26 Nevada Ghost Towns, And The Specs You’ll Need To Get You There

From relic-strewn ruins to old mills and mines to “living ghost towns” with cute B&Bs and still-servin’ saloons, Nevada’s 600-odd ghost towns—more than actual populated ones—make Nevada an unbeatable destination for a solid, off-grid (not to mention highly socially distant) adventure with a hefty helping of history.

Find out where to go, what to make sure you see, when to venture out, and how to get there.

1. Ghostly Street Scenes In Paradise Valley

Paradise Valley is one of those living ghost towns, so to speak. You’ll get an idea of why the founders settled on the name they did the second you roll into town—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. Although it truly looks and feels like an unstaged movie set, this building pictured above 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. A long time ago, 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.

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

During the mid-1880s, the Techatticup gold mine in Eldorado Canyon was movin’ and shakin’ in the most serious of 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, this mining camp was known for its wildly debaucherous behavior. Think shootouts at 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 from countless movie, TV, and magazine shoots, with props like the plane crash above, left over from the filming of 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

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

Just before rolling into the western edge of Austin, look up on the hillside. What are you looking for, exactly? A CASTLE. 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 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. Dyer has a few residents still hanging on, mostly on ranches that have been in the family for generations. There are amenities, like a gas station, store, restaurant and 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, my friends, is the Fish Lake Valley Heritage Center… and everything there is truly incredible. Like a beautifully curated, mini ghost town, 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 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

6. Fort Churchill’s Stupefyingly Perfect Adobe Brick Ruins

By the time Nevada State Parks stepped in to manage this property, the ruins were in a perfect state. 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, 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, just 8 years after it was built. Supposedly, Fort Churchill is an active paranormal hot spot, but you’ll usually find us there to chase 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: CARSON CITY

7. Aurora’s Well-heeled Cemetery And Primo 1860s Furnace

The Nevada ghost town of Aurora isn’t much, 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 himself, 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 Historic Courthouse, Buildings Galore, And A Sagebrush Saloon In Belmont

Of all the ghost towns clinging to Nevada’s 300+ mountain ranges, Belmont is one of our favorites. (And it’s not far from the official Geographic Center of the State marker, so while you’re at it you can check that one off the list too.) As with many bygone boomtowns, Belmont was at one point a county seat—in this case, of Nye County—during its mining heydey. Thanks to plentiful silver in the surrounding hills, Belmont once boasted a population of 15,000, hence a whole lot of seriously amazing ruins, including a bank, miner’s cabins, the storied Belmont Courthouse, abandoned 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: 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 1940s, pilots from the nearby Tonopah Air Base, one of the largest WWII training bases, used Belmont’s chimneys for training target practice. And if you get the urge to literally “drink in” some Nevada history, be sure to stop into Dirty Dick’s 1867 Belmont Saloon for a cold drink on the porch or a hot one by the roaring woodstove fire, depending on the season.

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

9. Real-Deal Headframes & A Seriously Impressive Hoist House In Tybo

Just about every mining operation required one of these sturdy structures, so many ghost towning adventures will put you face-to-face with these A-shaped contraptions, but Tybo’s is one of the best-preserved specimens. The mine shaft goes into the earth, and the “head frame” towers 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. Most of them were so strong that, combined with Nevada’s arid climate, they remain standing strong in a state of “arrested decay,” unless it has been stripped by enterprising locals to build other things, or simply opportunistic vandals. 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. So make sure your camera is charged.

