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Nevada Ghost Towns Near Las Vegas

Updated: Mar 16

Vintage cars and tin buildings with wooden houses in the center of Goldfield, a ghost town near Las Vegas.©AlonzoWright for Manifesting Travel.
A typical scene in Nevada's ghost towns, Goldfield, NV. Vintage cars and tin buildings with wooden houses. ©AlonzoWright

Driving through Nevada’s ghost towns is a lot like visiting Hollywood movie sets. It’s hard to believe places like these still exist. Imagine making a wrong turn and ending up in an alternate universe where time stopped more than a century ago; that’s pretty much how it feels. These old mining towns are nestled in the bleached desert mountains and lined with rusted out cars and machinery in various states of corrosion. The cemeteries are decaying with crumbling headstones, there are signs warning of the dangers of abandoned mineshafts, there's an old general store and a local watering hole.


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An abandoned cabin with a rotting roof stands in the desert brush with mountains in the background. Rhyolite, NV a ghost town near Las Vegas.©AlonzoWright for Manifesting Travel.
An abandoned cabin in Rhyolite, NV just outside Death Valley. Vintage cars and tin buildings with wooden houses. ©AlonzoWright

But here’s the thing you have to remember about real ghost towns; they’re not tourist traps, they’re sites of unimaginable highs and lows. At the turn of the century, these towns were a whirlwind of tremendous wealth and prosperity, tragedy and violence, and every extreme human emotion you can think of in a very short period of time. Once the land was drained of its precious metals, the prospectors moved on to the next mine, leaving behind entire operations and sometimes loved ones who didn’t make it in the unforgiving desert.

Nevada’s historic boom towns are some of the best preserved in the country, and surprisingly, many of them are still inhabited. While most people will come to the region to see Las Vegas, right outside the glittering city limits are lonely stretches of highways that carve right through the heart of the great American West and ghost town experiences you can't get anywhere but Nevada.

An antique sepia photo of miners in a horse in buggy from 1907.
Prospectors in Eldorado Canyon with a boarding house and mill in the background, circa 1907. Photo courtesy of UNLV Special Collections.

Nelson Nevada Ghost Town

43 miles southeast of Las Vegas

Population: 34