16 Ghost Towns Near Las Vegas: Exploring Deserted Gems

April 3, 2024
Old structure in a ghost town near Las Vegas

Nevada’s landscape is peppered with echoes of the Wild West, we recommend stepping into this historic slice of American life by visiting the various ghost towns near Las Vegas. Once bustling with prospectors and pioneers during the gold rush of the 19th century, these now-abandoned towns offer us a window into the daring days of our mining past.

And It’s not just for history buffs! Adventure seekers and photographers can find plenty to explore among these scenic desert towns, each with a story to tell and a mystery to unravel.

From communities that sprang up overnight to the relics of old saloons and railways, the ghost towns near Las Vegas remind us of the fleeting nature of boomtowns. While some have nearly vanished, worn away by the desert winds, others stand defiant against time, their structures preserved as a testament to the lives once lived there.

The History & Origin Of Ghost Towns Near Nevada

There are countless stories etched into the barren landscapes surrounding Las Vegas, where ghost towns whisper tales of Nevada’s spirited past. Primarily, these abandoned settlements sprouted from the rush of gold, silver, and other mineral discoveries. Mining boomed in the late 1800s and towns rapidly emerged due to the sudden influx of people chasing the promise of wealth.

These towns served as hubs for hardworking miners and their families, boasting saloons, schools, and banks. But these days, the ghost towns near Las Vegas feature sagging buildings and rusted relics.

There are a number of reasons why these towns faded away:

  • First, the mines eventually ran dry. With nothing else to extract from them, the people living in these towns left to pursue opportunities elsewhere.
  • Secondly, not everyone got rich mining. In fact, most people didn’t. When certain economic conditions were no longer favorable, the potential profit simply didn’t exist anymore.
  • And last, the shift of how we traveled across the country via railroads led to these towns becoming isolated.

1. Rhyolite

The Rhyolite ghost town near Las Vegas, Nevada

When you think of ghost towns near Las Vegas, Rhyolite is one of the first that comes to mind. Just 120 miles northwest of Sin City near the eastern edge of Death Valley National Park, the remnants of Rhyolite give us a peek into Nevada’s vibrant gold rush history.

Founded in 1905, this town blossomed after gold was discovered in the surrounding Bullfrog Hills. While desolate now, the streets used to buzz with excitement as thousands flocked here, enticed by the lure of gold. In its prime, the town boasted all the amenities, from electricity and running water to telephones and even a stock exchange.

If you visit Rhyolite, keep in mind the interesting nature of the town’s rapid rise and fall. The era of prosperity was short-lived; by 1910, the mines began to falter, and the population dwindled. Now, what remains are poignant ruins that tell us stories of bygone aspirations. You’ll be able to explore structures like the old train station, the bank building, and the schoolhouse.

Here are a couple unique spots to check out when you visit:

  • The Tom Kelly Bottle House: A house made entirely of glass bottles that’s become an iconic image of Rhyolite.
  • The Train Depot: One of the few complete buildings remaining, which once welcomed newcomers eager for fortune.

2. Nelson Ghost Town

An old building in the Nelson Ghost Town

Rolling through the Mojave Desert (about 55 minutes from the Las Vegas Strip) is Nelson Ghost Town. It’s found in Eldorado Canyon, home to the famed Techatticup Mine.

Once the heartbeat of gold rush fever in Southern Nevada, this town was known for its wealth and lawlessness. And when you visit, the rich history of gold mining tales becomes evident. The Techatticup Mine (the jewel of Nelson) was the oldest, richest, and most notorious gold mine in the area.

We loved visiting Nelson Ghost Town because of the unique atmosphere. The abandoned buildings and Wild West backdrop make it something special. You’ll see rusted cars, weathered wooden structures, and a panoramic vista of the desert. You can even go on a guided tour if you want to get the full experience!

3. Belmont, NV

An abandoned mine in Belmont

Nestled in the heart of Nevada is the ghost town of Belmont. Back in 1865, Belmont came to life amidst a silver rush, rapidly growing as hopeful miners flooded the area. It’s hard to imagine now, but at its peak, around 2,000 people called this place home.

These days the ghost town provides stunning visuals that are great for photography. There’s an old saloon you can walk by, a courthouse, and a number of fallen structures that are worth exploring.

Even though we’d still consider this ghost town to be near Las Vegas, getting there takes around four hours. But if you’re looking for something unique and aren’t afraid of a little drive, (we recommend stopping by some other towns on your way) Belmont is worth a visit.

4. Gold Point, NV

Gold Point Nevada

Gold Point is a hidden treasure in the vast Nevada landscape, and isn’t too far from Las Vegas. 

Originally called Lime Point, this town saw its fair share of name changes (from Hornsilver to Gold Point). The reason is because the purpose of the mine evolved over the years. And in the 1930s Gold Point actually struck silver! This meant there was more than enough economic opportunity for the town to thrive, and it’s when things really picked up.

