Nevada Ghost Towns: In Search of Gold Mining Camps and Abandoned Buildings

Join us (Russ & Kerry) as we recently traveled through Nevada and followed the legends of gold and treasure along US-95 in search of ghost towns, mining camps and more.

Nevada Ghost Towns: In Search of Gold Mining Camps and Abandoned Buildings

  • Start: Las Vegas, NV
  • Stop 1: Rhyolite, NV
  • Stop 2: Boppo’s Pond (just outside of Beatty, NV)
  • Stop 3: Gold Point, NV
  • Stop 4: Goldfield, NV
  • Stop 5: Coaldale, NV
  • Stop 6: Hawthorne, NV
  • Stop 7: Unionville, NV


What’s in here, another body relevant relatable and reliable information from full-time our viewers, we packed up and left Vegas heading north on us 95 for Riley about a hundred and twenty miles as a crow flies northwest of Las Vegas, a spectacular ghost town nestled in the bullfrog Hills of Nye, County Nevada, just west of Beatty and east of the awesome, an infamous Death Valley.

The last time I was there was 20 years ago back then you could walk in and amongst the remnants of the old buildings. Not so now, as most buildings are fenced off, it sprung up in 1905 during a massive gold rush that sent thousands of gold-seekers, developers, miners, and service providers flocking to the area, many of them settling in rhyolite, which was near the Montgomery Shoshone mine, the region’s biggest gold producer by 1907 rhyolite had electric lights, water, mains, telephones, newspapers, a hospital, a school, an opera house, and even a Stock Exchange. Estimates of the town’s peak population vary widely, but sources generally place it between 3,500 and 5,000 people when the gold started to die out.

So too did rye light. Most everyone had left the dying town by 1911 in by 1920. The only thing left in rhyolite were tin cans, buildings, and ghosts of the past. We camped nearby at Babbo spot, which offers flat ground spectacular views, and free camping. This little oasis is busy with trout, golden-eyed ducks, and even a majestic great blue heron, whose size will make you say, wow late in the afternoon, two wild burros wandered down the mountain road and headed directly for the edge of the pond, paying no mind us or the other Campers, we were all visitors, they were the locals and this was their watering hole after the burros disappeared back into the hills.

We took a late afternoon hike which turned into a climb up an east-facing bluff, overlooking our campsite, something on its Ridgeline caught our eye and turned out to be the ruins of an abandoned mining apparatus. Papa’S pond was only supposed to be an overnight stay, but it enticed us to stay a few more days we packed up and moved on. We were aiming for Tonopah or at least to get within hollering distance of it as a miles passed by. We turned off at u.s, 95 and pointed our motorhome down Nevada State Route 774 and followed the two-lane highway to where the blacktop ends, where the blacktop and the dirt road meets his gold point a well preserved. Little ghost town in Esmeralda County.

There are few people still living in the area of which we only saw one who tossed us a friendly way through a dirty window of one of the old buildings. Otherwise we are alone and left to explore. Gold point is an old name from an 1800s discovery of that precious metal found in the area. More recently, in 1902 silver was discovered. Then the old gold camp was revived and renamed horn silver, though today the little ghost town is once again known by its old name of gold point.

In 1905, the great western mine company began operations and discovered a rich silver vein which brought a stampede of miners to the camp before long businesses sprouted up, including as many as 13 saloons, the town peaked at a population of around 1,000 people,.After a couple hours of poking around goal point we headed for gold field, which our research indicated was a semi ghost town. At first glance, gold field looked like a bust. It appeared to be more of a almost forgotten, weathered little desert town than a true ghost town.

That’s when we ran into Brian who is a local store owner, Brian actually owns a few shops, one of which was part Museum and party. Antique shop stops by and has a chat with. Brian, he’s got some treasure hunting stories for you, and if you’re lucky he’ll show you some finds that’ll knock your socks off Permenter off Solingen and There’s your shoot stuff for your step. His name is where he lived and there are your lightning bolts. that’s crazy and, of course, this as a sergeant or do you think about it, you wouldn’t have a general or a major inc. Don’t run a little mining camp, we pulled into a lonely little spot. Just off the 95, the darkness was all-encompassing, but a glance to the heavens will leave you slack-jawed and mesmerized by all the stars.

I think I hadn’t seen stars like that and well in forever, really we packed up and headed north on 95 on our way to Walker Lake. For a few nights about 40 miles west of Tonopah, we saw what looked like a cluster of buildings off in the distance. At first, we thought it might be a County storage yard for road construction equipment. But as we rolled up closer the graffiti and broken buildings told us this place was abandoned and worth pulling in to check out. This place was once a small community known as Coaldale. It was abandoned and died out in the early 1990s. Exactly how long does an area need to be abandoned before It’s considered a ghost town, I’m not sure the answer, but it was pretty neat walking around this deserted little village.

