Spooky Nevada Ghost Towns You Can Visit Today

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Nevada has at least 600 ghost towns within its borders. It is more than any other state. Do the math (wear this one) and you’ll find that Nevada actually has more ghost towns than “regular” towns. Call it a byproduct of being a massive state with a fair share of desert, rocks, and mountains attracting would-be prospectors with dreams of heading west and getting rich. Nevada is the Silver State, after all.

In the early days of the pioneers, it was relatively easy to transport your life in a stagecoach (or later, a rigid automobile) and rebuild where the laws of these mountains, just like the slot machines to come, were said to be ” releases ”. And if things didn’t work out, many were packing, leaving and trying again, leaving a lot of abandonment behind.

Yes, things are different now. Yet Nevada continues to be a transitional territory, where a lucky roll of the dice brings the promise of a new day. Meanwhile, some of the unlucky old days are preserved and on display, lurking in the outskirts and remote corners of the state’s 111,000 square miles. Timeless Wild West destinations like Goldfield, Goodsprings, and Jarbidge (a lovely place indeed) are often labeled as living ghost towns, which means people still live there. But let’s focus on places even further from the beaten track of stagecoaches, where history and the sounds of silence come together in captivating ruins.

rhyolite
Roberto Dantoni / Shutterstock

Rhyolite

Rhyolite is one of Nevada’s most visited and photographed ghost towns. This is in part thanks to the convenience, as it is a short drive from Las Vegas and Death Valley National Park. But people also come for its dramatic post-apocalyptic atmosphere, in part because of the city’s rapid rise and fall. During the Gold Rush boom, Rhyolite grew into a wealthy mining town with over 10,000 residents and three different railway lines running through it. There were luxury hotels, a stock exchange, an opera house and over 40 saloons. There were even street lights! But the city quickly collapsed when a financial crisis swept through the nation in 1907.

Today you can see the old three-story bank, the still intact prison and train station that got a second life as a “haunted” casino long after the city was abandoned. There’s also a house made out of 10,000 glass bottles and the Goldwell Open Air Museum, an outdoor art installation and a selfie spot.

belmont
Photo by Sydney Martinez, courtesy of Travel Nevada

Belmont

Belmont was a booming town in the late 1800s when the discovery of silver led to 10 mines and six mills, three of which can still be seen today as ruins. In some ways, Belmont was a respectable place with schools, churches, and politicians who made the city the county seat from 1867 to 1905. However, Belmont also had a reputation for rowdiness, with exuberant saloons, games chance and a red light district. . Drunken fights, shootings and hangings were common. The two-story red brick courthouse (with the city jail behind) remains Belmont’s centerpiece. Today you can have a drink at Saloon Belmont from Dirty Dick, which happened long after the days of mining, but recreates the experience of pushing one back before noon.

gold tip
Alberto Loyo / Shutterstock

Golden point

Call it an identity crisis or call it resilience, but Gold Point has lived through several different lives, turning out to be one of the few ghost towns with a history of returning. The small community was originally called Lime Point due to limestone deposits, but was renamed Hornsilver after it became a mining camp in 1908. Over 200 tin and wood buildings have emerged, including hotels, cafes and at least a dozen saloons. Things fell apart by WWII, and somewhere along the way the name changed to Gold Point.

He was almost forgotten until Walt kremin came and bought the buildings (with the help of an investor who won $ 200,000 from a Vegas slot machine). The result is one of Nevada’s most preserved and renovated ghost towns. Book a night in one of the former miners’ huts, stop by a lounge counter, and send a postcard from the original post office.

Photo by Sydney Martinez, courtesy of Travel Nevada

Blair

Think of Blair as a ghost town with views. The ruins stand at a high elevation, overlooking the desert landscapes of the Clayton Valley and what appears to be a lake. The pale, almost glowing turquoise waters are actually the Silver Peak Lithium Mine, which continues Nevada’s mining heritage, but for the digital age.

Long ago, Blair was all about business, with a mining company mining as many gems as possible out of the ground between 1906 and 1915. The old merchant, hotel, and saloon are long gone, but you can still see the remains and towering chimney of what was once Nevada’s largest mill along with other structures scattered around. The pristine concrete is pale and colorless among the desert rock, making Blair a secluded place, even for a ghost town.

nelson
Mia2you / Shutterstock

Nelson

Of all the ghost towns in Nevada, this one looks the most like a movie set – and is sometimes used as such. Just look for the “Plane wreckage” left by 3000 miles to Graceland. Much of Nelson has been renovated and rebuilt, so sometimes it’s hard to know what is authentic. However, some buildings are indeed original, and the legacy of the city is very real.

