Matador Original Series
14 Reasons Nevada Kicks Ass (That Have Nothing To Do With Las Vegas)
1. the old west.
In Nevada, the Old West is alive! Sort of. And yes, I am thoroughly guilty of romanticizing bygone eras, but when was the last time you went to a ghost town? Like a real ghost town? When was the last time you even heard the words “ghost town?” Hell, there are whole websites (like ghosttowns.com ) that chronicle all the ghost towns of Nevada.
But that has naught to do with what I mean when I say the Old West is alive. The further out from Vegas you get, and the closer to the tiny towns that sprinkle the desert you get, the more boots, cowboy hats, and (thanks to open carry) handguns you see. Sure, you’re not going to get into a tiff over jumping a claim, but it’s hard not to feel like you’re walking in the footsteps of the pioneers. I always found something special about those old, leathery, salty folks who live on the outskirts of the city.
In August and again in December of 2013, the internet’s many conspiracy theorists rejoiced, for these were the first times in history that the CIA and President officially acknowledged the existence of Area 51. Peers were somehow shocked by my lack of enthusiasm — any resident of NV could have told you it was a real place, and a good chunk of the touristy stuff you can do outside Vegas hinges on this fact.
Yes, it’s a real place, yes there are armed guards allowed to shoot you if you trespass. Yes, the “Extraterrestrial Highway,” which runs along the eastern side of the site, is a hotbed for UFO sightings. Apparently the truth is out there, in the Nevada desert.
3. Lax laws
Of course, I couldn’t write this section without nodding to the fact that prostitution is indeed legal in the state for towns under 400,000 people (which, save Vegas, is most of them). It’s a pretty massive industry, which my superficial research shows is having a harder time in recent years.
Personally, I’m far more interested in the sprinkling of Native American reservations throughout the state, and their ability to sell the most incredible fireworks you’ve ever seen. Ideological and ethical debate aside, there was a certain magic to being a child reading Harry Potter days before encountering my first roman candle. I remember stopping at Moapa River reservation on our way to a family camping trip. Inside the main building, I was a kid in a candy store. Except all of the candy explodes and could easily take off a limb. I was spoiled; these were the best fireworks you could find: mortars, bottle rockets, M80s, the real deal. The really ILLEGAL (everywhere else) deal.
And sure, you were legally allowed to discharge them on the premises, and many did, but where’s the fun in that? No, we’d stock up, drive far out to where the cops would take at least a few minutes to get to us, and light the sky on fire for an evening.
4. Fly Geyser
One of the sickest natural occurrences I’m aware of, and very high on my list to visit, is this accidentally manmade geyser in Washoe County. You’ve seen pictures of it — it looks like something out of Super Mario World. Sadly, the geyser is located on private property and is therefore closed to the public. Less sad are the wealth of personal accounts and tutorials available online for seeing it anyways.
5. Burning Man
Somehow, only Nevada could provide the right atmosphere for Burning Man, which is why the Nevada desert has been the only venue for the event since the ’80s. The weeklong festival, held at the end of August, draws tens of thousands of people each year to celebrate art and radical expression in a makeshift city that disappears without a trace by September. For more, check out Matador’s full suite of Burning Man content.
6. Alien terrain
Those movies of yesteryear, where a team of space explorers land on Martian terrain and hop over red and tan swirly boulders around cliffs and up canyons, were most likely filmed in Nevada. In fact, coupled with the heat, you’d swear you were on a planet closer to the sun, where life is scarce and getting jumped by a Tusken Raider is a semi-legitimate concern. Plus, have you ever seen a rattlesnake? That’s some Dune -quality shit.
7. Nellis Dunes
If you’ve never experienced off-roading on sand dunes, you should probably get on it. Somehow I convinced myself that they were safe…that flipping my ATV would be like landing in a pillow (it wasn’t). But there’s a certain kind of shift in thought, from the utter fear of sliding (that driving on the pavement imbues in you) to its pursuit, which makes zooming around and weaving in the sand about as much fun as you can have with your pants on.
Realizing that America had its own brand of hieroglyphics was a profound and patriotic wakeup call for a younger me. And the best part? In Nevada, they’re everywhere. This early cave- and rock-carving graffiti from America’s ancient tribes (some dating back 15,000 years) tells all kinds of stories, though we can still only decipher them as far as their literal pictorial representations.
9. Lake Mead / Hoover Dam
The Hoover Dam is worth the trip, at least once. You go to say you’ve seen it, but you stay because a day at Lake Mead, where the red rocks meet the blue water, makes for a consistently awesome time. Rent a boat for a day and you’ll find all kinds of caves and coves, be able to float your way across state lines, and see the dam from a vantage point that underscores its true size.
10. Carson City
The state capital is where I imagine all the state’s history hiding (that, and of course George Ferris, inventor of the Ferris wheel). It’s right there by Lake Tahoe, which is the woodsier version of Lake Mead.
Oh, and did I mention it’s named after Kit Carson…mountain-man Kit Carson? Carson City exists not only to provide evidence that there were, in fact, mountain men, but that one of them could rise above the others, distinguish himself, and have a state’s capital named after him. Badass.
They may never love me like I love them, but damn I love lizards, and they’re everywhere in Nevada. Head out for a camping trip? Lizards. Walk through a drainage ditch? Lizards. Move a big-ass rock in your backyard? Fucking lizards, lizards everywhere. Not only are they fun to catch, they’re fun to observe. Watch them bask in the sun with sleepy eyes slowly recharging their hindlegs, watch them do their bizarre pushups and then dart across canyon floors, hopping and springing in and out of holes in the ground or rocks.
12. Great Basin National Park
As you probably know by now, if it’s a national park, it’s going to be incredible. Great Basin National Park is like that quintessential Bob Ross painting. There’s some mountains, some water, some snow, and happy little trees. It’s also home to over 320 species of wildlife, including 238 species of birds alone. All that, and the oldest living trees on Earth.
13. Lehman Caves
Yes, Lehman Caves are located in Great Basin National Park, but they’re too cool not to have their own section. These miles of marble caverns, consisting of a variety of geological formations, were discovered by Absalom Lehman in 1885 and are home to over 300 rare shield formations. The caves also served as a burial site for Native Americans for generations before Lehman arrived.
Ever in flux, several of the rooms have been closed to the public due to the rocks’ moving and shifting, and, y’know, the whole cave system is supporting a mountain.
14. Valley of Fire
First and foremost, it’s called the Valley of Fire . It looks like Mars, and the Grand Canyon, and funnily enough, like my last mushroom trip. It’s beautiful and exactly the “reds” I talk about when I talk about missing Nevada. There are petroglyphs, hiking trails, wildlife, and the ever-present sense of nature’s internal struggle, wearing away the rock and creating the most interesting and bizarre formations you can conceive of. Plus you get to tell everyone you spent your weekend in the “Valley of Fire.” What’s not to love?
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26 Must-See Nevada Ghost Towns & How to Find ‘Em
From abandoned boomtowns-gone-bust to old relic-strewn mining camps to “living ghost towns” with charming old-school B&Bs and real-deal, still-servin’ saloons, Nevada’s 600-odd ghost towns ( that’s more than actual populated ones )—make Nevada an unbeatable destination for those looking to literally walk through history.
