Photo By: Sydney Martinez

Photo By: Sydney Martinez

Photo By: Sydney Martinez

Photo By: Sydney Martinez

Photo By: Sydney Martinez

Photo By: Sydney Martinez

Photo By: Sydney Martinez

Photo By: Sydney Martinez

Photo By: Sydney Martinez

Photo By: Sydney Martinez

Photo By: Sydney Martinez

Photo By: Sydney Martinez

Photo By: Sydney Martinez

Photo By: Eric Cachinero

Photo By: Sydney Martinez

Photo By: Sydney Martinez

Photo By: Sydney Martinez

Photo By: Sydney Martinez

Photo By: Sydney Martinez

Photo By: Sydney Martinez

Photo By: Sydney Martinez

Photo By: Sydney Martinez

Photo By: Sydney Martinez

Photo By: Sydney Martinez

Photo By: Sydney Martinez

26 RAZZLE-DAZZLE NV GHOST TOWN FINDS, AND THE SPECS YOU'LL NEED TO GET YOU THERE

By SYDNEY MARTINEZ | May 2017
Updated: November 2017

26 RAZZLE-DAZZLE NV GHOST TOWN FINDS, AND THE SPECS YOU'LL NEED TO GET YOU THERE | SYDNEY MARTINEZ

You’re flying down a Nevada highway, and something catches your attention just off to the left—some sort of ramshackle building or headframe. So you decide to go check it out, because why not? You’re on that #NVRoadTrip you’ve been carefully mapping and a fix of solid, off-grid adventure is your holy objective. The second those tires leave the pavement, a newfound sense of freedom washes over you. No more of that technological crap either—out here in the cuts, you’ve gotta rely on paper maps and gut instinct… the good stuff. Now you’re in the thick of the real Nevada, digging deep into the pages of her past and on the brink of one of those legendary boomtowns the state was so sturdily built on. We’ve all been there, or at least hope to be there during some serious desk-driving day dreaming, right? But it’s not a dream, these haunts are real, and far from difficult on the approach. The thing about it is this: once you start paying attention to what’s out there in that boundless sea of sage—an old miner cabin here, the foundation of an old combination stamp mill there, or maybe even an adit shielded by barbed wire cautioning “DANGER—OPEN PIT” too. Once you start giving these places the attention they deserve, your entire approach to road tripping will change for the better, shifting your perception of nothingness to #middleofsomewhere, to say the very least.

Nevada is home to more ghost towns than actual populated towns, as crazy as that sounds. Yep, let that one sink in for a sec. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of living towns outside Reno and Vegas, but over 600 ghost towns are scattered through Nevada and are a direct tie to why the Silver State became, well, the Silver State. But why Nevada? If you were hauling everything from your Grandma to your baby grand while fending off ‘yotes, wouldn’t you stop every chance you had to see if you could get your hands on a nugget or two… without forging over the Sierra? Nevada just so happened to be totally laced to the brim with gold and silver;  that’s the very reason why so many mining camps popped up in the state. Setting up shop in an attempt to snatch their American Dream worked just fine and dandy—they didn’t need to press on—that is, up until the mines dried up and they were forced to move to the next happenin’ place. Folks from every walk of life came to Nevada, even people like Mark Twain, who came here as a miner, but left as a very famous writer.

I always seem to find myself joking that if you want to really know Nevada’s past and why there are ghost towns just about everywhere you look, it’s this: thousands of communities discovered gold or silver, the mine eventually dried up, and then there was a fire. If you want to be bluntly succinct, that kiiiiinda sums it up. Nevada still remains a top silver and gold producer in the world, but that my friends, is another story. Lucky for us, aside from having the most ghost towns, that also means that Nevada has the most abandoned mining features than anywhere else in the nation, too. Turns out, so many of these places and relics have remained because of Nevada’s extremely arid climate. So go on with your bad self, you ghost town buff you. Drop into some of our favorite haunts, and be on the lookout for these petrifyingly cool finds while you’re at it.

