Hunting for abandoned places in Nevada? You’re in the right place. Below are 19 of my favorite abandoned places across the beautiful desert landscapes in Nevada.
Abandoned Places In Nevada
1. Sandhill Road Tunnels
Sand Hill Road’s northern part used to end in the center of the parking lot of Stanford Shopping Center, and its only four-lane section was from Interstate 280 to Santa Cruz Avenue.
During the late 1990’s dot-com boom, commercial real estate on Sand Hill Road was more costly than nearly anywhere else in the planet for several years. A hidden network of subterranean tunnels beneath the bustling streets and bright lights of Las Vegas serves as flood channels, diverting rainwater away from businesses and houses.
These subterranean passageways, which stretch for hundreds of miles and are only three feet high in most areas, have been largely taken over by the city’s homeless population. Crime is a significant concern for anyone accessing the tunnels because there is no fixed lighting source, no surveillance cameras, and no law enforcement presence. A section of the underground network has also earned a reputation for strange happenings.
Of all the abandoned places in Nevada, the tunnels beneath Las Vegas are among the most dangerous. Flash floods can quickly fill the drains and fights have been known to break out among those that unfortunately have to call the drains home.
2. Neon Sign Graveyard
The Neon Museum, established in 1996, is a non-profit organization dedicated to collecting, maintaining, analyzing, and presenting classic Las Vegas signs for educational, historic, arts, and cultural purposes.
The Neon Museum complex contains an outdoor exhibition area known as the Neon Boneyard Main Collection, a Visitors’ Center built inside the former La Concha Motel lobby, and the Neon Boneyard North Gallery, which houses additional recovered signs. The Neon Museum’s collection spans the 1930s to the present day, documenting developments and trends in sign design and technology.
There are about 200 unrestored signs in the Main Boneyard that are illuminated with ground lighting at sunset, as well as numerous restored signs that are on all the time. Personal and commercial photo/video shoots are also allowed in the Graveyard.
The Museum is open seven days a week, with different hours depending on the season. Although you have to pay to enter the Neon Sign Graveyard, it’s totally worth it to see some of the old abandoned signs that once lit up the Vegas strip.
3. Fontainebleau Las Vegas
The Fontainebleau Las Vegas is located on a 24.5-acre site that was originally home to the El Rancho Hotel and Casino as well as the Algiers Hotel. Fontainebleau Las Vegas was announced in May 2005. A collection of banks had agreed to supply funds, but Fontainebleau sued the group in April 2009 after the group refused to continue supporting the project.
Construction was significantly hampered, and in June 2009, it was put on hold. Witkoff and Marriott International established a collaboration in February 2018 to rename the resort The Drew Las Vegas in honor of his late 22-year-old son, Andrew Witkoff.
In the fourth quarter of 2023, Fontainebleau Development plans to open its long-awaited 67-story Las Vegas Resort and Casino.
The property’s building schedule is being fulfilled and will be met in time for the Fontainebleau Las Vegas to open. The Fontainebleau will contain over 3,700 hotel rooms, over 550,000 square feet of convention space, a collection of restaurants, boutiques, nightlife options, and a casino when it is finished.
Of all the abandoned places in Nevada, the Fontainebleau is easily one of the most overlooked locations.
4. Echo Bay Marina
According to the National Park Service, the marina closed after it was put up for bid and no one was interested in running it, in part due to Lake Mead’s dropping water levels. The man-made reservoir, which was built during the construction of the Hoover Dam in the 1930s, has now reached an all-time low in terms of water level.
The Overton Arm of Lake Mead was home to Echo Bay Marina. The marina offered a 365-slip marina, fuel dock, small boat rental, retail, land-based gasoline, dry boat storage, small boat maintenance, restaurant, and motel during its peak. The National Park Service closed it down in 2013.
It is surrounded by a white “bathtub ring” of mineral deposits that serve as a visual reminder of how much water has dropped. A view of Echo Bay Marina, which is covered with desert plants and weeds, conjures up images of a Nevada ghost town. It’s hard to believe that Echo Bay Marina was once bustling with people and boats. Calville Bay, 30 miles distant, is now the closest gas station.
5. Wheel of Misfortune
It’s just a few hundred feet past the Lake Las Vegas entrance, off of Lake Mead Parkway, behind Laker Plaza and Lake Mead Boat Storage. The Wheel of Misfortune was painted inside one of the Three Kids Mine’s abandoned “thickener” pits, which was open from 1917 to 1961. In the manganese industry, the pits were used to “leach a processing pulp.”