Find out where to go, what to make sure you see, when to venture out, and how to get there.
Paradise Valley Nelson Blair Austin Fish Lake Valley Fort Churchill Aurora Belmont
Tybo Unionville Candelaria Berlin Gold Mountain Midas Delamar Sand Springs Gold Point Ione
Pioche Jarbidge Goodsprings Manhattan Goldfield Metropolis Rhyolite Nivloc
1. Ghostly street scenes in Paradise Valley
1 hour north of winnemucca.
With mountains on three sides, ensconcing multiple rivers and creeks that nourish verdant farms and ranch lands, Paradise Valley is aptly named. It’s also a classic example of what Nevadans call a “living ghost town,” as around 100 people call the surrounding area home—just not in any of “downtown’s” buildings… except the saloon.
Although it truly looks and feels like a movie set, this building pictured above was once the Micca House—a historic home built in 1885 that went on to be a department store, post office, and government office. At one point, a horse broke into the building and got stuck for multiple days; its happy and healthy condition when it was rescued is attributed to the care it received from a long-gone former employee, who was said to still reside there in spectral form.
But seriously, hit up the Paradise Valley Saloon & Bar G . If you like (or haven’t yet experienced) Basque chorizo burgers washed down with ice-cold domestic beers, this is your jam.
Are we talkin’ northern or southern Nevada? NORTHERN Distance from Reno: 205 MILES or about 3.5 HOURS Roads: PAVED ENTIRELY, 2WD ALL DAY Best time of year to swing through: ANY TIME, THOUGH YOU MAY RUN INTO SNOW IN WINTER MONTHS Closest LIVING town to snag amenities: WINNEMUCCA
2. Techatticup’s Modern Day Prop City
45 mins south of boulder city.
During the mid-1880s, the Techatticup gold mine in Eldorado Canyon was movin’ and shakin’ in biggest of ways. In addition to pumping out actual millions of dollars in gold, silver, and copper—in values that made it the richest and most famous gold mine in southern Nevada—this mining camp was known for lawlessness of the kind Hollywood couldn’t even come close to depicting on-screen.
The town itself—now known as Nelson Ghost Town—was founded by deserters of the Civil War, who assumed this isolated location would be the last place military would come searching for them. In true boomtown fashion, the mine dried up, and a flash flood wiped the area out. Some of the buildings remain, in ways that have attracted the eyes of countless cinematographers. Today, you can tour the Techatticup Mine , as well as what has grown into a leftover grounds of movie, TV, and magazine shoots—with props like the plane crash above, a permanent souvenir from the cult film 3,000 Miles to Graceland.
Are we talkin’ northern or southern Nevada? SOUTHERN Distance from Vegas: 45 MILES, OR 50 MINUTES Roads: PAVED ENTIRELY, 2WD ALL DAY Best time of year to swing through: SPRING OR FALL, SUMMER MAY BE A BIT TOASTY Closest LIVING town to snag amenities: BOULDER CITY
3. A super saucy triple window effect in Blair
1 hour south of tonopah.
Blair got its shot at being a boomtown, attracting gold-hungry prospectors from near and far, but hers was a bit more short-lived. Mining took serious root in nearby Tonopah and spread throughout the region as a result… to places like Blair and Silver Peak. A giant 100-stamp mill was built in 1907, which just so happened to be the largest of its kind in the whole state. By the year 1920 rolled around, the mine had dried up and Blair’s 700 residents moved on to bigger and better things. Today, a few eroded buildings still stand, like the stamp mill pictured, with a Nevada view that’s dang near impossible to rival.
Are we talkin’ northern or southern Nevada? SOUTHERN Distance from Reno: 223 MILES, OR 3.75 HOURS Roads: PAVED EXCEPT THE LAST TINY STRETCH, 2WD ALL DAY Best time of year to swing through: SUMMER Closest LIVING town to snag amenities: TONOPAH
4. A desert castle sure to instigate a little travel stoke in Austin
Towering over the Reese River Valley at Austin’s western edge, Stokes Castle was modeled after a real Roman tower for well-heeled railroad magnate, Anson Phelps Stokes, in the late 1890s.
Today it stands as a solid monument to the town’s mining-era grandeur. More than 10,000 people were living in Austin , chasing a serious silver vein, but by the time this tower was completed, the mine had dried up and everyone was off to the next place. He and his family lived in his castle for less than a year, and it has been unoccupied since.
Are we talkin’ northern or southern Nevada? CENTRAL Distance from Reno: 173 MILES, OR 3 HOURS DOOR TO DOOR Roads : PAVED EXCEPT THE LAST TINY STRETCH, 2WD ALL DAY Best time of year to swing through: SUMMER Closest LIVING town to snag amenities: AUSTIN , BUT RELY ON REGULAR BUSINESS HOURS ONLY
5. Fish Lake Valley’s fully intact 1881 Post Office Building
This California-Nevada-straddling White Mountains boast Boundary Peak —Nevada’s highest summit at 13,146 feet. Just below it, on the Nevada side, is the quiet community of Dyer and nearby Fish Lake Valley. There are amenities, like a gas station, store, restaurant, and a couple bars, plus, a pretty sweet little B&B .
When the community realized that original settlement— Fish Lake Valley —was falling victim to time and weather, they scrambled to save many of the original buildings and relocated all of them to one handy spot for you to check out. That place is the Fish Lake Valley Heritage Center . Like a beautifully curated, mini ghost town, everything here is nothing short of sensational, particularly the town’s original switchboard, the fueling station itself, and the post office you see pictured above.
Are we talkin’ northern or southern Nevada? SOUTHERN Distance from Vegas: 229 MILES, OR 3.5 HOURS Roads: 2WD ALL DAY Best time of year to swing through: SPRING, SUMMER OR FALL Closest LIVING town to snag amenities : DYER
6. An old army fort’s picture-perfect adobe brick ruins
45 mins south of fallon.
By the time Nevada State Parks stepped in to manage this property, the ruins were in a perfect state of what ghost town aficionados call “a state of arrested decay.” Not overly eroded to the point of being unable to appreciate them… but not flawlessly preserved either. The whole feeling of this old military fort exudes a Wild West vibe, allowing the rough-and-tumble qualities of Nevada’s past come to life before you.
The long and short of it is this: Fort Churchill was built to “protect” early settlers, explorers, and Pony Express riders from “hostile” American Indians. As with most places in Nevada, that proved virtually unnecessary, and the fort was totally abandoned in 1869—a mere eight years after it was built. Supposedly, Fort Churchill is an active paranormal hot spot, but the most out-of-this-world vision we can always guarantee is summertime visages of the Milky Way.
Are we talkin’ northern or southern Nevada? CENTRAL Distance from Reno: 57 MILES, OR 1 HOUR Roads: PAVED ENTIRELY, 2WD ALL DAY Best time of year to swing through: LATE SUMMER OR FALL Closest LIVING town to snag amenities: FALLON
7. Aurora’s well-heeled historic cemetery and intact 1860s furnace
1 hour southwest of hawthorne.
