Nevada’s Ghost Towns

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The old courthouse in Belmont. Photo by Sydney Martinez/TravelNevada
The old courthouse in Belmont. Photo by Sydney Martinez/TravelNevada

When most people think of Nevada, they think of Las Vegas, with its pulsing strip and vibrant nightlife. But if you venture away from the bright lights, you may find yourself in several towns with very few people…or none at all.

Nevada has many ghost towns. With promises of fortune, they blossomed and then disappeared, some as quickly as they came. Here are the ghost towns you should visit in Nevada, whether you are looking for a fright or taking a peek into the past.

Belmont, Nevada

The carving in the Belmont courthouse. Photo by Travel Nevada
The carving in the Belmont courthouse. Photo by Travel Nevada

If you look in the Belmont courthouse, you can find a chilling piece of graffiti. It isn’t the appearance that makes it unsettling, but rather the meaning now that time has added a dark history to it. It reads, “Charlie Manson 1969 Family.”

While there is no way to really know if Charles Manson wrote this, a member of his cult, or some prankster, many believe it was left by him. Even the relation to him is enough to be a little unsettling. In 1969, Belmont had one full-time resident. Her name was Rose Walter, and before her death, she swore that Charles Manson and some of his followers had hung around in the abandoned courthouse.

Now, Belmont is home to fewer than a few dozen residents. Though if you make the trip, you can stop into Dirty Dick’s Saloon for their famous Bloody Mary.

Rhyolite, Nevada

Ghost towns: A statue at the open air museum. Photo by Chris Moran/TravelNevada
A statue at the open air museum. Photo by Chris Moran/TravelNevada

Rhyolite is a classic ghost town. The town experienced a monumental boom as word of gold spread. As soon as the money ran out, though, people quickly moved on to the next venture. In its heyday, there were a large number of buildings constructed, from schools to homes. Two of the prominent buildings left today are the bank building and the bottle house. The Cook Bank, which would have cost around $2 million to build today, stands somewhat intact with its safe. And the bottle house is, as it suggests, a house made of bottles. There is even a small museum in town for those interested in seeing Rhyolite in its glory days.

Nearby, visitors can also stop at the Goldwell Open Air Museum and take in the sculptures and artwork, existing where it seems improbable.

Berlin, Nevada

Ghost town relics at the Nevada Ghost Town Berlin, taken inside Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park in Central Nevada. Photo by TravelNevada/Sydney Martinez
Ghost town relics at the Nevada Ghost Town Berlin, taken inside Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park in Central Nevada. Photo by TravelNevada/Sydney Martinez

Though many places in this list are old, this is where you should go when you are looking for actual fossils. While it contains a mine and a ghost town, it is also home to Berlin–Ichthyosaur State Park. Here, visitors can see the Ichthyosaur Fossil Shelter, an excavation site housing the fossils of ichthyosaurs — prehistoric marine reptiles that swam in Nevada 225 million years ago.  Fossil Shelter tours run from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Metropolis, Nevada

Ghost towns: The remnants of the schoolhouse. Photo by Flickr/Martin Konopacki
The remnants of the schoolhouse. Photo by Flickr/Martin Konopacki


Metropolis, which was actually started as an agricultural community, was hit by tragedy. Misfortunes, including plagues, a devastating fire and drought ended the town in the 1930s. That is the other unique thing about Metropolis. It didn’t start the same time as other ghost towns; it was more recent. The most prominent remaining structure is the remains of the entryway to the school.

If You Go:

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