A graffiti artist named Aware broke security at an abandoned mining site outside of Las Vegas in 2012. He and his crew created a gigantic wheel in the style of the Wheel of Fortune.
The majority of the wheel’s spots state $000, while some have inscriptions like “Lose a Home,” “Lose a Job,” “Bank Owned,” and “Lose All Hope.” Considering how long it’s been exposed to the weather; the Wheel of Misfortune is holding up quite well.
While most abandoned places in Nevada lack great graffiti, the Wheel of Misfortune is a rare example of how old ruins can be transformed by a talented artist.
6. Delamar Ghost Town
Delamar Ghost Town, dubbed the “Widowmaker” because of its lethal gold mine, is the gold star of southeastern Nevada ghost towns, with an outstanding array of still intact stone masoned structures. In 1889, gold was discovered in the Delamar Mountains. Delamar had become the place to be by 1897, with thousands of residents flocking to the town to support a hospital, opera house, churches, a school, and a plethora of shops, stores, and saloons.
Delamar earned the moniker “Widowmaker” after the gold was crushed and processed, resulting in toxic silica dust. When miners in the mines and mills breathed it in, they developed silicosis swiftly and died prematurely. Delamar, like most of Nevada’s great ghost towns, was largely destroyed by fire in 1900.
A visit to Delamar Ghost Town today will allow you to see various stone structures that have stood the test of time in the Mojave Desert for more than a century. Many foundations and entire structures, as well as two historic cemeteries and mill sites, can be seen—made of native rock, which sets it apart from most other Nevada ghost towns.
Like many abandoned places in Nevada, this ghost town is quite isolated, so plan accordingly when you make your journey.
7. Overton Beach Marina
Overton Beach Marina lies on the western bank of Lake Mead’s Overton Arm, where the Virgin and Muddy Rivers converge. The patio outside the marina store offers a spectacular view of Lake Mead, which is framed by the Virgin Mountains.
During wetter times, the northern extremity of Lake Mead’s Overton Beach was a lively entry point for boats and anglers. The National Park Service was compelled to close a convenience store and long-term trailer community that had offered sweeping views of the reservoir because of the declining water level since 2007.
“The whole feeling when you go in there now is kind of depressing for someone who’s been here a while and knows what that place can be,” said Jim Holland, park planner for Lake Mead. “It’s frustrating to me. That used to be a key lake access point.”
8. St. Thomas Ghost Town
A ghost town within the park’s limits was submerged when Lake Mead first filled up in the 1930s. St. Thomas thrived as a halting station along the Arrowhead Trail between Los Angeles and Salt Lake City when it was a Mormon town.
St. Thomas is located near the Overton Arm of the Muddy River, which feeds Lake Mead, in the park’s northern section. The approach route is dirt and occasionally uneven, so guests in low-riding vehicles should be cautious.
Due to the dropping water levels of Lake Mead as a result of severe drought conditions, vestiges of the town may now be seen. Visitors may now walk the ghost remnants of a classic western town, which was once flooded more than 60 feet above the tallest structure.
While St. Thomas isn’t the most fascinating of the abandoned places in Nevada, it’s a beautiful ruin to photograph especially against the night sky.
9. Apple II House (Survival Town)
In 1955, a nuclear test was conducted on this simulated town. The test, code-named Apple II, took place in Yucca Flats on the Nevada Proving Grounds as part of Operation Teapot. Between 1951 and 1963, the Nevada test site hosted roughly 100 above-ground nuclear tests. Spectators sat on their rooftops in downtown Las Vegas to see the mushroom clouds soar into the sky.
The victor of an atomic pageant was dubbed “Miss Atom Bomb.” Downwinders developed high rates of leukemia and other malignancies quickly. Nuclear testing was carried out beneath the ground until 1992.
At varying distances from ground zero, homes were constructed using diverse materials. Except for their proximity to the blast, two of the houses that survived the blast were identical. A house was constructed 7,800 feet away. The second house was built at 10,500 feet. Remains of them can be witnessed.
Of all the abandoned places in Nevada, visiting a survival town is the most difficult. The test site is controlled by the US Government and can only be visited via tour. It also shared a road with the infamous Area 51. 👽
10. Cedar Pipeline Ranch
About 22 miles northwest of Rachel is Cedar Pipeline Ranch. A natural spring nourishes a grove of trees, making this an ideal setting for a ranch. There’s even enough water to make a few small ponds here. The Fallini family holds the grazing rights in Railroad Valley and owns the ranch. Cedar Pipeline Ranch has been abandoned despite its good location.