The Nevada ghost town of Aurora isn’t much today, but it certainly wasn’t always that way. Ever heard of California’s totally impressive Bodie Ghost Town? Aurora was basically its “sister ghost town”—just a dozen or so miles across the border. If you’ve ever spent any time in Bodie, you’ll know that it looks like its occupants picked up and moved on only days before. Everything is in complete pristine condition beyond your wildest imagination—the day’s lesson plan written on the chalkboard, beds made, pantries stocked, you name it.
Aurora was just like that, until the 1950s when someone illegally dozed it to steal the locally hewn bricks the buildings were made of. Luckily, it’s still home to one of the coolest historical cemeteries in the state—a permanent home to senators and famed prospectors of the time—as well as one of the most intriguing furnace and stack structures in the entire state. A slew of noteworthy prospectors were drawn to Aurora, including Mark Twain , but that’s another tale, and not just of the tall variety.
Are we talkin’ northern or southern Nevada? CENTRAL Distance from Reno: 160 MILES, OR 2.75 HOURS Roads: 30ISH MILES OF DIRT ROAD DRIVIN’. 2WD IN SUMMER OR FALL, 4WD IN WINTER MONTHS Best time of year to swing through: SUMMER OR FALL Closest LIVING town to snag amenities: HAWTHORNE
8. A legendary courthouse, structures galore, and one helluva Sagebrush Saloon in Belmont
1 hour northeast of tonopah.
Of all the ghost towns clinging to Nevada’s 300+ mountain ranges, Belmont is one of our favorites. As with many bygone boomtowns, Belmont was at one point a county seat—in this case, of Nye County—during its mining heyday. Thanks to plentiful silver in the surrounding hills, Belmont once boasted a population of 15,000 residents. Hence a whole lot of amazing ruins, including a bank, miner’s cabins, the storied Belmont Courthouse , mine shafts, 100-foot-tall brick chimneys, and the picture-perfect combination stamp mill ruins shown above. The best part? Belmont is positioned in such a way that standing in the very threshold of the stamp mill’s ruins affords 60-mile vantage points of the valley below.
Travel Nevada Pro Tip
Are we talkin’ northern or southern Nevada? CENTRAL Distance from Reno: 271 MILES, OR 5 HOURS Roads: SERIOUS DIRT ROAD DRIVING. 2WD IN SUMMER OR FALL, 4WD IN WINTER MONTHS. BE SURE YOU’VE GOT GOOD TREAD ON THAT TIRE… Best time of year to swing through: SUMMER OR FALL AFTER SNOW HAS MELTED Closest LIVING town to snag amenities: TONOPAH , BUT RELY ON REGULAR BUSINESS HOURS ONLY
9. Intact head frames and a hoise house in Tybo
Tybo has one of the best-preserved head frames in the state. The mine shaft went into the earth, and the “head frame” towered above it, hoisting ore (and people) out of the earth. From there, the miners transported the big, raw chunks of rock to stamp mills in order to break them down and extract the precious minerals they sought.
Luckily, Tybo’s boasts a solid structure and many remaining features, including some you don’t always still get to see, like the original ladder, the winch wheel crank mechanism pictured here, and even the entire hoist house itself—the control room that helped control and guide the head frame’s power.
Are we talkin’ northern or southern Nevada? CENTRAL Distance from Reno: 305 MILES, OR 5 HOURS Roads: PAVED EXCEPT LAST TINY STRETCH, 2WD ALL DAY Best time of year to swing through: SUMMER Closest LIVING town to snag amenities: TONOPAH
10. Mark Twain’s Unionville cabin
1.5 hours northeast of lovelock.
In 1861, a young Missourian named Samuel Langhorne Clemens tagged along with his older brother to Nevada Territory. It was here that Clemens would discover his distaste of office work, become “allergic” to shovels and gold mining, adopt the pen name “ Mark Twain ,” and train his ears on the colorful language, fanciful yarns, and bombastic characters that would later inform a life of writing—one that would shape American literature and humor forever.
Twain visited and wrote about many places throughout the Silver State, but it is here in Unionville where he first learned the hard way, as he observes in Roughing It , that “all that glitters is not gold.” Fortunately for lovers of history and Twain’s literature alike, it is also here in Unionville that the cabin where that episode unfolds still stands. You’d enjoy sleeping in it about as much as he did; but luckily, just down the dirt road, you’ll find the charming Old Pioneer Garden , where you can add a lovely, idyllic overnight stay to your pilgrimage.
Are we talkin’ northern or southern Nevada? NORTHERN Distance from Reno: 155 MILES, OR 2.5 HOURS Roads: PAVED UNTIL LAST TINY STRETCH, 2WD ALL DAY Best time of year to swing through: SUMMER OR FALL Closest LIVING town to snag amenities: LOVELOCK
11. Candelaria’s very picturesque original mercantile building
45 mins south of hawthorne.
If you’re looking for a great place to stretch your legs and take in some history on the road between Reno and Vegas , ease off the gas and point those tires towards Candelaria. Silver was noticed here by Spaniards in the 1860s, but it wasn’t until the 1880s that its wild potential was discovered. Despite its lucrative prospects, the mining camp was incredibly far from any kind of water. Many Candelarians also suffered from “miner’s consumption”—AKA too much dust in the lungs. Then, on top of it all, the far-from-water mine “dried up” in an even more damning way. And that was that.
Although Candelaria is just about ten minutes off of modern-day US-95 , its relatively off-the-beaten-path location helped it remain mostly undisturbed for decades. By the 1980s, a mining company swooped in to test out the old mine tailings here, which, thanks modern-day sophisticated mining techniques, turned out to still be profitable. The mine’s tight security led to even further preservation of the area. Today, not much mining is still taking place, which means you can roll right up to this sweet little mercantile building in its splendid state of decay. Keep an eye out for the original metal storm windows; you don’t see many of those anymore.
Are we talkin’ northern or southern Nevada? SOUTHERN Distance from Reno: 190 MILES, OR 3.5 HOURS Roads: PAVED EXCEPT THE LAST TINY STRETCH, 2WD ALL DAY Best time of year to swing through: ANY TIME, THOUGH YOU MAY RUN INTO SNOW IN WINTER MONTHS Closest LIVING town to snag amenities: HAWTHORNE OR TONOPAH DEPENDING ON DIRECTION
12. 60-Mile views from Berlin’s machine shop
1.5 hours from fallon.
The combination of crowdless highways and solid dirt road ramblin’ it takes to get to Berlin—part of Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park —is an iconic Nevada haul that delivers serious bang for your buck. Perched on a high mountainside overlooking a sweeping valley below, Berlin’s buildings remain some of the most plentiful and best-preserved in the entire state—thanks to Nevada’s climate and the painstaking protective efforts of Nevada State Parks staff. There are buildings, mining structures, and relics galore, as well as one of the most immersive and authentic mine tunnel experiences, at the Diana Mine. Highlights include a camera-hogging Model T, genuine Westinghouse winch, homes filled with belongings of the original 1890s owners, and one of the best surviving examples of a 30-stamp mill in the West. As you make your self-guided walking tour around the townsite, wander into the machine shop and gaze out for that incredible 60-mile vista.
And then there’s the paleontological bonus: despite hundreds of people helping pull nearly a million dollars worth of gold out of the ground, what they didn’t dig up was the most abundant concentration and largest-known ever discovered fossils of ichthyosaurs —massive Paleozoic swimming dinosaur-esque marine reptiles. Yep, at 6,700 feet of elevation, thanks to the fact that these mountainsides were once the banks of ancient seas. You can catch a glimpse of the dig site through the windows of the Fossil House, pose next to a massive to-scale mural, and camp, before you say auf wiedersehen to Berlin.