1. A GHOSTLY STREET SCENE LOOKIN’ LIKE IT CAME STRAIGHT OUTTA TOMBSTONE, ONLY BETTER IN PARADISE VALLEY

Paradise Valley is one of those living ghost towns, so to speak. Although I’m not so sure it’s that much of a cliffhanger to begin with, all mystery will vanish the second you roll into town. You’ll  get an idea of why the founders settled on the name they did—the place is nothing short of heaven on earth, or well… paradise. Around 100 people call the area home, but most are running cattle on several hundred acres of land… away from “town.” But, in the center of Paradise Valley, life slows to a satisfying roll… the type of place that has a few modern day houses, cattle dogs that chase your car as you cruise through main, and in true Nevada fashion, a bar. Visitors will also find this sexy little situation pictured above, too. Though it truly looks and feels like an unstaged movie set, this little ditty was once The Micca House—a historic house built all the way back in 1885 that went on to be a department store, post office, and government office.

Are we talkin’ northern or southern Nevada? NORTHERN
Distance from Reno: 205 MILES, OR 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, WITH BEWITCHING HISTORIC MINING STREET CRED TO BACK IT UP

During the mid 1880s, the Techatticup gold mine in Eldorado Canyon was movin’ and shakin’ in the most satisfyingly serious ways. Despite pumping out actual millions of dollars in gold, silver and copper production and being the richest and most famous gold mine in southern Nevada, get this: this mining camp was known for its wildly debaucherous behavior. Think shootouts and high noon, one of those iconic red light districts, and all around, a whole lot of lawlessness. The town itself, now known as Nelson, was founded by deserters of the Civil War, assuming such an isolated location would be the last place military would come searching for them. In true Nevada fashion, the mine dried up and a flash flood wiped the area out. Most of the town was destroyed, with the exception of a few buildings. The folks running tours at the actual Techatticup Mine have made this place their empire, bringing in some serious eye candy. Though the history here certainly runs deep, don’t be fooled by the props you see—most have been brought in from other places. Thousands of photo shoots have gone down here—with props like the plane crash above, left over from the filming of 3,000 Miles to Graceland—I couldn’t think of a more selfie worthy ghost town in the lineup.

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

Like the others mentioned here, Blair got its shot at being a shiny 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 SOME TRAVEL STOKE IN AUSTIN

Towns along the Loneliest Road are few and far between, so when you reach Austin, I don’t blame you for missing this gem. You’re probably focused on a restroom, gas, a bite to eat, and maybe one of those turquoise baubles the town is now known for. Just before rolling into the western edge of town, look up on the hillside, I beg you please. What are you looking for, exactly? A CASTLE. Sure, it kinda looks like a watch tower, but this place is definitely a 120 year-old castle, emblematic of the amounts of money pumping through Austin in the late 1800s. Anson Phelps Stokes, a railroad magnate, came to Austin and modeled a three-story castle mansion after Roman Villas. The life, right? More than 10,000 people were living in Austin, chasin a serious silver vein, but by the time this castle was completed the mine had dried up and everyone was off to the next place...yikes on the timing there, Stokes. He and his family lived in his castle for less than a year, and 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

FISH LAKE VALLEY’S ENTIRELY INTACT 1881 POST OFFICE BUILDING, WITH ALL THE ORIGINAL STUFF INSIDE

Ever heard of the state-straddling White Mountains? This California-Nevada range boasts Boundary’s Peak—Nevada’s highest summit at 13,146. But just below it, on the Nevada side of course, is the quiet community of Dyer and Fish Lake Valley. Dyer has a few residents still hanging on, mostly there for ranching purposes… that, or because their grandpappy settled the area. Dyer is what I’d totally consider to be a living ghost town—not many people live there, but there are amenities like a gas station, store, restaurant and bar, 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, my friends, is the Fish Lake Valley Heritage Center… and everything there is truly incredible. Reminiscent to the finest ghost town, albeit curated to an extent, every find here is nothing short of sensational… particularly the town’s original switchboard, the fueling station itself, and the post office you see pictured above. The best part? Most of these original buildings house most of the actual relics used to complete the job, too.

