Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley Ghost Towns

Mercantile at Rhyolite Ghost Down near Death ValleyNo trip to Death Valley would be complete without visiting one of the area’s many ghost towns! The conditions of the ruins vary, but all serve as reminders of Death Valley’s rough and tumble mining history.

Ballarat

Ballarat, a gold mine camp, was home to 400 people in 1898. Today, it is privately
owned and the site of several adobe dwellings. It is located off the Panamint Valley Road, west of Death Valley.

Leadfield

All that remains of Leadfield are the skeletons of wood and tin buildings, a dugout and cement foundations of the mill. Despite a brief influx of people in 1926, the town failed in 1927. This former lead mine is located on Titus Canyon Road. High-clearance 4WD vehicles are highly recommended on this route. Farabee's Jeep Rentals, located in the park across from the Inn at Furnace Creek, offers daily rentals of Jeeps outfitted for rugged backcountry road use.

Panamint City

Called the “toughest, rawest, most hardboiled little hellhole that ever passed for civilized,” Panamint City boomed in 1874 with a population of 2,000 people. In 1876, a flash flood destroyed much of the town, leaving little more than the chimney from the mine’s smelter. The town is accessible via a five-mile hike from Chris Wicht’s Camp, located six miles northeast of the ghost town of Ballarat.

Rhyolite

The largest ghost town in Death Valley, Rhyolite boasted a population of nearly
10,000 people during its peak between 1905–1911. At its height, the town contained two churches, 50 saloons, 18 stores, two undertakers, 19 lodging houses, eight doctors, two dentists, a stock exchange and an opera. Many ruins remain today, including the Bottle House, the train depot, the remains of a three-story bank building and the jail. Rhyolite is located four miles west of Beatty on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) property, 35 miles from the Furnace Creek Visitor Center. Visitors to Titus Canyon often include a stop at Rhyolite ghost town before starting the one-way drive.

Remember that every piece of rusting machinery and bit of wood represents a part of the past. Please do not remove, burn or disturb any of the remains.

Image: Mercantile at Rhyolite Ghost Down near Death Valley. By Ask_Kelly. Source: OhRanger.com.