Are we talkin’ northern or southern Nevada? CENTRAL Distance from Reno: 158 MILES, OR 2.75 HOURS Roads : PAVED ENTIRELY, 2WD ALL DAY Best time of year to swing through: SPRING, SUMMER OR FALL Closest LIVING town to snag amenities: FALLON, OR AUSTIN . DEPEND ON REGULAR BUSINESS HOURS ONLY
13. Gold Mountain’s magnificent masonry
1 hour south of goldfield.
Turns out, prospectors could really build stuff. Imagine traveling 2,000 miles across the nation through all manner of unforgiving landscapes, showing up at a mining camp, knocking out 15 hours of manual labor… then building a house out of rocks—a good one, too. Because that’s what they did out here. As well as stores, social halls, saloons, you name it—and with whatever materials they could find.
When you spot an old miner’s cabin that still stands, like the ones here do, pay attention to the fireplaces; these things are so airtight that you’ll expect to see a modern day construction crew around the next turn, but most are over 150 years old. What you’ll rarely notice is a roof; most were made of what scarce lumber there was around (especially after the railroad came through these regions), which was the first thing miners would take with them when a mine went bust and they set off for the next big boomtown. However, even roofless, many of these buildings have withstood the test of time and harsh Nevada elements all these years.
Are we talkin’ northern or southern Nevada? SOUTHERN Distance from Vegas: 190 MILES, OR 3 HOURS Roads: PAVED EXCEPT THE LAST 25 MILES OR SO, 2WD ALL DAY Best time of year to swing through: SUMMER OR FALL Closest LIVING town to snag amenities: TONOPAH
14. A 100+ year old Sarsaparilla sign, proclaiming its blood purifying prowess in Midas
1 hour east of winnemucca.
If you’re wondering how many Nevada ghost towns have the word “gold” in their name, the answer is… well, a lot. But not this one, thanks to a—shall we say—more linguistically inclined postmaster. This northern Nevada locale boomed in the early 1900s and, although the resident ore was in fact gold, and, although the townsfolk did in fact want to call it Gold-something, the postmaster declared that enough was enough. So in order to stand out from all the Gold-everythings—and, likely, to sprinkle in a little inspiration—they named the town Midas, after the famous king in Greek mythology whose touch turned everything to gold.
The miners who had that Midas touch inevitably took their ore to be tested for purity at the local assay office, which still stands in all its glory, along with the Benneson’s Drug Store, where one of our favorite old signs still hangs, advertising the apparent miracle drink that was sarsaparilla. If you think we struggle with truth in advertising today, read that thing. You be the judge. Then head into the Midas Saloon for a cold brew and a delicious, honest meal.
A re we talkin’ northern or southern Nevada? NORTHERN Distance from Reno: 227 MILES, OR 3.75 HOURS Roads: 2WD ALL DAY Best time of year to swing through: SUMMER OR FALL, DO NOT ATTEMPT DURING WINTER MONTHS Closest LIVING town to snag amenities: WINNEMUCCA
15. The entire town of Delamar, because there are too many spectacular finds to choose just one
45 mins from caliente.
We’re generally in the business of pointing out “must-sees,” but the entire ghost town of Delamar is just so mesmerizing that it’s an impossible task to highlight just one building or thing. Remarkably, the still-standing structures are almost too many to count—dozens of buildings, milling remains, two graveyards, miner’s cabins, a brick archway, and several mine shafts can be found here—and are all built out of a kaleidoscopic range of colored stone.
Luckily, eyes are the the only way to “take in” Delamar today. The gold discovered here was a bit more complicated than that of other mines, due to the quartzite embedded in it, which, when crushed up and processed, created fine dust that snuck into miners’ lungs, often with lethal consequences. In fact, before long, Delamar earned itself a nickname: the “widow maker” camp, as many of its prospectors contracted silicosis and “bit the dust.” If you’re into the paranormal thing (and want to meet some permanent residents), we’d recommend combining your otherworldly interests with some out-of-this-world fun, by cruising down the nearby, legendary ET Highway .
Are we talkin’ northern or southern Nevada? SOUTHERN Distance from Las Vegas: 145 MILES, OR 2.5 HOURS Roads: 4WD ONLY—PLAN TO NAVIGATE ROUGH, ONE LANE ROADS Best time of year to swing through: SPRING OR FALL Closest LIVING town to snag amenities: CALIENTE
16. A Pony Express Station at the base of a 6-Story Mountain Of Sand
20 mins from fallon.
Westernophiles know that anything Pony Express packs some serious horsepower. Despite the fact that this ambitious operation—of young, strapping, orphaned bachelors racing mail across the western United States on mustang-back—lasted less than two years (thanks to implementation of the telegraph), it sure left an impression. Out of 157 stations from California to Missouri, Nevada was home to 30 Pony Express Stations, like the one pictured above. These stations, positioned between five and 20 miles apart, were places where weary riders could take a breather and exchange their ran-out horses for a more re-energized steed.
This particular one, located at Sand Springs, was completely hidden for over 100 years… buried in sand, like that of nearby off-road mecca Sand Mountain Recreation Area . The remaining foundation was literally uncovered by a team of archaeologists in 1977 and is now a pretty nifty spot to literally step into this short but fascinating chapter in American history.
Are we talkin’ northern or southern Nevada? CENTRAL Distance from Reno: 90 MILES, OR 1.5 HOURS Roads: PAVED ENTIRELY, 2WD ALL DAY Best time of year to swing through: SPRING OR FALL, SUMMER MAY BE A BIT TOASTY Closest LIVING town to snag amenities: FALLON
17. A Real-deal Old-school Wild West Saloon At Gold Point
30 mins south of goldfield.
After gold and silver was discovered in Tonopah and Goldfield in the early 1900s, prospectors flooded in to try for their piece of the pie. While those two towns drew the largest influx, many other mining camps sprang up around the region, including Gold Point , where (somewhat ironically) a boom was sparked by Silver. However, while plenty of people never struck it rich in Nevada, the oh-so-Nevadan story of Gold Point features a man who did, in a much different way.
During the 1970s, Herb Robbins, not yet a Nevadan, came to the Silver State to explore ghost towns whenever he could. He eventually moved to Las Vegas, professionally installing wallpaper in all the big casinos, but not for long. One night, while playing slots, he hit the jackpot and immediately used his newfound fortune to BUY AN ENTIRE GHOST TOWN: this one. There, he started Gold Point Ghost Town Bed & Breakfast , with rooms converted from original miner’s cabins, a gallows-turned-matrimonial-pulpit, and delicious steak meals. The picturesque, relic-packed town spans multiple blocks, but its centerpiece, hands down, is the working saloon. When you go, check out that whiskey selection.
Are we talkin’ northern or southern Nevada? SOUTHERN Distance from Vegas: 184 MILES, OR 2.75 HOURS Roads: PAVED EXCEPT THE LAST FEW MILES, 2WD ALL DAY Best time of year to swing through: SUMMER OR FALL Closest LIVING town to snag amenities: TONOPAH
18. The welcome sign declaring Ione’s staunch refusal to “Die”
1.5 hours southeast of fallon.
