Straddling the border of California and Nevada, Death Valley National Park is the hottest, driest and lowest national park terming itself as "Land Of Extremes". One can see an antithesis of landscapes where snow frosts on towering peaks of mountains are on one side whereas wildflowers, meadows, and oases are on the other side of the desert. Established in 1994, this place is hauntingly incredible and becomes more mysterious by beholding the "ghost towns" in and around it.
The Most Famous Ghost Town: Rhyolite, Nevada
One of the most popular ghost towns of Death Valley is Rhyolite, Nevada. This town is neither in the park nor California albeit off the nearby border of the town Beatty, Nevada. Rhyolite had been a town that came into prominence due to the gold strikes and grew exponentially from 1905 to 1910.
Key Features Of Rhyolite, Nevada
Rhyolite Bottle House built out of adobe mud instead of wood to hold together 50,000 glass bottles is the first figure to strike here, built by Australian Tom Kelly.
Goldwell Open Air Museum started as a result of the creation by Belgian artist Albert Albert Szukalski near the abandoned station of Rhyolite. The artwork has the ghostly figures wrapped in plaster replicating "The Last Supper" by Leonardo Da Vinci. An art festival called "Albert's Tarantella" is held every October here.
Another one is Railroad Depot, a Spanish-style building costing around 130,000$ back then, which ran trains to Rhyolite in 1906. It later turned into a casino, a bar, and then a museum ultimately.
The tallest building of Rhyolite is "Cook Bank" which cost around $90,000 back then. Having Italian marble floors, mahogany woodwork, electric lights, and plumbing, it got shut in 1910 with the demise of Rhyolite. Ultimately every resident left this by 1920.
Ballarat, A Supply Point For Death Valley's Mines
Founded in 1896 as a supply point for mines in canyons of Panamints, the town was named by an Australian immigrant after the Australian town famous for mining. It hosted schools, saloons, hotels, post office, church, jail, morgue and has been a center for fun and relaxation. The town's demise started in 1903 and "Seldom Seen Slim" has been the last prospector of Ballarat.
Key Aspects of Ballarat
The remnants of Shorty's cabin stand north of Ballarat. He was one of the miners of Ballarat. Also, there are small ruins of other buildings and very few people own private property.
Panamint City, Home To Silver
Situated in the Surprise Canyon in the remote Panamint Range of Death Valley in Southern California, Panamint Valley had silver mines. Using Surprise Canyon, silver was discovered and heavy investment was done by the Senator of Nevada.
Key Aspects of Panamint City
A challenging hike starts from Surprise Canyon Trail and the hike is about 5 ½ miles to the ghost town, which is a one-way trip. One needs to undergo waterfalls and thick creeks in between. The next part of the hike involves Limekiln Spring and Brewery Spring, which later ends up in the ghost town at 6300 feet. Hiking is rewarded by seeing a lot of ruins and is recommended in spring or fall.
Gold Point, Nevada, Is Still Home To Some
A mining camp culminating in a proper town, the town had residences, post offices, and saloons. It was popular for deposits and high-grade horn silver. Mining started slowing down in 1909 and currently, the population in this town is 6 people. A guy named Walt Kremin and Herb Robbins has their major claim in this town at present.
Key aspects of Gold Point, Nevada
History buffs can visit this town and enjoy the main streets, abandoned buildings, authentic mining cabins, also a Brunswick pool dating back to 1909, and pay a visit to the miner cabins.
The Oldest Of The Bunch, Chloride City In California
Hailing back to the discovery of silver-lead ore in 1871, Chloride city is one of the oldest historical sites of Death Valley. It was discovered by August Franklin and later his son George claimed their stakes. The town included an assay office, bunkhouse, cookhouse, mines, blacksmith shops, and cabins of workers. Currently, there are few crumbling buildings left. Located in the Funeral Mountains, Chloride city is accessible off the highway between Beatty, Nevada, and Death Valley National Park.
Key aspects of Chloride City
Old automobiles, a boarding house, mercury processing plant, mine shafts, and the water tank can be found in the form of ruins. Also, the place is popular for mountain biking and scenic driving as well as a retreat for solitude. At the summit, it encompasses a great view into Death Valley and Nevada.
Getting To Death Valley
The nearest major airport is Las Vegas, Mc Carren which is two hours away from the park's main visitor center at Furnace Creek. If one is driving from Las Vegas, one will be surpassing Death Valley Junction, a ghost town with a tiny population. Well, there is no single entrance to Death Valley but three main entrances. The first entrance is from Highway 395 at Lone Pine. The second one is coming up Panamint Valley Road from Ridgecrest. The third entrance is entering west into the park from Death Valley Junction.