Orla Texas (Mexico Border Ghost Town)

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Orla, Texas, is a ghost town near the New Mexico border on US Highway 285. People driving through often wonder about this strange place. What’s the story behind Orla, Texas? What caused a once-bustling town to be reduced to just a few dilapidated buildings?

Orla, Texas, was initially intended as a section house for the railroad. It eventually became a central oil supply hub during the 1960s. It’s mostly known for its old, shuttered buildings today. There are still a few businesses and plenty of traffic in the area, but almost nobody lives in Orla.

Orla Texas - Texas View
Orla, Texas – Image by Nicolas Henderson

About Orla Texas

Orla was founded in 1890 as a section house for the railroad between Carlsbad and Pecos. At its peak in the 1960s, the town housed approximately 250 people.

Facts About Orla Texas

  • Location: 61km North of Pecos on US Highway 285
  • County: Reeves County
  • Nearby Towns: Pecos, Texas; Kermit, Texas; Carlsbad, New Mexico
  • Zip Code: 79770
  • Population: 2 in the town, approximately 57 in the region
  • Crime Rate: An average of 1 crime per year
  • Average Temperature (June): 98oF
  • Average Temperature (January): 62oF

What’s Orla Texas Known For?

Orla used to be a bustling town catering to the railroad and oil supply lines. These days, it’s little more than a ghost town with plenty of traffic passing between Carlsbad and Pecos.

  • Orla is known for its abandoned, dilapidated buildings and typical “ghost town” feel if you ignore the busy highway.
  • The area is also known for many fatal accidents on the highway passing through Orla.

The History Of Orla Texas

The Pecos Valley Railroad founded the town of Orla (which means “border” in Spanish) to house railroad workers and store supplies.

  • 1890: The town of Orla is founded at the crossroads of US Highway 285 and Farm Road 652.
  • 1906: The post office at Orla opens. Joshua D. McAdams is appointed as its first postmaster.
  • 1933: The population of Orla is declared as ten people, with only one business (a general dealer) and the post office in town.
  • 1943: The official number of businesses in Orla increased to two, but the population was still 10.
  • The 1950s: Population increases to 60, with three businesses.
  • The 1960s: Orla becomes a rural oil supplier due to the nearby oil fields. Population increases to an all-time high of 250 with twelve businesses.
  • The 1990s: People had begun to move out of Orla, but some businesses remained to supply equipment to the nearby oil fields.
  • From 2000 to the present day: Businesses move to larger towns in the area, abandoning Orla more and more.
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Today, Orla is primarily a group of shuttered buildings trying to resist the desert sand. Apart from the small number of people still residing there and the people passing through on their way elsewhere, the town has all but died.

Where Is Orla Texas?

Orla, Texas, is located on the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe lines in northwestern Reeves County. You can find it five miles southeast of Red Bluff.

The town of Orla is about 38.5 miles from Pecos, Texas, on US Highway 285. There isn’t much going on in Orla anymore, so if you want something to do in the area, you should look at other towns and sites around it.

Town Or Place Of InterestDistance From Orla
Aries Orla Lodge5.1 miles
Pecos, Texas38.5 miles
Carlsbad, New Mexico47.5 miles
Kermit, Texas58.8 miles
El Paso, Texas174 miles
Distance To Orla

FAQs About Orla Texas

Does It Rain In Orla Texas?

Orla is located in a semi-desert area, so it doesn’t have much rainfall. But it does rain there, especially during the summer, when it peaks at approximately 2.5 inches per annum in June. The average annual rainfall in Orla is 12.57 inches.

What Happens In Orla Texas These Days?

The town itself is all but abandoned. However, various businesses have established regional offices around Orla because it is still a good halfway point between Pecos and Carlsbad. The Orla crossroads are busy with traffic as it’s a central part of the Delaware Basin and the US 285 Corridor. With this in mind, it can get quite busy during the day.

Video showing an aerial view of traffic and a car accident in Orla, Texas – youtube.com


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Christian Linden Texas View Headshot 3 - Texas View
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Christian Linden is a seasoned writer and contributor at Texas View, specializing in topics that resonate with the Texan community. With over a decade of experience in journalism, Christian brings a wealth of knowledge in local politics, culture, and lifestyle. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Texas. When he's not writing, Christian enjoys spending weekends traveling across Texas with his family, exploring everything from bustling cities to serene landscapes.

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