By now, we would be willing to bet you’re starting to figure out that each of these towns earned their own importance by generating millions and millions of dollars in gold and silver profit…scoring their own opp as county seat. Ione was no different; this community’s shot at county seat went down in 1863, and experienced not only one but TWO major booms. Belmont would eventually steal Ione’s thunder, luring its occupants over the hill… but Ione refused to die then, and it still hasn’t totally given up. A few ride-or-die residents pledged their allegiance to Ione over any other newer, more profitable boomtown, even after the post office closed for good… a sure kiss of death for any community. Today, a few hardy residents have managed to hang on, and made a pretty sweet sign to commemorate their audacious pride. Ione or bust, baby .
Are we talkin’ northern or southern Nevada? CENTRAL Distance from Reno: 162 MILES, OR 2.75 HOURS Roads: PAVED UP UNTIL THE LAST 20 OR SO MILES, 2WD ALL DAY Best time of year to swing through: ANY TIME, THOUGH YOU MAY RUN INTO SNOW IN WINTER MONTHS Closest LIVING town to snag amenities: FALLON
19. Murderer’s Row at Boot Hill Cemetery in Pioche
What’s the most rough-and-tumble Western town you can think of. Dodge City? Tombstone? Deadwood? We’re sure you see where this is going. Certainly, all of these boisterous spots exuded their own level of toughness. But a lesser-known little gunslinging Nevada town called Pioche swiftly beats out all the others by a country mile. A giant silver boom drew people to this southeastern Nevada spot, and a mind-numbing 72 of ’em were laid to rest before someone actually bit the big one from any natural causes. To put in perspective, Tombstone only had a couple murders each year, while Pioche found itself with dozens on its hands, not to mention plenty of literal shootouts in the street, on the regular.
Almost all of them are now permanent residents of Boot Hill Cemetery , which is photogenically positioned under the only lasting aerial tramway in the state. But why the name? Murderers were buried so quickly that the tips of their boots allegedly stuck out of the ground. Pay attention to the grave inscriptions; you’ll find stuff like “died in dispute over a dog” and “feared by some, detested by others… shot in the back five times from AMBUSH.”
Are we talkin’ northern or southern Nevada? SOUTHERN Distance from Vegas: 176 MILES, OR 2.75 HOURS Roads: PAVED ENTIRELY, 2WD ALL DAY Best time of year to swing through: ANY SEASON IS PRIMETIME Closest LIVING town to snag amenities: PIOCHE
20. A 19th Century jail in at the last gold rush in the American West
Many places claim “firsts.” Well, the tiny, mega-remote “living ghost town” of Jarbidge claims two major “lasts.” Jarbidge prides itself on being the the site of the last legitimate gold rush in the American West, after the shiny stuff was discovered in this breathtakingly beautiful, modern-day wilderness area in 1909. Not entirely unrelatedly, it later hosted that last stagecoach robbery. The perp was eventually caught “red-handed” after his bloody handprint was discovered on the coach, which did mark a first: the use of fingerprinting technology to catch a criminal. As this would-be thief was far from the only nefarious individual to lurk about the canyon, the town had itself a jail—a pretty sturdy one, too. If only the rock-masoned walls of the storied Historic Jarbidge Jail could talk, you can bet they’d have some colorful tails to tell. Today you can walk right in off the main drag (and thankfully right back out) to its cold cell and check out its original prisoner cot, as well as thumb through old mining records.
Are we talkin’ northern or southern Nevada? NORTHERN Distance from Elko: 104 MILES, OR 3.25 HOURS Roads: 2WD ALL DAY Best time of year to swing through: SUMMER ONLY. DO NOT ATTEMPT IN WINTER, SPRING OR FALL… ROADS ARE ASSUREDLY CLOSED Closest LIVING town to snag amenities: ELKO
21. Impressively intact Miner’s Cabins in Goodsprings
45 mins south of las vegas.
Heading into southern Nevada from LA? Do yourself a favor and shake things up a bit by taking the slight detour into Goodsprings, less than 15 minutes off of I-15 (at the Jean exit), take the historic walking tour, and slurp back one of the best Bloody Marys in the Silver State. This community might be quiet now, but when its early 1900s boom was enough to rival Nelson , the not-too-far-away spot that put southern Nevada on the mining map. While plenty of other mining towns produced more in actual dollars, Goodsprings was known for the unusually wide variety of precious minerals hiding down below, including lead, sivler, copper, zinc, and good ol’ gold. Self-guided touring maps and killer “Ghost Burgers” and knock-your-socks-off libations can all be found at one of our favorite southern Sagebrush Saloons, The Goodsprings Pioneer Saloon , possibly the last stamped-tin bars of its kind in existence. (We recommend taking your tour before you settle in… we have a habit of not wanting to leave.) And don’t miss the Cottonwood Cabin.
Are we talkin’ northern or southern Nevada? SOUTHERN Distance from Vegas: 38.5 MILES OR 40 MINUTES Roads: PAVED ENTIRELY, 2WD ALL DAY Best time of year to swing through: SPRING OR FALL, SUMMER MAY BE A BIT TOASTY Closest LIVING town to snag amenities: JEAN
22. Manhattan’s still-standing stone bank and original vault
1 hour north of tonopah.
When a town was pulling insurmountable wealth out of the ground, people needed a secure place to store it. In short, mining meant banks. So as you make your way around Nevada’s many ghost towns, you’re bound to encounter some pretty cool ones, still standing because, oftentimes, they were the strongest structures built. One of the best cases in point: Manhattan . (Yep! Manhattan, Nevada .)
When things started to slow down in Belmont, located just over the pass, thousands of fortune-seekers beelined it here to get a piece of the hot new boom. For a decade it was one of Nevada’s largest gold districts, necessitating this tough stone building—the only stone building in town. The building itself is a sight to behold, but venture inside for a glimpse of the original 1906 Nye & Ormsby County Bank vault, still anchoring things down in back, with its safe still doing its job. Keeping things locked down was definitely a priority for Nevada Manhattanites—because they knew themselves. Rumor has it that neighboring Belmont is still miffed at Manhattan for sneaking over that one night in 1908 and stealing its church—by dragging it 18 miles over the mountains. (Luckily, the thieves haven’t gone back for Dirty Dick’s Belmont Saloon … yet.)
Are we talkin’ northern or southern Nevada? CENTRAL Distance from Reno: 254 MILES, OR 4 HOURS Roads: PAVED ENTIRELY, 2WD ALL DAY Best time of year to swing through: ANY TIME, THOUGH YOU MAY RUN INTO SNOW IN WINTER MONTHS Closest LIVING town to snag amenities: TONOPAH
23. Oddball old-meets-new in Goldfield
You may be familiar with the whole boom-then-bust-and/or-devastating-fire routine that so many ghost towns got so good at. Well, Goldfield , never to be outdone, cranked up the heat with TWO giant fires and a freak flash flood. However, partially owing to its position on the main route between Reno and Las Vegas, “The World’s Greatest Gold Camp” has soldiered on as one of the Silver State’s more oddball “living ghost town” communities. If it’s mining-era action you’re after, check out the Goldfield Consolidated Mine Company’s photogenic relics, like train engines, old cars, and tiny cabins; the Goldfield Historic High School (allegedly one of the most haunted places in the U.S.); the Esmerelda County Courthouse , still adorned with original Tiffany lamps; the imposing (and also haunted) Goldfield Hotel ; and the Historic Goldfield Cemetery , home to some morbidly intriguing epitaphs, and the camera-hogging Brown-Parker Auto Co. Garage, shown above.