These days there’s tangible charm in the rustic remains. We recommend wandering around to each of the aged, sun-faded structures, each with a story to tell. Thanks to local efforts, especially that of Herb Robbins, many buildings in Gold Point still stand today and are worth visiting (there’s even a bed and breakfast).

It’s about 185 miles from the glitter of Las Vegas, but a trip to Gold Point is a leap back into a world where fortunes were dug right out of the earth.

5. Chloride, AZ

Chloride, AZ

In Arizona’s landscape of history and deserts, we find Chloride, a hidden gem of a ghost town that’s just a couple of hours away from Las Vegas. Your trip to this old mining town takes us back to a time when around 2,000 people lived here looking for prosperity.

Today, about 350 people keep the spirit of Chloride alive. Unlike many ghost towns near Las Vegas that evoke images of tumbleweeds and desolation, Chloride maintains a quiet charm. Though many miners left to serve in WWII, the town didn’t disappear. A number of structures survived, offering a tangible connection to its bustling past.

Here you can drive around and admire old houses, some adorned with rustic metal yard art. There are also plenty of opportunities to learn about Chloride’s mining past that dates back to the 1860s when precious minerals were first discovered in the area.

6. Calico, CA

Tourists visiting Calico Ghost Town

Tucked away in the Mojave Desert, Calico is more than just a blip on the map between Las Vegas and Los Angeles. It’s the ideal peek into the Wild West, and one that we found especially fascinating.

Born in the 1880s during the silver rush, Calico’s hills were once bustling with miners. Over a span of 12 years, 500 mines churned out $20 million in silver ore. When the silver ran dry, so did Calico, turning it into the ghost town we know today.

But these days many original structures are still standing, and the town has been turned into a tourist-friendly destination. You can try gold panning or go to the Mystery Shack, where water seems to flow uphill. We also recommend going to Maggie Mine where the desert vistas are a stark contrast to the life once lived in these hills.

And even though there’s a charge to explore this revamped ghost town, it’s very affordable (and young kids are free). Out of all the ghost towns near Las Vegas, this is one of the most family-friendly.

7. Nipton, CA

An old hotel in Nipton, CA

Nipton, California is a historic railroad town with a story that conjures both intrigue and a touch of whimsy.

In its heyday, it wasn’t just any old outpost; Nipton was a bustling hub during the gold rush, enticing miners and entrepreneurs with the promise of prosperity. Even when you visit it now, Nipton retains its charm. It’s not merely an abandoned relic, but a “living” ghost town, immortalized by the few who still call it home.

While visions of transforming Nipton into a thematic retreat have faded, the town’s authentic spirit thrives. It offers us a tangible link to the American West—so much so that it’s not hard to imagine the echoes of railroad tracks and mining triumphs as you explore.

Here, in the Ivanpah Valley near the California-Nevada state line, Nipton is a ghost town that invites you on a journey through time.

8. Goodsprings, NV

The Pioneer Saloon in Goodsprings

Just a 45-minute drive from the bustling Las Vegas Strip, Goodsprings is an authentic glimpse into the Wild West era. This lesser-known ghost town near Las Vegas has a certain charm that history enthusiasts and casual explorers alike can appreciate.

Goodsprings thrived in its heyday, established over a century ago. It was once a booming town where people primarily mined for silver, which makes it an integral part of Nevada’s rich mining heritage. The town was named after Joseph Good, a local rancher well-known for his cattle that grazed nearby.

For history buffs, walking through Goodsprings feels like stepping back in time. The Pioneer Saloon (which is still operating today) offers us a tangible connection to the past, with its bullet holes and antique charm. It’s said to hold the spirits of patrons from long ago, thus enhancing its allure.

And if you’re just looking to get away and enjoy some quiet, the surrounding desert combined with sweeping vistas offers a break from the neon lights and cacophony of Vegas.

9. Oatman, AZ

Burros in Oatman

Oatman, AZ is a neat place with a quirky charm. This ghost town is situated about two hours southeast of Las Vegas and is easy to find on Historic Route 66, sandwiched neatly between Kingman and Topock.

Founded in the early 1900s, Oatman became a hotspot when two prospectors struck a $10 million gold find. Now, it gives us a glimpse into the past with its well-preserved buildings and the legacy of the mining era.

One of the most notable reasons to check out Oatman is the wild burros roaming the streets! These friendly descendants of the original miners’ burros will add a unique touch to your visit (and we think they’re quite cute).

There are also fun tourist activities like staged gunfights in the streets that make you feel like you’re stepping straight into a Western movie. There are also plenty of great local shops that offer all sorts of handcrafted goods. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to pick up some unusual souvenirs!

On top of that, you can go on a number of tours through the old mines if you want to feel what it was like to prospect and work in the town. It’s really quite fascinating!

10. Zzyzx

Zzyzx

Zzyzx, pronounced “Zye-zix,” is one of the quirkier stops you can make when it comes to ghost towns near Las Vegas. Located roughly 105 miles from the city, its backstory is quite different from many others.

