A Spooky Adventure for Van Lifers and Other RVers
Most of the ghost towns in Nevada began as boom towns. Mining towns quickly grew and then quickly outgrew the mine’s treasure. Once the mines dried up, the towns were virtually abandoned. While some of these towns still have some citizens, most are completely vacant.
Every state has some abandoned locations, but did you know that there are more than 600 ghost towns throughout the state of Nevada? A number that high means that it would take you many years to explore all of them.
To save you some time and let you experience some of the more popular locations by van or other RV, we have put together this article that highlights must-see ghost towns in Nevada.
Rhyolite: The Most Photographed Ghost Town in Nevada
When residents of the Silver State refer friends and family to the most famous ghost town in Nevada, more often than not, Rhyolite is the pick. Easily chosen for its close proximity to Vegas and Death Valley National Park, this location is also a replica of a post-apocalyptic town. It is reportedly the most photographed ghost town in Nevada.
Once a wealthy mining town, boasting over 10,000 citizens, the town grew quickly during to the gold rush. A well-rounded town, Rhyolite consisted of three railroad lines, luxury hotels, more than 40 saloons, and a stock exchange. The town crumbled just as quickly after the financial crisis hit in 1907.
Still standing today, the jail, train station, and three-story bank all make perfect backgrounds for those selfies. Guests to this ghost town location can also view the outdoor art sculptures. Another odd addition that draws some crowds is the home created out of 10,000 glass bottles.
Jarbidge: The ‘Living’ Ghost Town with a Rich History
This ‘living ghost town’ isn’t completely empty. Instead, Jarbidge prides itself on approximately 19 year-round residents. Even though there are less than 20 citizens at this location, there are two saloons, along with a post office, gas pump, and trading post. Jarbidge contains unpaved roads, with just one single intersection. The presence of two operating saloons in town may be attributed to the limited entertainment options available in the area.
Jarbidge has a rich history, having been one of the last locations of the gold rush in Nevada. It’s also known for being the site of the last stagecoach robbery in the state, which took place in 1916.
Nelson Ghost Town: Mine Tours and Abandoned Buildings Near Las Vegas
Less than an hour away from the Vegas strip, the ghost town of Nelson (originally named Eldorado Canyon) provides a much slower atmosphere than Sin City. Once a mining hub, gold was discovered in 1775. A century passed, and the city was filled with Civil War deserters. While the area had one of the largest booms in Nevada, the townspeople couldn’t end their land disputes, murders, and fights, bringing about an early abandonment of the town.
Today, mine tours are given to parties of four or more. If you opt out of the mine tour, self-lead walks to view the abandoned buildings are an option. There is an old Texaco gas station, a gift shop, and old cars scattered throughout.
Movie buffs may be interested to know that this Nevada ghost town is home to a crashed small plane that was part of the set for the film ‘3000 Miles to Graceland.’
Aurora: Nevada’s Central Ghost Town with Historical Cemetery and Mark Twain Connection
What would a ghost town be without ghosts? The centrally-located ghost town of Aurora, Nevada just one-hour southwest of Hawthorne, is home to a historical cemetery. Many senators and famous prospectors were laid to rest in this town. Mark Twain was reportedly one of the prospectors to have visited Aurora.
In fact, the town of Unionville, Nevada is one that Samuel Langhorne Clemens (aka Mark Twain) visited with his brother in 1861 and would later become the location of his book, Roughing It. This story was based on the author’s time spent mining in the western territories. He dedicated the book to his mining companion, a miner-turned-civil engineer.
Situated about 1.5 hours northeast of Lovelock, the real-life cabin mentioned in Roughing It is still standing and available for selfies in Unionville.
Stokes Castle: A Summer Residence Turned Abandoned Castle in Austin, Nevada
Anson Phelps Stokes built a summer castle for himself and his sons but left a few short months after its completion. A living ghost town that now consists of little over 160 people, the remains of Stokes Castle are still standing. In the town of Austin, founded in 1862, there are 11 National Registry historic sites to view, including this castle.
These are just a few of the many ghost towns waiting to be explored in Nevada. If you’re a van lifer or other RVer with a love for history and the paranormal, you won’t want to miss out on visiting these fascinating destinations. And if you’ve already visited any ghost towns in Nevada, we’d love to hear from you! Share your experiences and recommendations in the comments below. And use this link for a complete list of ghost towns in Nevada.