Be sure to take the edge off at the Santa Fe Saloon , one of Nevada’s oldest continually operating elixir emporiums (and home to the “Meanest Bartender in Nevada”), and the nearby Mozart Tavern , which, in an earlier iteration staffed Virgil Earp as a bouncer. Oh, and if you’re looking to get a little weird, peruse Rocket Bob’s art cars on the main drag, and then swing by the International Car Forest of the Last Church on your way out of town, an installation of vehicles stacked and sticking out of the ground, ever-changing with the paint jobs visitors tend to give it. For tasty homemade grub, hit up the Dinky Diner .
Are we talkin’ northern or southern Nevada? SOUTHERN Distance from Vegas: 184 MILES, OR 2.75 HOURS Roads: PAVED ENTIRELY, 2WD ALL DAY B est time of year to swing through: ANY SEASON IS PRIMETIME Closest LIVING town to snag amenities: TONOPAH
24. The Iconic freestanding Metropolis arch
20 mins north of wells.
Historical markers tell of the “killer” jack rabbits and Mormon crickets that helped bring about the demise of this now-ironically named community . In reality, the ferocious bun-buns were really just the result of people killing off the entire coyote population, letting the critters procreate at rabbit-like speed and munch all the crops, predator-free; then, whatever agricultural remains they left on their plates, the crickets swarmed in and licked clean. Pair this with a shifty water rights scandal and a failed dam attempt and voila! We had ourselves a future ghost town. While the elements may not have been kind to these Metropolitans, they’ve left us with the bones of the old hotel, complete with one of the first elevator shafts in the region, and one of our favorite photogenic structures, the freestanding brick arch at the entrance to the local two-story school. We don’t recommend traipsing about the decrepit structure behind it, but if you peek in, you may spy the original chalkboard.
Are we talkin’ northern or southern Nevada? NORTHERN Distance from Elko: 60 MILES, OR 1.25 HOURS Roads: PAVED UNTIL LAST TINY STRETCH, 2WD ALL DAY Best time of year to swing through: SPRING, SUMMER OR FALL Closest LIVING town to snag amenities: WELLS
25. Nevada’s Most Photographed Ghost Town
10 mins outside beatty.
Once home to 5,000 fortune-seekers, Rhyolite was abandoned more than 100 years ago, but its iconic buildings still dazzle film crews, more photographers than any other Nevada ghost town, and anyone craving one of the state’s best vestigial glimpses of the boomtown era. Its location at the edge of Death Valley certainly helps, but once you get there—especially at golden hour, you instantly get why. With so many fascinating buildings, some fully intact—like the train station… and brothel—others in a nearly perfect state of cracked and crumbling, like the iconic Cook Bank building, shown above.
Another stubborn remnant is the famed Tom Kelly Bottle House, constructed of nearly 50,000 medicine and booze bottles (there wasn’t much wood, but with all those saloons, there were plenty of those)—the oldest and largest of its kind in the nation. And then there’s the ghosts . Not of any haunted buildings (that we know of), but of the Goldwell Open Air Museum , a sculpture-filled installation started by Belgian artists in the 1970s, which is now home to a ghostly depiction of the Last Supper, a LEGO-esque woman, a 24-foot-tall miner (and his trusty penguin), and other surrealist visions rising from the desert, not to mention a free visitor center.
Are we talkin’ northern or southern Nevada? SOUTHERN Distance from Vegas: 120 MILES, OR 2 HOURS Roads: PAVED ENTIRELY, 2WD ALL DAY Best time of year to swing through: ANY SEASON IS PRIMETIME Closest LIVING town to snag amenities: BEATTY
26. The last wooden train trestle standing
1 hour southwest of tonopah.
Nivloc, another boomtown in the 1900s heyday around Tonopah and Goldfield , emerged after a Shoshone Indian discovered gold here in 1907, swinging into full force by the 1930s. Like Midas, instead of establishing yet another Gold-Something, its founder, Colvin, named it after himself, except in reverse: N-I-V-L-O-C. While this ghost town’s mining exploits don’t rise high above the rest, what does is the last standing original wooden train trestle in Nevada. Two-ish stories tall, the thing was probably last traveled over around the 1940s—and that’s how it should be; do not climb or attempt to drive a steam train over that rickety old sucker. Instead, if you’re feeling rockhoundy, you can dig through core samples from some latter-day 1980s prospecting.
Are we talkin’ northern or southern Nevada? CENTRAL Distance from RENO: 232 MILES, OR 4 HOURS Roads: 2WD ALL DAY Best time of year to swing through: ANY TIME, THOUGH YOU MAY RUN INTO SNOW IN WINTER MONTHS Closest LIVING town to snag amenities: TONOPAH
GOLDFIELD: 15 Ways the Past Remains Present
The Metropolis That Wasn't
15 Sagebrush Saloons Worth Drinking In... And What To Order When You're There
Journey to Jarbidge
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10 Reasons We're Stoked On Austin (And You Should Be Too)
Exploring Eldorado Canyon
BEYOND THE ASPHALT: 19 Ways To Live By The Dirt Road Code
28 Excuses to Hightail it to Nevada's Most Photographed Ghost Town
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Ghost town outside of Las Vegas - Bonnie Springs Ranch
- United States
- Nevada (NV)
- Las Vegas
- Las Vegas - Things to Do
- Bonnie Springs Ranch
let's be real, the kids 25 to 45 dont party like thier parents did, 35 years ago you could go to... read more
I am planning a trip to Vegas and per usual- my husband and I would hike red rock and hit Bonnie... read more
Ghost town outside of Las Vegas
We had a few hours to kill before checking into our hotel so decided to drive out to Red Rock, and found Bonnie Springs along the way. I believe it was $10 for adults for the day pass (wristband). There is a little train that takes people around the front of the ranch and parking areas, a gunfight and "hanging", mill, chapel, schoolhouse, mini zoo, wax museum, off balance "mine" to walk through, shops, peacocks wandering about, and turtles in the pond next to the saloon restaurant. Reports of hauntings and the wax figures in the museum mysteriously being moved makes for some good stories. We enjoyed the cheesy fun and the bartender at the saloon was friendly and made good drinks.
First of all, to the people that wrote negative reviews, Bonnie Springs is NOT Vegas! And they are not trying to be Vegas! We had the most fantastic horseride with Lydia. The others in our group didn't show, so it was just the three of us! My horse, Outlaw, was wonderful! It was like power steering. She did all of the work! My husbad had Yukon, and it was the same experience. After our ride, we had Elk burgers at the restaurant! Where else are you going to get that, and they were tasty too! Sure, the western town is a little worn and rustic, but all the animals in the zoo are very well cared for! When you hear the story of Bonnie and how she started this little ranch from nothing, in the middle of the desert, you are in awe of her accomplishment. We met her son-in-law, and learned that this is truly a family owned venture. Combine this with a visit to Red Rock Canyon and you will not regret it! We want to go back and spend a night there on our next trip out West and do the sunset ride!
