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Ready to get to know the Comstock Lode one step-beneath-the-surface at a time? Situated in the historic town of Dayton, the 1870s-built Sutro Tunnel was a major player in Virginia City’s silver bonanza, connected to the world-renowned Savage Mine. Proposed by the one and only Adolph Sutro (who later spent his Comstock billions on San Francisco’s Sutro Baths and Cliff House) as a way of improving safety conditions for miners in an otherwise very dangerous era, the Sutro Tunnel begins in Virginia City, stretching nearly 5 miles through the mountains, reaching its terminus in Dayton. Miraculously enough, the Sutro Tunnel has withstood time, despite being closed all those years, with a restoration project in full swing. 

Restoration is the name of the game at the Historic Sutro Tunnel—an underground pipeline connected to the largest silver strike in the world. Now nearly 150 years later, get in on recently reopened private tours, special events, and restoration efforts at this authentic piece of Comstock history.

Sutro Tunnel History

Proposed by Prussian Jewish mining entrepreneur Adolph Sutro as a way to prevent flooding and mine deeper within Nevada’s high desert terrain, the concept didn’t fully take off until the deadly Yellowjacket Mine disaster occurred in Gold Hill in 1869. Even though Sutro had been fundraising for a more efficient drainage tunnel for nearly a decade, the Yellowjacket tragedy—where dozens of miners burned to death below ground because they could not escape— beckoned the interest of miners as an additional exit. 

Sutro continued selling stock certificates for the Sutro Tunnel Company in order to fundraise for the construction of the tunnel, and by 1878, it was complete. The Sutro Tunnel ran from Dayton to Virginia City, but this 10 by 12-foot-wide tunnel connected to a myriad of other local mines, stretching 3,600 feet long. The tunnel was a huge hit, and used as a model for all kinds of other mining towns across the nation, and was used up until the 1940s, closing as a result of mismanagement, waning silver production, and WWII. 

Sutro Tunnel Tours

So, ready to see this storied tunnel? Up until a few months ago it wasn’t possible, but all thanks to the Friends of Sutro Tunnel, private tours and special events are now offered throughout the year. Since launching a full-blown restoration project in the fall of 2021, phase 1 includes preservation of the portal, various tunnel cave-in cleanup, along with restoration of the candle and oil building, warehouse porch, mule barn, carriage house, and machine shop. The goal of this massive effort is not only to preserve the historic integrity that’s withstood time, but make this innovative site accessible for anyone who’s interested in seeing it.

The Friends of Sutro Tunnel typically holds monthly events that are donation based. Beyond, your donation level may score you two private tour tickets, and other specialty swag like commemorative medallions and more. Best yet, an impressive 100% of your donation goes directly to conservation efforts. For more information on special events, private tours, and other fundraising efforts, get in touch with the Friends of Sutro Tunnel directly at (775) 882-7777.


The Historic Sutro Tunnels are open for special events and private tours only. For more information on special events and scheduling a private tour, get in touch with Sutro Tunnel Restoration Project managers directly at (775) 882-7777.


Admission to the Sutro Tunnel varies based on event, however an astonishing 100% of donation proceeds will go towards the restoration of this historic site. Depending on your donation level, you can receive private passes to the Sutro Tunnel, commemorative medallions, Vintage Comstock Drainage Company certificates, and more. For more information, get in touch with restoration project coordinators directly at (775) 882-7777.

This Location:

North Central, Nevada




North Central