Nevada Has an Abandoned Town That Most People Don’t Know About


Nestled within the wide expanse of the Nevada desert is an intriguing secret awaiting discovery: an abandoned village that has mostly escaped public notice. While Nevada is home to well-known attractions such as Las Vegas and the bright lights of the Strip, most people are unaware of this hidden gem.

Shrouded in mystery and surrounded by the raw majesty of the desert terrain, this vanished town provides a glimpse into Nevada’s rich history and the passage of time. With its ancient buildings and desolate streets, it serves as a mute reminder of a bygone age. Join us on a tour of this mysterious ghost town, a forgotten part of Nevada’s rich history.

The Boom Years of Rhyolite (1898-1910)

Rhyolite’s tale began in 1898, when a prospector called George W. Winkler discovered a rich seam of gold ore. News of the discovery spread quickly, bringing a slew of fortune hunters. Within a year, a thriving community had emerged, complete with saloons, gambling halls, basic stores, and even a stock exchange.

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Rhyolite, which was called after a volcanic rock glass discovered in the vicinity, was thriving. At its heyday, the town had a population of over 5,000, 50 saloons, 35 gambling tables, and 19 lodging places. The air was charged with electric energy, a powerful combination of ambition, gold fever, and the ever-present dream of striking it rich.

The Bust and Beyond: Rhyolite’s Decline (1910–Present)

However, Rhyolite’s prosperity did not last long. The 1906 earthquake in San Francisco seriously damaged the train links connecting Rhyolite to major markets. With transportation hindered, the cost of extracting and transporting ore rose dramatically. Mines began to close, and locals, their hopes for riches dashed, began to flee. By 1910, Rhyolite was a virtual ghost town, its once-vibrant streets resonating with unnerving silence.

Rhyolite was not fully abandoned, though. A few residents hung on, hoping that the mines would reopen someday. The elements and carelessness eventually took their toll. Buildings collapsed, stores rotted, and the harsh desert heat bleached the remaining structures to a dirty gray. Despite the degradation, Rhyolite maintained a haunting beauty, a striking reminder of a bygone period.

Exploring Rhyolite Today: A Step Back in Time

Today, Rhyolite provides an insight into Nevada’s mining history. Walking across town is like going back in time. Building shells remain standing, their skeletal frames silhouetted against the great Nevada sky. The Goldfield Hotel, once a beautiful edifice catering to wealthy miners, is now a lifeless shell, with windows gaping like vacant eyes. The Bottleschool, a one-room schoolhouse made entirely of recycled beer and soda bottles, exemplifies the town’s citizens’ inventiveness.

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The Allure of the Abandoned: Rhyolite’s Cultural Significance

But Rhyolite’s fascination extends beyond its historical significance. The village has become an outdoor art museum, attracting artists and sculptors from all over the world. The most visible of these projects is the “Ghost Rider,” a 30-foot-tall, ghost-like figure made of wood and chicken wire that stands guard on a nearby ridgeline.

Rhyolite reminds us of the ephemeral nature of fortune. The town’s boom and bust cycle exemplifies the ambitions and disappointments that drove the Wild West. Today, Rhyolite is a symbol of human endurance and the enduring power of history.


Nestled within the vast Nevada desert sits a hidden gem: an abandoned settlement that few people know about. This ghost town is shrouded in mystery and surrounded by desert splendor, providing a look into Nevada’s history. From its rich gold rush days to its eventual decline, Rhyolite serves as a subtle reminder of the transient nature of fortune. Explore its haunting beauty and fascinating history today.

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