Coaldale is a former mining town and, like a gold point, is located in Esmeralda, County Nevada Coaldale had a store cafe, motel, and a service station as late as 1993, though still standing, they now abandoned. comes in here my body, [ Laughter ]. I sure hope nobody kills my mother-in-law who lives at 1903, six Pine Street Scottsdale Arizona. Consider it done. Oh, my goodness we’re at Sportsman’s Beach on Walker Lake in Nevada. As we drove down to our campsite. I noticed signs along the roadway that pointed out water levels from the past 1921, 1930 1946, and the excitement inside me is growing.

I am for sure, going to metal detect this site. Look at this view. Guys, let’s see. Oh, It’s a lot of rock down here. Still in the hole, oh there, it is looking at that had a little lure first fight of the day cuckoo. This makes it so much easier to find targets, as you can see here. You know you can’t see anything, but this sees right through it. There, it is look at that. Oh, that’s, another red devil, that is another red devil. I don’t know how old these are, but that’s a cool one. I’ve not seen a design like that sweet, I’m kind of liking it. These, I don’t know, maybe I’ll start a collection of old lures or something that was kind of cool. I like that.

Okay, I’m just gonna start collecting these things. Obviously, where I was It’s deeper water, so people were fishing here, but this is cool man. I like finding these kinds of things, to be honest with you, this one’s a little bit gnarlier than the others, but you know what I’ll take it to look at that one that is super cool. I don’t see these like this anymore. These have got to be old, like I said, I’m below the 1920 tideline. So I’m thinking these are old, older, er, anyways super cool, I’m loving these things alright got another lure here these they like these spoons, apparently out here.

I can’t believe how many of those spoons I’m finding – I mean It’s cool, I’m actually thinking as I come through here every year, I’m just gonna get into coming down to this Beach and digging these old spoons. These old lure spoons It’s another spoon. Little red devil. I just think these are so cool that I didn’t care about them before, but now that I find it a bunch of them, I’m a collector. This is the closest we’ve come to an actual campsite since we left Vegas 6 days ago.

We have a nice level spot with a firing picnic table, trash bins, no hookups, but with our solar and water tanks. We don’t require them. The air temps are in the high 50s on our first day and the water temps feel about the same. It’s not a tad colder, and this thing that no matter the temperature I like to jump in natural bodies of water and every state we pass through. Oh ok, here we go. Oh my my legs, eight! Okay! Today’s goal is to reach Winnemucca some reason.

I keep calling it wickiup to look at this old place. We found we’re up here in the little Foothill area, a ghost town called Unionville in Nevada just outside of wickiup. This is a cool building. It looks like they’re in the middle of refurbishing it now. So I’m glad we got it before they got all the refurbishing south of the i-80 and west of State Route. 400 is Union bill in its heyday, the 1870s there are about 1500 people who lived here, including Samuel Clemens, also known, as Mark Twain, probably a rat about a rattlesnake, very cool old wall. Right there stone wall yeah thick, it is well.

You could tell that’s old, my goodness beautiful over here wow look at the mountains up there gorgeous. Alright, let’s go find some more happiness. Happy! Happy happy! You know! How’d you get here. You were just in the window Clemens reference Unionville in one of his travel diaries as 11 cabins and a Liberty pole, the cabin II stayed in is still standing, and It’s referred to as Mark Twain’s cabin to this day.

Today, the Union bill has about 20 residents. There’s absolutely no cell or Internet coverage in the area, but we barely noticed this as we’re caught up in its beauty with Winnemucca still a fair distance away. We found an old abandoned building which turned out to be an old Indian reservation school. All right guys. Just came across this cool old abandoned, it looks like a school just off a 95 here in Nevada wow.

This is awesome check this out, yeah very cool you could tell this – was the old playground area here very cool old building a little spooky. I don’t know why but a little freaky It’s during the day and all, but when I got up in that window, I heard a rumble and stuff moving it. Just kind of you know that pit of your stomach, where just like, oh you know, I kind of got that a little bit but very cool building. I loved stopping off at these old abandoned places and checking them out all right, get back in Boone here, hitting the road on our way to wickiup.

Just after we cross the state line in Oregon, the winds really picked up. Boone our class, a Motorhome, was getting battered from side to side. I struggled to keep the 32-foot beast within the lanes. There was no place to pull over, even if I wanted to and believe me. I wanted to yes, you’ve ever driven and an RV for sure anything we took it slow, but it was stressful to the point of my hands and wrists hurting from gripping the wheel so hard for so long.

Thankfully, our stop for the night is at a campground that has hot springs as soon as we arrived, we booked one of the bathhouses and each enjoyed a hot soak. I even jumped into the natural hot spring pond on-site outside air temperatures were in the 20s, but the water temperature was well over a hundred. I can’t believe how beautiful this is. You know sometimes the treasure isn’t something that you find physically, something you find emotionally or psychologically up here or in the heart, something that brings a smile to your face. Can’t stop smiling beautiful,

Jason Smith

Former Marine, IT Guy & Builder of Websites.  I have 5 US states left to visit. I enjoy hot springs, adventures, hiking, photography, sci-fi, wine, coffee & whiskey.  I am fluent in sarcasm, name that tune, & speak in movie quotes.  I spend most of my time building websites, fixing computers, metal detecting, magnet fishing and gaming occasionally.

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