The surrounding desert is exceedingly dry, save for this “oasis,” which is surrounded on two sides by the limited Nellis Range complex. The Nevada Test Site (NTS) was the site of numerous surface nuclear tests in the 1950s and 1960s, with little or no safeguards taken to prevent radioactive dust from spreading.
If you’re interested in ghost communities, the most of the around half-dozen wooden buildings are in decent shape and worth examining. Please keep an eye on your step if you do so. Even if you don’t see any cows, you will see clear proof of their frequent presence here due to the water and shade provided by the trees.
11. The Goldfield Hotel
After substantial quantities of gold were discovered on the neighboring slopes in 1902, Goldfield came to life almost suddenly. Hundreds of thousands of people went to one of the last great gold rushes in the American West.
While the Goldfield Hotel was once known as the most opulent hotel in Nevada’s biggest and wealthiest boomtown, the historic structure is now known for being one of the “Scariest Places on Earth”—and the entire country—drawing paranormal experts from all over, including the Ghost Adventures crew of Zak Bagans.
The Historic Goldfield Hotel reopened its doors for historic property tours recently. With a few exceptions, guided tours and paranormal investigations are available to the general public by appointment. It’s also worth noting that the Goldfield Hotel has little lighting, so visitors are encouraged to bring their own flashlights. Of all the abandoned places in Nevada, the Goldfield is arguably the most haunted.
12. Belmont Ghost Town
The intriguing remains of Belmont are located north of Tonopah and the extra living ghost town of Manhattan. Mining strikes dwindled as the industry grew in popularity, but it resurfaced in the 1870s. The town had four stores, two saloons, five restaurants, a livery stable, a post office, a bank, school, telegraph office, two newspapers, and a blacksmith shop, having already been the county seat.
However, the population surge was short-lived, and by 1887, several mines had closed. During World War II, airmen from the Tonopah Air Force Base utilized this chimney as a target practice area, firing their 50 caliber guns!
Wandering around the finely produced craftsmanship that has seemingly weathered the test of time is immensely fascinating. Given that the structures are over 150 years old, the fact that any of them are still standing is very astonishing. Belmont is completely off the grid, with no access to electricity, gas, or food.
13. Caselton Ghost Town
Castleton is a ghost town in southeastern Grand County, Utah, United States, located in the Castle Valley. The area was first colonized by a prospector called Doby Brown in the late 1870s or early 1880s, after a short-lived gold placer mining camp occurred here in the 1860s. By 1882, there were enough settlers to open a post office.
Castleton became vital as a supply town in 1888, when a local gold rush erupted at nearby Miners Basin. There was a general shop, a hotel, two saloons, and a few other enterprises there. The population of the city surpassed that of Moab at its peak in 1895. Castleton actually competed with Moab for the title of county seat when Grand County was formed in 1890.
The Panic of 1907 forced the closure of the area’s mines, and Castleton’s few occupants became ranchers. By 1910, all except the post office remained, and the town’s population had decreased to 50. There were six residents in 1930. For decades, a few residents remained in the ghost town, until Castleton was declared an occupied town by the county commission in 1967.
14. Rhyolite Ghost Town
Shorty Harris and E. L. Cross, who were prospecting in the area in 1904, were the catalysts for the creation of this ghost town. They discovered quartz strewn across a hill. The town exploded, with houses springing up all over the place. It was decided to establish a stock market and a Board of Trade. Hotels, stores, a 250-student school, an ice factory, two power plants, foundries and machine shops, and even a miner’s union hospital were all there.
Rhyolite was hit hard by the financial panic of 1907. Mines began to close and banks faltered during the next few years. The Montgomery Shoshone mine and mill were closed down on March 14, 1911, by the board of directors. The town’s lights and power were finally shut off in 1916.
Several relics of Rhyolite’s glory days can still be found today. Some of the three-story bank building’s walls, as well as a portion of the old jail, are still intact. The train depot (privately owned) and the Bottle House are two of the few full buildings left in town. In January 1925, Paramount Pictures refurbished The Bottle House.
Of all the abandoned places in Nevada, Rhyolite is my favorite ghost town by far!