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: TONOPAH

FORT CHURCHILL’S STUPEFYINGLY PERFECT ADOBE BRICK RUINS

When I say perfect here, I mean perfect in this way—by the time Nevada State Parks stepped in to manage this property, the ruins were in a perfect state of disrepair. 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 this overwhelming Wild West vibe that is almost too much to bear. At Fort Churchill, the rough and tumble qualities of Nevada’s past come to life before you in all the tastiest ways, in fact. After white folk started entering an already occupied American Indian territory, the Indians were a little upset… as you might imagine if you were in their shoes. Quite frankly, I’m going to stick with saying that I, too, would have exhibited the same “hostile” behavior… but the long and short of it is this: Fort Churchill was built to protect early settlers, explorers and Pony Express riders from these “hostile” American Indians. The thing is, it was totally abandoned in 1869, just 8 years after it was up and running. Supposedly, Ft. Churchill is an active paranormal hot spot, but for me? I’m just chasing that 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: SILVER SPRINGS

A SERIOUSLY PRIMO 1860s FURNACE AND STACK STILL STANDING IN AURORA

Though hardly any remains in the Nevada ghost town of Aurora, it certainly wasn't always that way….in fact, polar opposite. Ever heard of California’s totally impressive Bodie Ghost Town? Well guess what: Aurora was Nevada’s version, at one time anyway, and is only a dozen or so miles from Bodie itself only on the Nevada side, of course. 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 once like that too, but get this: some jack hole illegally dozed it in the 1950s to steal the locally hewn bricks the buildings were made of, so nothing really stands there today. Nothing except a super interesting history—one of the coolest historical cemeteries in the state to be exact, whose occupants include senators and other famed prospectors of the time—and the coolest remaining furnace and stack in the entire state, IMO. A slew of noteworthy prospectors were drawn to Aurora, including Mark Twain himself, but that’s another tale, and I assure you it’s not 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

MIGHTY FINE COMBINATION STAMP MILL RUINS IN BELMONT, THE NUMBER 1 GHOST TOWN IN NEVADA

Of all the ghost towns clinging to Nevada’s 300+ mountain ranges, Belmont is IT. You’d be doing yourself a disservice but NOT hitting up every single spot on this rundown, but if you must choose just one, Belmont is totally on the money and worth the trek out there. It’s not far from the geographic center of the state, so while you’re at it you can check that one off the list too. Like a lot of these other places, Belmont too was once the county seat of Nye County during its mining heydey. They were after silver here in the surrounding hills, and although hard to imagine today, once boasted a population of 15,000. With a population that big, that means what? Lots of and lots of seriously amazing ruins, like a bank, miner cabins, the storied Belmont Courthouse, abandoned mine shafts, and 100-foot-tall brick chimneys. That, and the picture-perfect combination stamp mill ruins like the beaut shown above. The best part? Belmont is positioned in such a way that standing in the very threshold of the stamp mill’s ruins divvies up 60-mile vantage points of the valley below, to boot. Talk about the cherry on top of some flawless summertime ramblin’.

TravelNevada PRO TIP: When exploring Belmont and the 100-foot chimney in specific, pay attention to the 40 caliber bullet holes all over the side of it. During the early 40s, the largest WWII training base was in Nevada at the Tonopah Air Base [just to the south of Belmont] and the pilots used Belmont’s chimneys as training target practice.

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: AUSTIN OR TONOPAH DEPENDING ON DIRECTION, BUT RELY ON REGULAR BUSINESS HOURS ONLY

SOME REAL DEAL HEADFRAMES & A SERIOUSLY IMPRESSIVE HOIST HOUSE IN TYBO

Whether you’re systemically working your way through this list, or just happen to come across some odd shapes on the horizon as you travel Nevada, you might start to realize that you’re going to be coming across a whole heck of a lotta head frames. Why? Because just about every mining operation required one, so you you’ll definitely come across these A-shaped babes. The mine shaft goes into the earth, and the head frame towers above it, hoisting gold or silver rich ore out of the earth. From there, the miners toted it over to the stamp mills to break these chunks apart even further in order to extract these precious minerals from the ore. So, if you’ve got a mining ghost town, you can bet that bottom dollah that you’ll stumble across a head frame… if it hasn’t been stripped by vandals or time. And boy howdy, Tybo has the prettiest one I’ve yet to encounter… with a relatively solid structure, and remaining fixtures you don’t see on most, like the ladder and winch wheel sort of crank mechanism pictured here. That, and the entire hoist house itself—the control room that helps control and guide the head frame’s power—is right there alongside it.

