If you’re even remotely interested in a super cool ghost town expedition and itching for some off-the grid adventure, get Midas on the docket ASAP. Smack-dab center in north central Nevada is the wickedly interesting hamlet of Midas. With its only neighboring communities also being ghost towns, you know you’re in the thick of the Wild West.
After James McDuffy discovered gold at the base of the nearby Owyhee Bluffs in 1907, several mining camps popped up. With the prospecting efforts essentially set up around the quickly established towns, the miners found it fitting to call the establishment Gold Circle, as gold was encircling the settlement. Soon, another town sprung to life, called Summit. While the prospectors couldn't have come up with a more fitting name than Gold Circle, the US Government shut it down. Why? They refused to allow another Nevada town to use the word ‘gold’ in its name. Talk about a sign of the times, right? With a slap on the wrist, the townspeople settled for Midas and moved forward.
Within a short few months, so many people were drawn to Midas that it started to look like a real town. With a population of 1,500-2,000 filling the canyon, Midas soon had saloons, hotels, general mercantile shops, and even two newspapers: the News and the Miner. The only problem with this equation was the fact that the mine could only support about 250 people. So, with this slap of reality, most of the town had moved on to bigger camps by the summer of 1908.
Despite the fact that 80% of Midas’ population hit the bricks, a mill was constructed in 1909 that was relatively successful in supporting this small community. That was, until a fire blazed through it in 1922, wiping most of the mill out. Small-scale, intermittent operations continued until World War II when Midas took its final blow. At this time, the mine officially closed along with the post office.
Even though Midas most certainly faced some difficult challenges, the town has never been completely abandoned. Electricity was introduced to the community in 1989 and the town barely survives today. A handful of people live in Midas, mostly hunting enthusiasts or retirees looking to escape the hustle and bustle of big city life.
With the main street comprised of dilapidated ghost town relics peppered with new, fancy hunting lodges, the combination of old and new makes any time spent in Midas fascinating. Visitors will find that there are no services here, except a tried and true Nevada staple: a bar. Travelers can enjoy Midas Saloon & Dinner house after exploring interesting ruins, but travelers beware…even this establishment has limited open-for-business hours. Changing seasonally, Midas Saloon & Dinner House is typically open Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings to refresh road-weary explorers.
Be sure to check out unfathomably cool artifacts like the old fueling station, complete with a fuel pump and rusty truck, weathered sarsaparilla signs contrasting aged buildings and even some old mining equipment. Most certainly a wanderer’s utopia, everyone must opt for an afternoon in Midas. It certainly will be an experience you won’t soon forget.
A Few Things To Note
At Travel Nevada, we’d consider Midas to be remote. When traveling in the backcountry like this, be sure to carry adequate supplies like food, water, extra fuel and a spare tire.
Also, please keep in mind that most of the items you can take photos of in Midas are on private property. Be respectful of this non-public land so future generations can enjoy this slice of Nevada history.