We visited Bonnie Spring with a group. I was excited about the visit as I believed it was an authentic old mining town. It certainly did not live up to my expectations and was made worse by a "melodrama" put on by two of the staff. The show had no bearing on the location both in the present and the past. It was very poor and spoilt the trip. Why not rather spend that time educating visitors on the area? I bought a beer as it was very hot, the beer was super cold and well priced. The place has a small zoo as well, again not sure what that had to do with an old town.
There are wild burros in the fields as you drive in. The bar has dollar bills hanging with names and dates written on them. The restaurant is rustic and they have cute touches like a saddle filled with flowers. There is a zoo and a train ride. They have ducks, turtles and peacocks all over. Once a month they have paint ball fights with zombies! Fun stop with the family.
Fun Day for everyone Location: Just a hop, skip and a jump from Redrock Casino (10-15 minute drive) that takes you back into another time and place. It's located in beautiful Redrock Canyon... just head west on Charleston Blvd and turn right when you see the sign for Bonnie Springs Ranch. Bonnie Springs Ranch: has all sorts of fun things to do and you can easily spend several hours here. There are 2 dirt parking lots (FREE) and if you park in the 1st large lot you can catch the cute little train for a 5 minute ride to the entrance area. The 2nd lot is small and is located right in front of the entrance. There is the rustic cowboy style restaurant with a nice warm fire when you enter. Train Ride: Cute, fun and Free Horseback Riding: I think it's around $60/hour per person. Zombie Shoot & Ghost Tours: Each of these takes place one Saturday evening per month... They are both kind of pricey and we did not do these. Bonnie Springs Restaurant: Very Good!! The menu is classic American Food with Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. I had the Bonnie Springs burger with Corn on the Cob instead of fries. My burger was perfectly cooked, juicy and it came with Swiss cheese and bacon. It was served on toasted buttered sourdough bread and it was delicious! It wasn't cheap but it is well worth the price. They also have buffalo burgers and sometimes Elk too! The service was excellent and our waitress was friendly and saw to our needs for refills and keeping the table cleared. Be sure to walk the grounds if you're here during the day and at no charge you'll see all sorts of animals such as their bull, ducks, peacocks, turtles and roosters. Restaurant Hours: Mon-Thu 9am-9pm Fri 9am-10pm Sat 8am-10pm Sun 8am-9pm Old Nevada: We came here because my boyfriend had not been here before but personally I don't care for this part of Bonnie Springs. It was $10pp and once inside this price includes their petting zoo, a melodrama (not my idea of funny... rather boring), a 'hanging' following the melodrama, a walk thru replica of an old mine (this part is kind of cool) some gift shops and a candy store that you would think has old time candies but not here, just the same kind you can buy anywhere.
I planned a day at Red Rock Canyon with my 6-yr old granddaughter who loves to hike and enjoys nature. Unfortunately, we had 40-MPH wind gusts that day and we did hike a bit but I was constantly wrapping myself around her so she wouldn't be blown away or get sand in her eyes. I had heard of Bonnie Springs Ranch but had never been there myself. We had a short plan-b conversation and she agreed to go see what this Bonnie Springs Ranch was all about. We had the best day together! We strolled among the peacocks, ducks and turtles and she was delighted. We went to the restaurant for lunch and the hostess sat us at a window so we could watch the peacocks, etc. stroll about while we had lunch. We followed lunch with the petting zoo where a donkey kept pushing us around with his head while we tried to buy food pellets from he .25 cent vending machine. She walked and ran and giggled and we had a great time. We strolled trough the old mining town checking out the old buildings and shops We didn't get a chance to ride the small train that goes through the ranch but I did get a "that was the best day!" on the drive home. This is not a fancy theme park but more of a great place to spend some quality time with the little ones without spending $100's of dollars. It was a weekend day but not annoyingly crowded. I highly recommend if you have kids/grandkids who enjoy animals and old west towns.
NEVADA GHOST TOWNS & BEYOND
Recent Ghost Towns & Travel Updates
TOP 10 GHOST TOWNS OF NEVADA: NORTHWEST
April 1, 2022 6 Comments
The number one question I receive is: “What is the best ghost town in Nevada?” I can't pick only one; each ghost town is unique in ruins, history, and visitor experience. Nevada is a vast state, larger than many countries. Over 600 ghost towns cover the state, not including smaller mining camps or other historical sites. Below are my favorite ghost towns in northwest Nevada. These are what ... VIEW POST
Dog Town (Dogtown), California
September 28, 2023 4 Comments
The eastern Sierra gold rush began in Dog Town, not nearby Bodie. Prospectors panned for gold and built dugout houses with rock walls. While the settlement soon became a ghost town, this was where it all started, on the confluence of the Virginia and Dog Creeks. Even for a short-term town, it left us with questions. How did Dog Town get such an unusual name? Who was buried along the creek and ... VIEW POST
September 17, 2023 Leave a Comment
Thank you, Kris and Steve, for joining me on my scouting trip. We made a loop from Bridgeport up Green Creek to Dunderberg, Ward, and Conway Summit. At Ward, we tried to recreate a 123-year-old photo; it will take some playing to get it right. We tried for Dog Town, but the road was marshy, muddy and deep with water and evidence of people getting stuck. Instead of the possibility ... VIEW POST
Where the ghosts live
September 15, 2023 Leave a Comment
I speak at the Churchill County Museum on October 3rd at 6 p.m. This will be the same format as my other presentations, but I will add more ghost towns in Churchill County. A few people suggested Zoom presentations; would anyone else be interested? I could start with my general presentation and then look at ongoing events with my current travels or research. I have been at many Zoom meetings ... VIEW POST
Pine Nut Property
September 11, 2023 2 Comments
Hubby and I headed to the Pine Nuts to check our property. The ranch acquired it in the 1950s as a wood lot. We found evidence of prospecting and a miner's cabin in the canyon. We used it for recreation and camping. Sadly, several fires destroyed every tree, leaving only a charred mess overtaken by foxtails. The roads degraded severely this year. A few times, Hubby asked if we could make it ... VIEW POST
Marked safe from Burning Man
September 6, 2023 18 Comments
Marked safe from Burning Man, playa mud and dysentery. I didn't want a big party for my 50th birthday, but several smaller events, including a Labor Day camping trip. Nevada Expeditions and I hit rain, cloudbursts, hail, lightning and even snow on the peaks. The storm made for beautiful pictures. It was chilly and challenging camping in the cold rain, but it was a great and memorable ... VIEW POST
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You Can Spend The Night In A Ghost Town At This Log Cabin Ranch In Nevada
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As local travel experts, we know what travelers are looking for when it comes to finding the perfect accommodations for their next trip. To compile our lists, we scour the internet to find properties with excellent ratings and reviews, desirable amenities, nearby attractions, and that something special that makes a destination worthy of traveling for.
It’s one thing to explore Nevada’s ghost towns but have you ever thought about spending the night in one? Few people know the tiny town of Vya even existed. It’s been abandoned for decades with almost nothing to show for the town that it once was. However, its location in the northwestern region of the state makes it a great destination for exploring. There’s even a little log cabin ranch where you can rent a room while you gallivant around the desert. Explore a piece of Nevada that almost nobody knows about when you spend the night at this long-gone ghost town.