TravelNevada PRO TIP: Most of the cool relics have already been looted in Nevada’s ghost towns. Bummer, right? Imagine how cool of an experience it is to come across one, like Tybo, with original relics like this still intact. If you pluck it away, that means no one after you can ever have this same amazing experience. So do your part, be the Nevada Steward I know you are, and leave it how you found it. After all, we want these places to remain as incredible as they still are, right? Do your part, and make sure these places can stay sacred to everyone who visits from here on out.

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

MARK TWAIN’S UNIONVILLE CABIN

I mean really, do I need to go on? Probably not, Mark Twain has his own upper echelon of street cred, but I will. It’s no mystery that Mark Twain had a fondness for the American West as he so matter-of-factly described it in his novel Roughing It, but he used a lot of his experiences in Nevada as his golden standard for other places. His time in Nevada is important because he came to Nevada as a prospector, but left as a famous writer, adapting his moniker in the Silver State. BUT, before he hit it big, he himself roughed it in Nevada’s unestablished mining camps, trying to achieve his American Dream just like everyone else. One of his first attempts at mining went down in Unionville, where he was confronted with hard work unlike any other labor he experienced. He ultimately left for Aurora [where he had another cabin,] claiming he was “allergic to shovels.” The one in Aurora was slowly picked off by looters, but his entire abode still stands in Unionville at a community park. Today, just 19 residents call Unionville home, and you can get the town’s hypnotic history straight from the horse's mouth with a stay at the Old Pioneer. An all around experience I assure you won’t soon forget.

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

CANDELARIA’S O.G. MERCANTILE BUILDING

Making the long trek from Reno to Vegas? Lordy, do I have the perfect breather for ya, and it has everything to do with a mercantile building from the 1880s in a sweet little place called Candelaria Ghost Town. Silver was discovered here by Spaniards in the 1860s—hence the name Candelaria—but it wasn’t until the 1880s that European prospectors blew through here and really went HAM. Despite being wildly lucrative, the mining camp was super far away from any kind of water. Lots of people suffered from “miner’s consumption”... too much dang dust in the lungs. The water shortage played a huge part in the town’s demise, along with—guess what—the mine dried up. It’s pretty seriously off the beaten path, so it was basically totally undisturbed for decades. By the 1980s, more sophisticated mining techniques were available and a company swooped in and went through all the old tailings here, which were still profitable. Security was tight, which led to even further preservation of the area. Not a whole lotta mining is going on today so don’t fret, you won’t be turned away. Instead, expect to find this sweet little mercantile building in a splendid state of decay… just enough to that imagination moving, but not too far gone. Ooh, and be sure to look for the original metal storm windows… don’t see many of those on historical buildings 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

60-MILE VANTAGE POINTS FROM INSIDE BERLIN’S MACHINE SHOP

It’s a little bit of a drive to Berlin, but seriously, talk about legit bang for your buck. First, it was the town and mining operation, and guys, if there’s any Nevada ghost town similar to Bodie, it’s this. Berlin has some kind of magic with it’s buildings and relics. Plus, out of all the mine shafts and adits in the state [trust me, there are a lot] Berlin has the most authentic mine experience at Diana’s with an impressively cool tunnel experience. And then, despite having hundreds of people living in the area, they didn’t know that the largest concentration of Ichthyosaur fossils in the U.S. were sitting right under their noses. Layers on layers of history here, people. Berlin may have remained more intact than other Nevada ghost towns because it was a company town, operated by the Nevada Company, and was maintained until the Nevada State Park’s took over in the 70s. Despite there being a highly photographed Model T, homes filled with relics that belonged to the original 1890s owners, and one of the best examples of a 30-stamp mill in the state, the view from the machine shop is where it’s at. You’ll see what I’m talking about.

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

A CALIBER OF MASONRY EARLY NEVADA PROSPECTORS WERE KNOWN FOR IN GOLD MOUNTAIN

Guys. Prospectors could build stuff. Can you imagine traveling 2,000 miles across the nation, trying to keep yourself and everyone camp alive, showing up at a mining camp and doing 15 hours of manual labor, and then building your own house yourself? Good, cause I can’t either. But, despite all these harrowing experiences that most modern day peeps can’t even begin to imagine enduring, they built some of the best damn milling operations, businesses and homes around. I dare you try to to avoid some of this impeccable infrastructure on your next ghost town jaunt, but one specific thing to keep an eye out for is this: fire places that were built inside miner cabins. These things are so airtight that you’ll expect to see a modern day construction crew around the next turn, but read it and weep: most are over 150 years old. And here’s a trivia night fact for you: most buildings in ghost towns started their slippery slope into decay after the most valuable commodity was stripped from them: the lumber roof. There wasn’t any wood, not after what little trees were here to begin with were chopped down for the railroad. So, when miners would head out for the next big boomtown, they took what was most valuable: wood roofs. So, as if the masonry itself wasn’t astounding enough to begin with, imagine these fireplaces being exposed to some seriously 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