15. Coaldale Ghost Town
The tiny town of Coaldale had formed itself by the 1930s on the precarious foundation of roadside service, having started out as a (unsuccessful) coal mining camp. A modest motel, a diner, and, most crucially, a petrol station were the only businesses in town. The station quickly went out of business since it couldn’t afford to fix the problem or upgrade its tanks.
With no more petrol to stop for, the diner and motel’s customers dried up quickly, and Coaldale, Nevada was coming to an end. The village was abandoned abruptly, leaving only its squat mid-century structures as physical traces of its presence.
The broken-down service station sign pole still sits near the motel’s dead windows today. Some of the buildings have been vandalized, but for the most part, the town still remains, waiting for future historians to reflect on its history before handing it over to roadside hucksters, as so many other ghost towns have done before it.
Like many abandoned places in Nevada, Coaldale is deeply rooted in history and place you should not pass up on your way through the state.
16. Old Tonopah Cemetery
The Old Tonopah Cemetery was founded in 1901 with the burial of John Randel Weeks in the heart of town, made from silver mining tailings (which had fully buried the graves and their markings at one point). By 1911, the number of people who had died had outgrown this first small plot, necessitating the construction of a larger cemetery to accommodate the growing life and times of Tonopah’s silver boom.
The Old Tonopah Cemetery was the final resting place for almost 300 persons between 1901 and 1911, the majority of them were victims of the Wild West’s wild and boisterous lifestyles, as well as the health and safety norms of the day. The ancient cemetery was closed because the Tonopah Extension Mine tailings continued to wash over the graves, destroying headstones.
Only about 30% of headstones are genuine antiques. The Tonopah Conservation Crew, led by Metscher, repaired several headstones using old materials, giving them a more authentic appearance. Metscher used dousing rods to mark many of the burials, an old technique for locating groundwater or other disturbances in the earth such as gravesites.
17. Hamilton Ghost Town
Shermantown, Eberhardt, Swansea, Babylon, Hamilton, and Treasure City had sprung up in the high elevation valley below Treasure Hill by the early 1870s, producing Shermantown, Eberhardt, Swansea, Babylon, Hamilton, and Treasure City.
The first structure built was a saloon, as is customary in the Wild West, but by the 1870s, one might expect to find a company offering almost any item or service. The largest town was Hamilton, which had nine assay offices, 29 attorneys, and “two saloons for every lawyer.”
The mines soon dried up, a disastrous fire broke out, and everyone moved on to more lucrative new mining camps. By 1895, the majority of Hamilton’s population had left the city.
This more than 150-year-old mining camp boomtown obviously took a pounding. Each of the buildings’ roofs are made completely of flattened tin cans. The Wells Fargo bank building, which served these areas, is still one of the city’s most photographed structures.
18. Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park
The Old Spanish Trail’s eastern terminus was rerouted from Santa Fe to Salt Lake City as a result of the Mexican-American War and the Mormon colonization of Salt Lake City in 1847. The Mormons began going through the Las Vegas grasslands.
With the dramatic increase in freight and emigrant traffic on this trail, and the necessity for security on this critical trade route, construction of a fort structure along the creek began in June of 1855, with the help of the local Paiute community. The fort was constructed of adobe bricks and consisted of four 150-foot-long walls, two bastions, and a series of two-story interior buildings when completed.
Pottery fragments, stone tools, and projectile points of Anasazi and Paiute origin were discovered during archaeological investigations at the fort site. Directly north of the northeastern fort bastion, a large number of items were discovered. On the site today, portions of the old eastern wall and southeast bastion can still be seen.
19. Metropolis Ghost Town
Metropolis is an extremely rare ghost town in Nevada. The settlement grew out of a failed attempt to produce wheat in the sagebrush areas surrounding Wells in the early twentieth century.
Due to low agricultural prices and disputes over water rights, the town had largely dried up by the mid-1930s. A lawsuit from downstream water users in the Humboldt River drainage, in particular, barred the use of agricultural water from a nearby creek.
The ruins of the school and hotel are all that remained of the once-thriving town. Apart from a few damaged relics, there isn’t much left standing. Sagebrush, a scruffy gray-green shrub that has grown back beyond its original range, is seen across the area.
Go out and explore!
That concludes our list of abandoned places in Nevada, but that doesn’t mean that’s all there is to find. Take the back roads, follow train tracks, and find some places for yourself. There are plenty of places I kept off this list so get out there and explore.