delamar ghost town

Delamar Ghost Town

Pop quiz: How many ghost towns does Nevada have? If you guessed north of 600, you’re either a really great guesser or you’ve been reading up on your state history. Fact is, Nevada has the most ghost towns in the United States. Hopefully your next ghost town adventure will take you to one of the most well known: Delamar, home to wildly lucrative—and deadly—mining history.

Though unimaginably profitable, Delamar quickly became known as “The Widowmaker.” When the gold was crushed and processed, it created a toxic silica dust. When miners working in the mines and mills breathed it in, they often developed silicosis, meeting untimely deaths. 

Delamar Mine History

Delamar is admired by ghost town hounds for its extensive remains, many of which are remarkably well preserved. During its peak years, this ghost town was one of the best-producing mining districts in the state, extracting $13.5 million in gold and silver between 1895 to 1900, making it a proper boomtown with more than 3,000 residents. 

Gold was first discovered in the Delamar Mountains in 1889, which led to the development of Helene—a small mining camp with only a few prospectors. After a discovery of pure, gold-laden quartzite, hundreds of miners arrived in Helene. Before long, a man by the name of John De Lamar purchased most of the area’s individual claims , uniting them into the Delamar town site and mining district.

By 1897, Delamar was a thriving city with a hospital, an opera house, churches, a school, and countless shops and saloons. Most structures in town were built with native rock, many of which still stand in this historic townsite today. 

Surpassing other famous gold mines of the time—think Rhyolite and Manhattan, combined—Delamar was cranking out 260 tons of ore daily. Though unimaginably profitable, Delamar quickly became known as “The Widowmaker” due to the toxic silica dust created as a byproduct of processing and milling the gold ore. The men working in the mines and mills breathed in the dust and many developed silicosis, which often led to an early death. 

delamar mine
delamar ghost town

Travel Nevada Pro Tip

Besides being home to some of Nevada’s most profitable 19th century gold mines, the first reference to a slot machine in Nevada was recorded at a Delamar saloon.

Delamar’s downfall began in the year 1900 after much of the town was destroyed by fire. De Lamar sold most of his mining claims, and though a new owner worked to quickly resume mining, it became clear that Delamar’s mines had been depleted. Most of the town moved on to more lucrative endeavors. By 1909, most mining efforts were completely shut down.

When you visit Delamar ghost town today, you can explore countless stone structures that have survived the Mojave Desert elements for more than 100 years. You’ll also run across foundations and entire structures made from native rock, distinguishing Delamar from other Nevada ghost towns—along with two historic cemeteries and mill sites.

Getting to Delamar, Nevada and Info to Know Before You Go

Delamar ghost town lies nearly 150 miles (or about 2.5 hours) northeast of Las Vegas, nearest the southeastern community of Caliente. When you’re cruising the Great Basin Highway, Delamar makes for an excellent ghost town pit stop since it’s situated on a dirt road a quick 30 minutes off HWY 93.

It’s essential to live by the Dirt Road Code when you’re traveling Nevada’s backroads. Be sure to have a vehicle with 4×4 access and a spare tire. Carry plenty of snacks and water, and let someone know where you’re headed and when you plan to return. Practice Leave No Trace methods whenever possible.

Remember, there’s only one safe way to deal with historic mine sites: stay out, stay alive. From shaky timber and cave-ins to dangerous air quality and old explosives, caution is a must when exploring old mining sites. Do not attempt to enter old mine shafts or adits when exploring Nevada ghost towns.


Delamar Ghost Town is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The only thing preventing you from accessing Delamar would be a seasonal, weather-related road closure. For more information on Delamar, and to check road conditions before heading to this historic townsite, get in touch with the Nevada Bureau of Land Management’s Caliente Field Office at (775) 726-8100.


Delamar Ghost Town is protected by the Nevada Bureau of Land Management (BLM), making free public access available to all.

This Location:

Central, Nevada