MIDAS’ 109-YEAR OLD SARSAPARILLA SIGN, PROCLAIMING ITS BLOOD PURIFYING PROWESS

Getting confused with all the Nevada ghost towns having the word “gold” in the title? Yeah, me too. Lucky for us, this town curbed that confusion thanks to the good ol’ post office. This northern Nevada ghost town boomed in the early 1900s after gold was discovered. They needed a name for this establishment, and wanted to call it Gold-something… realllllllll original. BUT, the post office said, “enough is enough, no more Gold-named towns in Nevada, it’s too confusing!” and made them name it something else, so Midas it was. Another common staple of a mining community is the assay office—where they would test the purity of the gold and silver they were pulling out of the earth. In Midas, you can see the original assayer’s office which is totally unreal itself, but look closer. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be jacked up to find an original Sarsaparilla sign from Midas’ Benneson’s Drug Store. Read the fine print… you won’t be sorry you did.

Are 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

THE ENTIRE TOWN OF DELAMAR, BECAUSE THERE ARE TOO MANY SPECTACULAR FINDS HERE TO SETTLE FOR JUST ONE

I’m just going to show you all my cards and get on with it—the entire town of Delamar is so mind-blowing that it’s an impossible task to choose just one building or thing. It’s that good. Remarkably, there are almost too many still-standing structures to count, and are all built out of this kaleidoscopic range of colored stone. It’s trippy, and something to see and appreciate with your own eyes. And get this: the gold discovered in Delamar was a bit different than other mines because it was embedded in quartzite. When it was crushed up and processed, it created it this crazy-fine dust that caused a lot of trouble for miners working near it, breathing it in. It didn’t take long for Delamar to be nicknamed the “widow maker” camp… as many of its prospectors bit the dust after getting silicosis. Dozens of buildings, milling remains, two graveyards, miner cabins, a brick archway and mine shafts can still be found at Delamar today, and are the perfect capper for your trek down that notorious ET Highway.

Are we talkin’ northern or southern Nevada? SOUTHERN
Distance from Reno: 145 MILES, OR 2.5 HOURS
Roads: PAVED ENTIRELY, 2WD ALL DAY
Best time of year to swing through: SPRING OR FALL
Closest LIVING town to snag amenities: FALLON

A PONY EXPRESS STATION AT THE BASE OF A 6-STORY MOUNTAIN OF SAND

Any westernophile out there gets it: anything Pony Express related is enough to get your motor running…. Uh, I mean get your mustang galloping. Despite the fact that this captivating operation lasted less than two years, it sure left an impression both figuratively and literally. I mean, anyone who has a pulse is romanced by the whole thing, imagining strapping young orphaned bachelor's delivering mail by American mustangs across the Western United States. That, and there weren’t just a couple stations...out of 157 stations from California to Missouri, Nevada specifically was home to 30 Pony Express Stations, like the one you see before you. It was a rule that they had to be positioned anywhere from 5-20 miles apart, and were places where weary riders could take a breather and exchange their horses for a more re-energized steed. The whole operation was interesting enough; I mean it’s basically a monument to the frontier-spirit of America, but this specific Pony Express Station at Sand Springs was completely hidden for over 100 years… buried in sand. The station was rediscovered by a team of archaeologists in 1977 and been back in the game since.