Did you know about Vya before? It seems we’re always uncovering new places to visit in the Silver State. If you love exploring abandoned places like this one, then you should definitely take a look at this Nevada Ghost Town Road Trip we compiled!
OnlyInYourState may earn compensation through affiliate links in this article.
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Haunted Tales: 10 Best Ghost Towns In Northern Nevada
Embark on a journey to explore the rich mining heritage of the country with some of the best ghost towns in northern Nevada.
Northern Nevada has a rich mining history and legacy reflected in the abandoned towns, buildings, and relics of the area. From the bustling boomtowns of the 1800s to the eerie, abandoned settlements of the mid-20th century, Northern Nevada is home to some of the best-preserved ghost towns in the United States.
This article lists some of the best ghost towns in northern Nevada, giving a glimpse into the fascinating stories behind these lost communities. So, buckle up and get ready to travel back in time with these incredible destinations.
Related: 10 Most Beautiful Small Towns In Nevada You Should Visit
10 Virginia City
Virginia City is a historic mining town in Northern Nevada that was once the richest city in the world during the Comstock Lode silver rush in the mid-1800s. Today, the place is a popular ghost town and tourist destination known for its well-preserved historic buildings, wooden sidewalks, and historic saloons. Visitors can take a walking tour of the town, visit museums and art galleries, and explore old mines and abandoned mining equipment scattered around.
The town also hosts several annual events, including a Fourth of July celebration, a hot air balloon festival, and a classic car show. The historic cemetery in Virginia City is also a popular attraction, where visitors can see the graves of many of the town's early settlers and prominent figures.
Once a booming mining town in the early 1900s, Goldfield is a small ghost town in Esmeralda County, Nevada.
Today, Goldfield is a small community with around 200 people. Despite its small size, the town has a rich history and many well-preserved historic buildings, including the Goldfield Hotel, once one of the most luxurious hotels in the western United States.
Visitors can tour the town and explore its historic buildings, including the old courthouse, the Esmeralda County Museum, and the International Car Forest of the Last Church, an art installation featuring over 40 painted cars buried nose-down in the ground. The town also hosts several annual events, including a car show, a chili cook-off, and a Labor Day celebration.
Rhyolite is a ghost town in the Bullfrog Hills of Nye County, Nevada, founded in 1904 after gold deposits were discovered in the area. The town is a popular tourist destination for visitors to explore the ruins of the old town, including the old train depot, the remains of the old bank, and the old schoolhouse.
One of the town's most famous attractions is the Goldwell Open Air Museum, featuring several outdoor sculptures and installations, including the Last Supper, a life-size sculpture of the biblical scene made from ghostly white plaster figures. Other attractions in the area include the Rhyolite Cemetery and the ruins of the old Rhyolite jail.
Related: Visiting Kiel Ranch: Nevada's Lesser-Known Tragic Ghost Town
Austin is a small town in Nevada, founded in 1862 during the silver rush, known for its rich silver deposits, which produced millions of dollars in ore. It is a small, quiet town with a population of around 200 people. Visitors to the town can take a tour of the town and explore its historic buildings, such as the old courthouse, the old schoolhouse, and several saloons and shops.
Austin is also home to the Austin Museum, featuring exhibits on the town's history, including its mining heritage. The town is also surrounded by several state parks and recreation areas, including the Toiyabe National Forest, offering excellent opportunities for outdoor recreation, such as hiking, camping, and fishing.
Eureka is a small ghost town located in Nevada, founded in 1864, known for its rich silver mines back in the day. Today, the town is a popular tourist destination and one of the best towns to visit in Nevada, with a rich history featuring several well-preserved historic buildings, including the Eureka Opera House, built in 1880 and has been fully restored.
Visitors to Eureka can explore its historic buildings, including the Jackson House Hotel and the old courthouse. The town is also home to the Eureka Sentinel Museum, featuring exhibits on the town's history, including its mining heritage. Eureka is surrounded by several state parks and recreation areas, including the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, offering excellent opportunities for outdoor recreation, such as hiking, camping, and fishing.
Belmont is a ghost town in Nye County, Nevada, founded in 1865 after a rich silver deposit was discovered in the area. Today, Belmont is a well-preserved ghost town, and visitors can explore the ruins of the old town, including the old courthouse, the old mill, and several homes and buildings.
The town is also home to several historic sites, including the Belmont Courthouse State Historic Park, featuring the restored courthouse and a museum with exhibits on the town's history. The town also provides easy access to various state parks and recreation areas, including the Toiyabe National Forest, with various opportunities for outdoor recreation, such as hiking, camping, and fishing.
Related: 13 Beautiful Towns In Nevada You Need To See For Yourself
Founded in 1863, Berlin is a well-preserved ghost town in Nye County, Nevada, known for its beautiful architecture dating back to the nineteenth century. Visitors can explore the ruins of the old town, including the old schoolhouse, the old mill, and several homes and buildings.
Berlin is home to the Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park, featuring the preserved remains of several ancient marine reptiles known as ichthyosaurs, and several historic sites, including the Berlin Cemetery, home to the graves of several early residents of the town. The park also offers excellent opportunities for outdoor recreation, such as hiking, camping, and picnicking, and is a popular destination for fossil enthusiasts and history buffs.
Unionville is a ghost town in Pershing County, Nevada, founded in 1861 after a rich gold deposit was discovered in the area and was home to several businesses, including saloons, shops, and hotels. Today, the area is a well-preserved ghost town, offering visitors to explore the ruins of the old town, including several old homes and buildings.
Unionville is also home to several historic sites, including the Old Pioneer Cemetery and the Old Washoe Club, a historic building that was once a popular gathering place for miners and businessmen. Additionally, the town is surrounded by several state parks and recreation areas, including the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest.
2 Cherry Creek
Founded in 1872, Cherry Creek is a town in White Pine County , one of the best ghost towns in Nevada . At its peak, Cherry Creek had a population of around 6,000 people and was home to several businesses, including saloons, shops, and hotels. Despite its early success, the town began to decline in the 1880s, and by the early 1900s, the town was abandoned.
Today, Cherry Creek is a well-preserved ghost town, and visitors can explore the ruins of the old town, including the old jailhouse, the old mill, and several historic sites, such as the Cherry Creek Cemetery and the Cherry Creek Schoolhouse, a historic building that was once a one-room schoolhouse. The town also provides excellent outdoor recreation opportunities and easy access to numerous state parks and recreation areas, such as the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest.
Related: These Are The Oldest Towns In Nevada
Candelaria is a ghost town located in Mineral County, Nevada, founded in the mid-19th century. Despite its early success, the town was abandoned in the 1950s due to the heavy depletion of its mineral reserves. Today, the town is a well-preserved ghost town, offering visitors to explore the ruins of the old town, including the old smelter, the old schoolhouse, and several homes and buildings.
Candelaria is also home to several historic sites, such as the Candelaria Mines, which are now closed to the public but can still be seen from a distance. The town is located in a remote area of Nevada and offers excellent opportunities for outdoor recreation, such as hiking and camping.