Travel Abandoned Places in Nevada

I discovered this article from 2016 and realized that I have visited all the towns below except for Bonnie Claire and Coaldale. So, on my next trip through Nevada I have a couple of new places to visit. If you make your way out to the desert in the next year or two, think of taking this road trip.

We Dare You To Take This Road Trip To Nevada’s Most Abandoned Places

Truth: Nevada is home to scads of ghost towns, mostly mining boom towns that were abandoned when the mines closed.

Dare: To visit a bunch of these places on a Nevada abandoned places road trip. I’ve put together an itinerary that will guide you through several different abandoned towns in the Battle Born state. At 449 miles, the drive time is just under eight hours:

We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:

The places I’ve picked for your Nevada abandoned places road trip just barely skim the surface of the state’s abandoned places. There are other equally interesting points, even nearby, worth exploring if you have time. I tried to put together an itinerary that was doable over a long weekend. Feel free to view and customize your route on Google Maps.

And away we go …

Founded in 1905, Rhyolite is one of Nevada’s largest ghost towns. A former mining camp for the Montgomery Shoshone Mine, it was once a thriving area with somewhere between 3,500 and 5,000 people. The town had two schools, a train station and even electricity, but in 1909 the mines ran dry and by 1920 the population was almost zero.

Rhyolite’s ruins include the Bottle House (above), built in 1906 with around 50,000 bottles thrown away by the saloon, the railroad depot, school and jail. Just south of the town is the Rhyolite-Bullfrog cemetery as is the Goldwell Open Air Museum. Art pieces at this outdoor sculpture park include The Last Supper, Ghost Rider, Lady Desert: The Venus of Nevada and Sit Here!

About 8.5 miles or 14 minutes north of Rhyolite on U.S. 95, you will pass by a former brothel, Angel’s Ladies. A crashed airplane sits next to the brothel’s bright and large sign:

The airplane has been there since 1978, when the brothel put on a publicity stunt that went awry. The brothel itself is closed to the public.

Next up on your Nevada abandoned places road trip is the ghost town of Bonnie Claire:

A former milling center for nearby mines, Bonnie Claire experienced a few ups and downs between 1880s and 1954. The infamous, unfinished Scotty’s Castle was built 20 miles from the town (in California), and all materials used to build it passed through Bonnie Claire’s railroad station during the mid-1920s. Today, all that’s left of Bonnie Claire is the ruins of the mill, mine and several stone buildings.

There’s a little more action in your next stop, Gold Point, population seven:

First settled by ranchers and miners during the 1880s, Gold Point picked up steam when silver was struck in the early 1900s. The population soared to more than 1,000 people but before 1910, most residents moved away. In 1927, however, gold was found and the town again saw success, until government orders shut down operations due to World War II. After the war, mining continued but an accident at the Dunfee Shaft shuttered the mine.

The town is now home to less than 10 people, but it’s a hot bed of activity (though you may not see it). Preserved and restored, there is a standing main street, a saloon and a bed and breakfast. Visitors can tour the mine for a price and rent town cabins for the night. The town is also available for special events and tours.

If you so choose, you can spend the night in Gold Point or your next stop, Goldfield:

The living ghost town of Goldfield is a former boom town. In fact, it was one of the most prominent towns in Nevada during the early 1900s with all the amenities of a large city. Though much of the city was destroyed by a fire in the 1920s, there are several remaining properties in Goldfield including the Charles S. Sprague House and the Rectory building of the First Methodist Episcopal Church.

Supposedly haunted, the Goldfield Hotel is a four-story hotel built between 1907 and 1908. It operated into the ‘40s and was one of the most prominent buildings in Goldfield. A self-guided walking tour is available.

At the southern end of Goldfield is the International Car Forest of the Last Church, a bizarre roadside attraction featuring spray-painted vehicles nose-diving into the sand as well as in other interesting configurations:

Though limited, dining and lodging are available in Goldfield.

Next stop, the ghost town of Blair:

With a population of about 700, Blair was established in 1906 by The Pittsburg Silver Peak Gold Mining Company. The town housed a mill, cyanide tanks and a small railroad as well as a post office, saloons, a newspaper and a hotel. A decade later in 1916 the town was completely dead. Here you will see mill ruins, old building foundations and abandoned old cars.

Your next stop, on the other hand, is a bit more contemporary:

Coaldale is an eerie 20th century ghost town comprised of fire-scorched, mid-century buildings crumbling in the hot desert sun. There’s a bunch of houses, a motel, a restaurant and bar, and lots of evidence of a more modern existence like stove tops, a refrigerator, a television, mattresses and a lawn mower.
The EPA discovered a leak in the gas tanks beneath the service station in 1993. The station went out of business followed by the restaurant. The town quickly dwindled from there. Today it’s a modern-day ghost town.
Ione Ghost Town
“The Town That Refused To Die,” Ione was on its way to becoming a boom town after silver was discovered in 1863. The town sprung up as a trade and milling center, and had more than 100 buildings by 1864. It was even the county seat. As gold strikes elsewhere drew people away Ione’s population declined. There were some other ups and downs, but the post office’s closure in 1959 was the final nail in the coffin.

Gas and limited groceries are available in this rustic ghost town.

Your next stop, Tonopah, is not abandoned. Far from it. It’s a thriving community with a handful or so of cool attractions. Among those is the abandoned Old Tonopah Cemetery:

Located next to the infamous Clown Motel, the Old Tonopah Cemetery (1901-1911) is believed to be haunted (though it is not considered the most haunted place in Tonopah). Some of Tonopah’s pioneering citizens are buried here, including several who died from the mysterious “Tonopah Plague” of 1902.

Tonopah has plenty of services including gas, food and lodging.

The final stop on your Nevada abandoned places road trip ghost town of Belmont:

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, Belmont was a major boom town during the 1870s, but it didn’t boom for long. The town had four stores, two saloons, five restaurants, a stable, post office, bank, school, two newspapers, a telegraph office and more. It was practically dead by 1905.
The Belmont courthouse is one of the most prominent of the remaining structures in Belmont. Other buildings still standing include the Cosmopolitan Saloon, the Monitor-Belmont Mill and the Belmont Courier Newspaper office.

That concludes your Nevada abandoned places road trip. This trip can also be approached from the north and there are several options for altering your route as well as plenty of places to spend the night along the way. Have a great road trip!