Travel Nevada PRO TIP: The more original buildings, objects, and features of a ghost town, the more intriguing. Let’s keep them that way. Do your part, be a steward of history, and leave things how you found them. That way we can ensure these places can remain historic, interesting, and even 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

10. Mark Twain’s Cabin In Unionville

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 B&B Guest Ranch, 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 O.G. Mercantile Building

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 discovered 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 Vantage Points From Inside Berlin’s Machine Shop

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, partially thanks to the fact that it was a company town, but also with help from 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 (you wouldn’t want to move that thing either), homes filled with belongings of the original 1890s owners, and one of the best surviving examples of a 30-stamp mill in the entire state. But that view. As you make your self-guided walking tour aorund the townsite, wander into the machine shop and gaze out for that incredible 60-mile vista. And then there’s the paleantological 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, 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 Miner Masonry

Turns out, prospectors could really build stuff. Imagine traveling 2,000 miles across the nation through all manner of unforvgiving 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 109-year Old Sarsaparilla Sign, Proclaiming Its Blood Purifying Prowess In Midas

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 Ghost Town Saloon for a cold brew and a delicious, honest meal—would you like a burger, a steak, or a steak sandwich?

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

15. The Entire Town Of Delamar, Because There Are Too Many Spectacular Finds Here To Choose Just One 

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 structuress 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. It’s kinda trippy. Definitely something to see with your own eyes. 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 quartzited 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 scoliosis and “bit the dust.” If you’re into the paranormal thing (and want to meet some of them), we’d recommend combining your otherwordly interests with some out-of-this-world fun, by crusing down the nearby, notorious ET Highway.

Are we talkin’ northern or southern Nevada? SOUTHERN
Distance from Reno: 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: ALAMO

16. A Pony Express Station At The Base Of A 6-Story Mountain Of Sand 

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

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 (someone 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”

Like many towns that got ghosted, despite an unusual two major booms, Ione’s shot at county seat went down in 1863, when not-too-far-away Belmont lured its occupants over the hill and stole its thunder. But, like the sign says, Ione “refused to die” then, and it still hasn’t totally given up. A few stalwart residents pledged their allegiance to Ione over any other newer, more profitable boomtown, even after the post office closed for good, which tends to be a kiss of death for most other communities—and they still do. Check out the cold storage rooms (and cabins) built into the earth, say a prayer that that sweet old saloon will one day open back up, and take in the views. 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

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: CALIENTE, BUT RELY ON REGULAR BUSINESS HOURS ONLY, AND MAYBE EVEN CALL AHEAD

20. A 19th Century Jail And Its Original Cot Jarbidge, Site Of The Last Gold Rush In The American West

Many places claim “firsts.” Well, the tiny, uber-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 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

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.

Travel Nevada PRO TIP: Be sure to tell Tom we sent ya. And don’t be shy about asking for a historical tour of the oldest bar in the southern end of the state. Bullet holes… Clark Gable’s cigarette burns… this place is the real deal.

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 Ghost Town’s Still-standing Stone Bank And Super Fancy Vault 

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 largerst 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 1867 Belmont Saloon… yet.)

Travel Nevada PRO TIP: Several famous people had mining claims here, including Mark Twain and his brother Orion. Eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes harbored intense interest in mining in Nevada, purchasing several claims throughout the state; but Manhattan was the only one of them he ever 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

23. Oddball Old-meets-new Attractions 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 School (allegedly one of the most haunted places in the U.S.); the county courthouse, still adorned with original Tiffany lamps; the imposing (and also haunted) Goldfield Hotel; and the 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
Best time of year to swing through: ANY SEASON IS PRIMETIME
Closest LIVING town to snag amenities: TONOPAH

24. The Famous Freestanding Metropolis Arch

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. Rhyolite — Nevada’s Most Photographed Ghost Town 

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.

Travel Nevada PRO TIP: Want to pay your respects to Rhyolite’s most famous “lady of the night?” Behind the brothel, cross the creekbed and walk back to the memorial for the beloved Mona Belle. 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. “Loose” women were never buried alongside “regular” citizens, so her “grave” was dug behind the brothel and jail, away from everyone else. Notice how we called it a “grave?” When her remains were reclaimed by her legal husband in Colorado, this gravesite became a memorial to all fallen purveyors of the world’s oldest profession.

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. Nivloc’s Wooden Train Trestle: Last One Standing 

Nivloc, another boomtown in the 1900s heydey around Tonopah and Goldfield, emerged after a Shoshone Indian discovered gold here in 1907, swining 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