They rise from sagebrush and barren earth like fragments of hope, pieces of dreams unfulfilled. Once bustling, thriving towns, what survives are foundations and framework, mostly, and whispers on the wind of tales long forgotten.
Located in Galena Canyon 10 miles south of town on SR 305, take a right where you see the last set of tall trees and its only 3 miles up to the canyon. Gold, silver and lead was discovered in 1863 with 100 residents by 1868. It had a population greater than Battle Mountain and almost became the County seat. Mining increased into the mid-1870's but afire in 1889 mining ended until WWI. Today it is a quiet place to explore the remnants of the past scattered throughout the canyon.
Tucked into some of Nevada's most breathtaking country, close to a recreation area offering some of the best fishing and camping in the state, Jarbidge is manna for the soul, and the very difinition of "getting away from it all." The town has a store, hotel, post office, cafe and a couple of bars that'll link you to civilization when your yondering is over. Take State Route 225 from Elko for 55 miles, where you'll find a turn-off that will take you to Jarbidge via a series of narrow country roads.
Soon after cattle king Colonel E.P. Hardesty sold his U7 ranch northwest of Wells the so-called Pacific Reclamation Company bought land and in 1911 advertised what they promised would be a planned community of 7,500. A four-block business district with concrete sidewalks and street lights sprang up and the railroad laid track to the booming town. The grandest three-story hotel between Reno and Salt Lake City opened, followed by the brick high school.
Pacific Reclamation sold lots of land but water rights were not secured so Metropolis withered. Today sagebrush stands higher than most of the ruins, exceptions being what remains of the high school, the hotel, and a monument to mark the passing of hard-working pioneers doomed to see their dreams evaporate into the high desert air.
In Wells, NV, from 6th Street go north on Lake Avenue and cross tracks to 8th Street, then turn left on 8th Street and continue for 12.7 miles, take the first left after you cross the cattle guard, drive 2.5 miles.
This 1907 mining camp, located between Elko and Winnemucca, clings stubbornly to life with 20 residents and enough business to supply the locals and the traveler alike. It's said that original settlers wanted to name the place Gold Circle, but were rebuffed by postal authorities, who said Nevada already had to many towns with "gold" in their names. So, Midas it became, and - defying the encroaching dust - Midas it has stayed.
A soon-to-be-marked recreational trail system connects 135-year-old mining roads winding through five ghost towns and past several historic mines approximately 38 miles south of Wells.
An old west enthusiast's dream, Spruce is literally covered with mine remains including ore sorter towers, ore cars, rusty smelters, mine shaft air pumps, water systems, and log cabins of all types. Miners found ways to haul huge boilers and machinery up to the seven and eight thousand foot levels with sixteen-mule teams.
A mining town whose population once rivaled modern-day Elko, Tuscarora's 15 or so remaining residents - including acclaimed potter Dennis Parks - reside over a town with a plucky sense of pride and a genuine lock on history. Remnants of its 1870-1890 boom abound! Its cemetery is one of the most picturesque you'll find anywhere. Follow State Route 225 to the "Tuscarora turnoff," (Highway 226) and drive the long gravel road to your destination.