie, a gun-loving individualist, simply wanted a Guinness World Record recognition for the largest number of dirt-planted cars. Sorg and Rippie’s collaboration ended in a fight, but their forest still stands, a twisted but beautiful wilderness separating the surviving boomtowns of the north and south.

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