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A Quick Drive through Rhyolite Ghost Town in Death Valley National Park

Tonya Prater, Owner

Visiting Rhyolite Ghost Town Death Valley national Park

Rhyolite in Death Valley is the largest ghost town in the national park.  Since one of the items on my bucket list was to see a true ghost town on our cross-country road trip, naturally I wanted to see the largest.

Rhyolite Ghost Town in Death Valley

But after driving for what seemed like hours through Death Valley, my husband was anticipating the return of civilization and my kids, who were bemoaning the lack of internet, were eager to reach Las Vegas before nightfall.

Union Pacific Train Car at Rhyolite Ghost Town

To keep the peace, I consented to shorten our drive and head out of the park. So I was surprised to see a sign for Rhyolite signaling the turn off for the ghost town.

Rhyolite Ghost Town in Death Valley National Park

My husband decided we could spare a few moments and began to follow the signs. Within minutes we had arrived at the bottle house roadside attraction on the outskirts of the decrepit historic townsite. 

Rhyolite Ghost Town

We quickly drove through the Rhyolite ghost town, stopped for a quick restroom break at the provided bathrooms and hopped back inside our vehicle.

remains of the ghost town

As I gazed across the barren landscape it was hard for me to comprehend that Rhyolite Ghost Town had been one of the largest cities in Nevada in the early 1900’s. The town grew with the promise of gold but began to decline quickly with a financial crisis in 1907.

Rhyolite Mercantile

It didn’t take us long to drive through and even though there were many places I was tempted to step out of the vehicle to explore further, many of the buildings are surrounded by barbed wire, a fence, signs, or both, warning visitors of rattlesnakes.

The threat of even catching a glimpse of a rattler was enough to keep me firmly in the vehicle, which made my family very happy.

Metal Sculpture near Rhyolite

My love of roadside attractions made me want to explore the Goldwell Open Air Museum but my husband insisted I “photograph what I could” as we drove by.

Have you explored Rhyolite Ghost Town in Death Valley National Park?

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Death Valley has several ghost towns, this is one.

Kate @WildTalesof...

Saturday 22nd of February 2014

What a fascinating spot to explore! I'm trying to think if I've seen a ghost town...I don't think I have, but the closest was a town that had to be relocated to make way for the Hanford site in southeastern Washington. The building remnants still remain... Great photos!

Lisa Goodmurphy

Friday 21st of February 2014

It looks fascinating but I'm afraid that I would be photographing from my car window - the thought of seeing a rattlesnake terrifies me!!


Friday 21st of February 2014

I'm glad that I'm not the only one with that fear! They actually have nice bathrooms right on the edge of the ghost town and we stopped because we'd been driving for hours, but my wimpy self was so worried that a snake would be in the bathroom, I barely remembered why I was there!

Tales Told From The Road

Sunday 16th of February 2014

Death Valley is one of the most amazing (and varied) places on earth. I've stayed there twice after flying into Las Vegas and renting a car.


Monday 17th of February 2014

I wasn't expecting Death Valley to be as beautiful as it was. The name just does not conjure positive images. I'd love to return and visit some of the other ghost towns in the park.


Saturday 15th of February 2014

I love the landscape. It's hard to imagine that this was a bustling town less than a hundred years ago. Thanks for sharing.

Mary W.

Friday 14th of February 2014

We drove cross country this past summer and that would have been neat to see. We went through NM, AZ, NV, and CA and couldn't believe how desolate it was. We were also ready to get back to civilization. It was a very boring drive through many parts. We are doing it again this summer and I will have to look it up this time and maybe stop and check it out.


Monday 17th of February 2014

Mary, we also drove through NM, AZ, NV and CA. Did you see my road trip posts? It may give you some ideas for your upcoming trip. I'd love to take another trip out west. Next time around, we'll go through the northern states and down the Pacific NW into California so we can see the Redwoods. We were bummed to miss them this time around. Protection Status
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