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

ONE OF THOSE JAW-DROPPING OLD WEST SALOONS YOU’VE ONLY SEEN IN THE MOVIES IN GOLD POINT

After gold and silver was discovered in Tonopah and Goldfield in the early 1900s, about a bajillion prospectors flooded to the area to get their piece of the pie. Tonopah and Goldfield were of course the main attraction, but tons of other mining camps spidered out of them… like Gold Point. Silver was discovered here and it boomed like all the rest, but this place totally differs from the rest in one huge way. During the 1970s, a guy by the name of Herb Robbins wasn’t a Nevadan, but came to the Silver State to explore ghost towns as much as he could. Eventually, he moved to Vegas professionally installing wallpaper in all the big casinos. Just when you think this story can’t get any more Nevada, just you wait, it does. He hit it big on a jackpot at a Station Casino, and guess what he did with his winnings? BOUGHT AN ENTIRE GHOST TOWN: GOLD POINT. He not only did that, but he started a B&B, comprised of original miner cabins that you can stay in. Heck, he’ll even marry you on top of a scaffold [you decide if you want to put that noose around your neck or not] and in general, have made the entire town straight up movie magic. The best though, is the saloon… I mean honestly, it’s just aces.

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

THE WELCOME SIGN ITSELF,  BROADCASTING IONE’S STAUNCH REFUSAL TO DIE

...Because duh, have you seen anything else like it? By now, I 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 OR AUSTIN, DEPENDING ON DIRECTION. DEPEND ON REGULAR BUSINESS HOURS ONLY

MURDERER’S ROW AT BOOT HILL CEMETERY IN PIOCHE

Imagine the most rough and tumble ghost town you can think of. What’d you get… maybe Dodge City, Tombstone, or Deadwood? I hate to break it to you, but you failed this test, just like me. All of these spots were boisterous and exuded their own level of toughness, no doubt about it. But one place that is constantly overlooked when it comes to gunslinging is a little town called Pioche… who swiftly beats out all the others by a country mile. People were immediately drawn to this southeastern Nevada spot because of a giant silver boom, and a mind-numbing 72 people were laid to rest before someone actually bit the big one from any natural causes...that’s the caliber of bad-assery I’m talking about. To put in perspective, Tombstone only had a couple murders each year, while Pioche had dozens and literal shootouts in the street on the regular. And guess where they’re all entombed? Boot Hill Cemetery, which is conveniently positioned under the only lasting aerial tramway in the state. Two-fer! These murderous savages rest in peace here, 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: CALIENTE, BUT RELY ON REGULAR BUSINESS HOURS ONLY, AND MAYBE EVEN CALL AHEAD

A 19TH CENTURY JAIL OUTFITTED WITH THE ORIGINAL COT IN THE HEART JARBIDGE, THE LAST GOLD RUSH IN THE AMERICAN WEST

Everywhere has it’s claim to fame, right? Well, in this case, Jarbidge has TWO. Booyah. This tiny town is just about as far north in Nevada as you can get without crossing into Idaho, and comes with quite the colorful history to boot. Jarbidge prides itself on being the last legit gold rush of the American West after gold was discovered in this breathtakingly beautiful, modern-day wilderness area in 1909. It seems about right… by the early 1900s prospectors had been aggressively after it for the better part of a century. Things destined to be discovered, were in fact exposed. But, the claim to fames doesn’t stop here, ooooooh no. Jarbidge is also the site of the last stagecoach robbery in the American West, too. Not that the gold rush stat isn’t interesting, it totally is, but the stagecoach robbery situation is extra important and here’s why: the perp was successfully nabbed off a bloody handprint he left on the stagecoach, and the first time fingerprinting technology was successfully used to catch the criminal. As you might imagine, crime was running rampant in a bustling mining town. Man oh man, if walls could talk at the storied Jarbidge Jail, you can bet they’d have some colorful tales to tell. This storied Jail, on the main drag of Jarbidge, still stands today and get this: it’s outfitted with the original cot and mining records to boot.

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

A SLEW OF IMPRESSIVELY INTACT MINER CABINS IN GOODSPRINGS

Heading into southern Nevada from LA? Do yourself a favor and shake things up a bit by taking the slight detour into Goodsprings. Seriously, it’s less than 15 minutes from Jean and I promise you’ll be singin’ my praises when you take the historic walking tour and slurp back one of the best flipping Bloody Mary’s in the Silver State. This quiet community might not seem like much today, but when it had it’s boom in the early 1900s it was enough to rival Techatticup… the other southern Nevada spot that put the Silver State on the mining map. Probably what’s interesting about Goodsprings is not the amount of moolah that came out of the place, but the variety of precious minerals they were pullin’ outta the earth. Throughout it’s boom, prospectors zeroed in on lead, silver, copper, zinc and gold. Yeah, crazy right? Today, snag a historical walking tour map from the town headquarters and one of the best bars in the state: The Goodsprings Pioneer Saloon and hop to it. BUT, fight the urge to settle in for a Ghost Burger and Bloody… it’s going to be hard, but take the walking tour first. The Cottonwood Cabin is worth checking out, but even if you just make it across the street you can see the ruins snapped here.