Nelson hit the jackpot in the 1860s, producing a record amount of gold in Nevada. You’d think it would mean a happy miners haven, but guess again. Nelson was known for lawlessness, murder, and a high rate of violence, even by Old West standards. Today the town is privately owned and offers official tours to explore the mines. Between a vintage Texaco gas station, a tin garage and a water tower, you can’t go wrong in the direction of your camera.

saint thomas
Flickr / Tydence Davis

Saint thomas

The waning state of Lake Mead is a major water concern in the southwest, but the drought has also revealed a secret locked in the desert sands. The receding waters exposed St. Thomas, an 1865 Mormon settlement that was once a stopover along the Arrowhead Trail between Salt Lake City and Los Angeles.

Locals, who initially thought they were still in Utah, built a hotel, school, and a few stores, all of which ended up 60 feet underwater when the Hoover Dam created Lake Mead in 1935. Thanks to climate change, the city was exposed in 2002, and visitors can now hike and explore the washed-out ruins.

Manhattan
Photo by Sydney Martinez, courtesy of Travel Nevada

Manhattan

Manhattan was somewhat of a sister city and perhaps even a rival to the nearby ghost town of Belmont. Although founded in the mid-1800s, Manhattan’s mining activity only resumed when Belmont’s collapsed around 1905. Manhattan developed a bustling business district, the bustling Merchant Hotel and notoriously muddy streets.

A series of fires destroyed much of the city in the 1920s, but a handful of saloons and businesses have survived, making Manhattan one of the most rewarding ghost towns to explore today. You can still see the iron vault inside the remains of an old bank (the only stone building in town) and a church that was transported fully intact (or stolen, depending on who you ask) from Belmont. .

Berlin
Neil Lockhart / Shutterstock

Berlin

Berlin was not the biggest or the worst of the mining towns – it lasted less than 20 years after its founding in 1897 and had a population that peaked at just 300 people. But, as part of the Berlin-Ichthyosaur National Park, the ruins have been preserved and restored. There are nearly 50 sites and structures, including a stabilized mill (with stunning views from inside), mining offices, and a smithy.

As the name suggests, the park also comes with a bonus: the largest known concentration of Ichthyosaur bones, left behind by an ocean that covered much of Nevada over 200 million years ago. . The fossil exhibit is temporarily closed for road works, but is expected to reopen by the end of the year.

delamar
Dominic Gentilcore PhD / Shutterstock

Delamar

Delamar is nestled in a beautiful green mountainside, but there is darkness in these hills. The town is nicknamed the Widowmaker because of its dangerous mining, which flourished in the 1890s, at one point producing more than half of Nevada’s ore production. But the excavations created a fine dust of quartzite rock which, inhaled by the miners and mill workers, led to widespread silicosis (lung disease). A wave of deaths followed, leaving behind 400 widows in a town of 3,000 inhabitants at its peak.

Despite a serious fire in 1900, much of Delamar was left behind, thanks to the architecture of the stonemasons. It sits in a remote area of ​​the Alien Highway near Area 51, but remains a popular destination for its legacy of lost souls, making Delmar a true ghost town.

unionville
Flickr / Nicolas D.

Unionville

Unionville is a well-kept ghost town with one unusual advantage: you can actually spend the night. The town has exactly one business: the Old Pioneer Garden Country Inn, a five-room bed and breakfast built in 1861 on the site of a blacksmith’s shop. The main building once hosted Mark Twain for dinner, as the writer was actually a short-term resident of Unionville. His hut is still there – and a vital part of the town’s tradition – along with a church and a school.

Unionville was a stage on a stagecoach route in the 1860s, and its silver mine attracted around 1,500 prospectors, about a third of whom were Chinese. Today, it is not uncommon to find Chinese coins, marbles, or occasionally opium pipes in the woods.

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Rob kachelriess writing about Las Vegas and traveling to Thrillist for over eight years. His work has also appeared in Travel + Leisure, Trivago Magazine, Sophisticated Living, Modern Luxury, Leafly, Las Vegas Magazine, and other publications. He prefers to visit ghost towns with a working saloon. Follow him on twitter @rkachelriess.



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