Originally named Soda Springs, it was renamed Zzyzx in 1944 by Curtis Howe Springer, who wanted it to be the last word in the English language. Springer claimed to be a doctor and established Zzyzx as a health spa. Turns out, he wasn’t a licensed physician, and his claims of mineral “cures” didn’t end up having any substance behind them.

So what draws people to Zzyzx now? It’s the offbeat history and the stunning contrast of the rugged desert meeting the serene Soda Dry Lake. The remnants of Springer’s health spa are now part of the California State University Desert Studies Center. And while these facilities are only open to researchers, you can still explore the outside.

11. Jarbidge, NV

Jarbidge community hall

Jarbidge is a remote mountain mining town in Nevada that’s quite underrated if you’re looking for ghost towns in the area. Back in the day, it was a bustling hub due to the gold rush. It was even where the last stagecoach robbery took place!

There are still residents and some active businesses like an inn, but it’s far less quiet than in its glory days when there were about 1,000 residents. Getting there can be a bit tricky, since you’ll need to navigate a network of unpaved roads (make sure to keep an eye on the weather conditions before your trip).

Some visit Jarbidge simply to enjoy nature. There’s a lot of great hiking and camping in the area. If that’s your kind of trip, this ghost town should be on your list!

12. Manhattan, NV

Manhattan-NV

Manhattan, Nevada is an interesting ghost town to visit if you want to look back on the mining past of the area. While other towns on our list seem much older, certain parts of Manhattan look like they went through a more modern decline.

Initially founded in 1867, Manhattan’s heyday came a bit later in 1905 with a second, more significant silver strike. The town flourished briefly, adorned with all the hallmarks of a thriving mining town. They had a post office, saloons, and even an opera house!

But now, you’ll find yourself roaming quiet streets that give off echoes of the past. What remains are weathered structures and abandoned mines..

Manhattan, NV is a bit further out than some of the other ghost towns on our list, with a drive time of four hours if you want to check it out. But despite the drive, many people make the journey for the history and the beauty of the area.

13. Seven Troughs, NV

Remnants of the Seven Troughs Ghost Town

Seven Troughs Ghost Town is located in northwestern Nevada, about 470 miles from Las Vegas. It was created in the early 1900s, and grew significantly during the gold rush. The town was named after the seven parallel canyons in the area, each with a trough-like appearance.

Back in its heyday, Seven Troughs was a bustling mining community. But, like many boomtowns, the bust came knocking. By the 1920s, everything was drying up, and folks started to leave, turning Seven Troughs into the ghost town we know today.

While it’s definitely an interesting place to visit. The drive from Las Vegas and the amount of structures still standing (there aren’t many), make it better as a stop-off if you happen to be passing through. We don’t think there’s enough there to make it a worthwhile stop as the feature of a road trip.

14. Pioche, NV

Pioche

Pioche is a historical gem that tells tales of the Wild West. This ghost town is just under three hours from Las Vegas, and will captivate you with its charm and storied past.

Established in the mid-19th century during the silver mining boom, it was known for its lawlessness and dubbed “the wildest town in the West.” The Boot Hill Cemetery is the resting place for many miners and those who lost gunfights.

This isn’t a pure “ghost town” as you might imagine it though. Built around the older structures are newer homes and businesses that show how time just keeps ticking on.

15. Delamar, NV

Delamar

Delamar, NV is a ghost town near Las Vegas that has definitely been eroded by time. While it used to be one of the larger towns in the area at that time, there never was a second act. is one of those places that seems frozen in time. It’s about 140 miles from Las Vegas, making it a reasonable drive if you’re looking to explore a bit of history.

Interestingly enough, the town earned the nickname “The Widowmaker” due to the hazardous mining conditions that claimed many miners’ lives. And these days, all that’s left are the walls of some structures and a few old mine shafts.

While some people have actually gone into the mine shafts and explored, this is obviously dangerous and not something we can recommend doing. It’s also worth noting that since it’s so remote, you’ll want to have food and water with you on your trip out.

16. Goldfield, NV

A hotel in Goldfield, Nevada

This ghost town is a real slice of history that happens to be right on the path between Reno and Las Vegas. Back in its heyday, the town was quite the mining hub, but now it’s what you’d call a “living ghost town”.

Goldfield actually boasted the largest population in Nevada at one point! It was home to the famous Goldfield Hotel and served as the epicenter of the state’s mining economy. Like many mining towns in the area, its fortune ebbed as the ore ran out, and folks moved on in search of other opportunities. These days there are still some locals that live in the town, but the population is only around 200 people.

Closing Thoughts

As you can tell, there are a number of unique and interesting ghost towns near Las Vegas that are just begging to be explored. Some of them have been fully converted into tourist hubs, and others barely have any structures left standing at all!

So if you’re in the Las Vegas area and want to do something a bit different, hop in the car and check them out!

Don't Miss

An example of things to do and activities in Hocking Hills

13 Things To Do In Hocking Hills: Unique & Fun Activities

Hocking Hills State Park is located in southeastern Ohio and
One day in Seattle

One Day In Seattle: Complete Itinerary & What To Do

Seattle is a beautiful and lush city located right on