TravelNevada PRO TIP: Be sure to tell Tom I sent ya, and don’t be shy about asking for a historical tour of the oldest bar in the southern end of the state.

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

THE ONLY STONE BUILDING EVER BUILT IN MANHATTAN GHOST TOWN, WITH ITS STILL-STANDING SUPER FANCY VAULT AND ‘EERYTHANG

As you make your way through Nevada’s boundless ghost towns, you’re going to uncover some super cool old banks. Because yeah, if a town is pumping out insurmountable wealth, they need a place to store it...mining = banks. Definitely check all of ‘em out, but the grand poobah of all bank relics in Nevada is in Manhattan. [Try referencing Manhattan, NV to someone casually… I promise you’ll get a smirk outta them… ‘cause who’s seriously heart of it? Not many.] It’s not super far from the geographic center of Nevada either, located at the southern end of Big Smoky Valley, and where most people headed after mining ops dried up in Belmont. Thousands of people beelined it to Manhattan in hot pursuit of gold. For a decade, it was one of Nevada’s hugest gold districts, and although I can barely wrap my mind around it, the town bank was the only stone building ever built in town. That alone is should merit a swing-through, but it gets better: the original 1906 Nye & Ormsby County Bank’s vault stands strong in the back, with it’s safe/strong room fully intact. It’s been shut and locked since abandonment… and I can’t help but imagine that maybe this building is worth a whole lot more than it appears.

TravelNevada PRO TIP: Several famous people had mining claims in Manhattan, including Mark Twain and his brother Orion. Plus, eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes showed intense interest in mining in Nevada, and purchased several claims throughout the state.  BUT, Manhattan was the only one of ‘em that he physically showed up to, rolled up his sleeves, and played prospector.

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

GOLDFIELD’S BROWN-PARKER AUTO CO. GARAGE, ESPECIALLY SO WHEN YOU’RE TRAVELIN’ ON TWO WHEELS

Remember that whole thing I was talking about earlier, that if you wanted to know the history of Nevada just remember gold was discovered, people came out of the woodwork to make it big there, the mine dried up, and there was a fire. Boom: short and sweet. Well, poor Goldfield def got the short end of the stick on that one… they had it extra brutal with two giant fires AND a freak flash flood. Like every other place, Goldfield was the “The World’s Greatest Gold Camp” and lived opulent lifestyles that makes modern-day millionaires look like savages. Check out the Car Forest; that’s oddly interesting, but I beg you please… don’t overlook some of the most interesting history in Nevada. I always seem to get caught in Goldfield’s web… as in planning for 1 hour and ending up there for 8. Talk to locals, and listen to what they have to say… you’ll be glad you did. The Goldfield Consolidated Mine Company has some photogenic relics, like train engines, old cars and tiny cabins, the Santa Fe Saloon is of Nevada’s oldest continually operating bars, the cemetery houses some occupants with very entertaining causes of death, and the school is hard to ignore, too. But there’s something about Goldfield’s seriously picturesque first Ford auto dealer, the Brown-Parker Auto Co. Garage, a short lived operation that ran from 1920-1923. It’s right across from the Goldfield School, one of the most haunted places in the U.S, which is cool to admire from the street, but don’t try to get in… you’ll get busted faster than you can say “George Wingfield.”

