You may think you have died and gone to paradise, but actually you took a left turn out of Winnemucca and ended up in Paradise Valley.

This charming hamlet of picturesque farms and ranch lands is gateway to the Santa Rosa Mountains. Large cottonwood and poplar trees hang lazily over historic buildings, some of which are relics of the town's mining days of the early 1900s.

Forty miles north of Winnemucca lies a desert oasis so pretty, it appears to have been woven between soft mounds of mountains and the silver-coated sagebrush.

Paradise Valley could be termed a living ghost town, but residents there would balk at such a distinction, favoring instead to call their tiny hamlet a refuge from the clangs and bangs of civilization.

Paradise Valley, formerly known as Camp Winfield Scott, was established in 1864 by W.M. Gregg. It was Gregg who, upon entering the Paradise Valley to prospect the surrounding Santa Rosa Mountains, first noticed the rich soil of the valley floor. He turned around, traded in his miner's pick and shovel for a plow and built a hay ranch.

Soon thereafter, many of Paradise Valley's first residents were driven out by Indians, prompting the establishment of Camp Winfield Scott in the northern part of the valley.

Paradise City, as it was known then, grew up in the 1860s as a cross between an agricultural community and a mining town. Its immediate surroundings were crop and grazing lands, but in the early 1870s, miners struck silver in the same mountains Gregg had turned his back on.

In all, between 1878 and 1890, approximately $3 million in silver was extracted. As the mining boom faded, the town never regained its 19th century prosperity, but with about 100 residents, Paradise Valley is far from a ghost town.

The Paradise Valley Bar and Grill offers a great bite to eat and plenty of libations to whet your appetite. There is also a RV Park in this little community. Working ranches and farms border Paradise, and about six miles south of town sits the Stonehouse Country Inn, a bed and breakfast and a wonderful option for the rat race weary.

Plus, there's nothing like strolling down Main Street, ice cream in hand, on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Whether visitors opt for a day trip or an overnight stay, Paradise Valley is perfect for those seeking solitude in a simple place that smells of sanity and fresh, clean air.

From Winnemucca, take U.S. Highway 95 north to State Route 290. Turn right and continue into Paradise Valley.