Tag Archives: ghost town

USA Road Trip 2012 (5): Rhyolite and Beatty

On our way from Death Valley to Las Vegas, Rhyolite  and Beatty – both located in Nevada – were amongst our stops.

The road sign to Rhyolite ghost town is easy to miss. This town started in 1905 as one of several mining towns that appeared during the gold rush. Its fortune did not last long and by 1920 Rhyolite’s population had already dropped close to zero. The ruined buildings soon became a tourist attraction and set for movies.

Nowadays remnants of the Bottle House, the Opera House, the school, the hospital, the general store, and several other buildings offer great opportunities to photographers and ghost town enthusiasts. The surrounding mountains of Nevada contribute to the feeling of abandonment that characterises this place.

Beatty, the “Gateway to Death Valley”, is only 4 miles east of Rhyolite, and is a common stopover on the way to Las Vegas. The economy in this town is largely tourism-based and caters for those travelling between Death Valley and “Sin City”.

The wide and largely empty roads give you the feeling of a frontier town. There isn’t really much here: a handful of houses, a couple of pubs, a couple of motels, a small museum. And a brothel… Yet there were some good photo opportunities for someone like me, naturally attracted to quirky and/or solitary places. Apart from that, Beatty is a handy overnight stop where to break your long drive between the California and Nevada main tourist sites.

Next: USA Road Trip 2012 (6): Zabriskie Point is not just a movie

A photo from my archives: Rhyolite ghost town

Rhyolite Nevada USA "ghost town"

 Rhyolite, USA, 2012.

As you drive through Nevada after leaving the Death Valley National Park behind, you will come across the small ghost town of Rhyolite. There are no big road signs, so you’re likely to miss it if you’re not careful!

This town started in 1905 as one of several mining towns that appeared during the gold rush. After reaching a population of about 10,000 in a couple of years, its fortune was quickly over and by 1920 its population had already dropped close to zero. Rhyolite’s ruined buildings soon became a tourist attraction and set for movies.

Walking around this ghost town’s well preserved ruins is definitely a fascinating experience: remnants of the Bottle House, the opera house, the school, the hospital, the general store, and several other buildings offer great opportunities to photographers and ghost town enthusiasts. The surrounding mountains of Nevada contribute even more to the feeling of abandonment that characterises this place. And you won’t see many tourists there, instead you’ll probably find you are the only one(s).

By the way, do you know where the name “Rhyolite” comes from? Rhyolite is an igneous rock composed of light-colored silicates, usually buff to pink and occasionally light gray.