Are we talkin’ northern or southern Nevada? SOUTHERN
Distance from Vegas: 184 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: TONOPAH

A FACE-MELTINGLY COOL ARCH YOU’VE GOTTA SEE BEFORE IT’S SIMPLY TOO LATE IN METROPOLIS

Killer jack rabbits and Mormon Crickets lead to the demise of Metropolis? Sounds hilarious. I mean, I’ll admit I was wildly entertained when I read it on the historical marker, imagining jagged toothed, 3-foot tall hares kicking in doors, terrorizing Metropolis occupants. But, chalk that one up to an overactive imagination, friends. Whomp whomp. Really, these critters did lead to the end of Metropolis, but only because the people who settled it killed off the entire coyote population and all the jackrabbits went gangbusters without a predator, ultimately eating all their crops… and the crickets totally finished it off. That and major drama about water, plus a failed dam attempt made it impossible to survive in Metropolis. The town had short lived success before being forced out, but left a wickedly cool amusement hall-meets hotel and school for ghost town aficionados to explore. The foundation of the hotel is basically all that remains, but the school? Major eye candy. The arch alone is intensely photographed, just look at it and you can see why. Use your noggin before trying to dip below the surface into the basement, it is in full-on decay, but keep an eye out for the original chalkboard down there. It and the arch will dish up some killer photo ops… killer jackrabbits or not.

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

RHYOLITE’S RED LIGHT DISTRICT, AND THE GRAVESITE OF ITS MOST BELOVED LADY OF THE NIGHT

You may have seen it in the past whether it be in the flesh, on the Silver Screen, or online… after all, Rhyolite IS the most photographed and traveled-to ghost town in the state. It makes sense, it’s right on the edge of Death Valley, and a stone’s throw from Beatty on 95. Compared to the others spelled out on this here list, Rhyolite isn’t exactly difficult to reach, especially if you’re in Vegas.  BUT, despite having a particularly fascinating history [thanks to a little man by the name of Charles Schwab and being dead center of the most compelling mining epicenter in Nevada], the real kicker about Rhyolite is its multi-layered diversity. First, you have the mining camp itself, and then this Belgian artist who came in during the 70s and created this outdoor sculpture museum. Plus, Rhyolite is home to the oldest and largest bottle house in the nation, and was featured in a movie in the 30s. So you see, the two collide in artistic perfection of sorts… the ghost town itself is beautifully eroding in such a way that it inspires many to base their artwork off the town itself. The thing is, there are so many incredible ruins and a straight up magnetic quality that the ghostly Last Supper installation oozes, but there are other ruins to check out beyond that there pavement on that main drag. Staples like the bank and school are on Main, but equally important institutions like the jail and brothel are just down the street. Pay attention to not miss them… they’re as worth checking out as every other building here, if not moreso. Peek inside of the brothel—it certainly gives a hard-to-swallow glimpse of this super high demand of a profession during the early 1900s… and those who have seemingly enjoyed visiting the place in years since.

TravelNevada PRO TIP: There should be a bit of a creek bed behind the brothel. Cross it and walk back to the memorial for Rhyolite’s most beloved lady of the night: Mona Bell. You’d have to try to miss the thing; this small grave is adorned with Mardi Gras beads, high heels, empty alcohol bottles and even a casino chip or two. She lost her life after her boyfriend murdered her in 1908… supposedly, he was her pimp but that’s not a legit fact. Such “loose” women were never buried alongside regular peeps though—that was frowned upon. So her grave was dug behind the brothel/jail, away from everyone else. The capper? This is merely a memorial to her, and all women of the night. Her actual remains were reclaimed by her legal husband in Colorado and dragged all the way back there and buried in Crown Hill Cemetery.

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

NIVLOC’S WOODEN TRAIN TRESTLE: THE LAST ONE STANDING IN THE ENTIRE FLIPPING STATE

The ghost town of Nivolc is another example of the boatload of mining camps that sprung to life after serious booms went down in both Tonopah and Goldfield in the early 1900s. Gold was discovered by a Shoshone Indian here in 1907, and by the 30s this thing was in full swing. Unlike that whole ‘naming every single boomtown after gold or silver’ thing, this mining camp was named after its anglo founder, who’s last name was Colvin. He named the town after himself, flipping the letters around to get NIVLOC. Mining was kaput after the beginning of WWII and, as far as I can understand, this place has the only standing wooden train trestle in the entire state of Nevada. Cool, right? The thing is about 2-ish stories tall, and most likely last used in the 40s. Some mining went down here in the 1980s, which—bonus!—left a whole bunch of really interesting core samples to dig through if you please. The photo ops here are endless, just use that noggin and don’t try anything crazy like walking across it. After all, it iiiisssss 80ish years old. But that shutter? Let that thing fly all dang day.

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

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