This tiny, dusty town is about a 40 minute drive from the sensory-overload of Sin City, and a gorgeous spot to simply breathe in the fresh air and spy relics from a bygone era when mining lined the pockets of the town’s inhabitants and lawlessness was the name of the game (thanks to deserters from both the Union and Confederate armies heading there during the Civil War).
A visit to the ghost town of Nelson yields a serious step back in time, with a super pop of color along with an over-sized smattering of knick-knacks which give this spot old school flavor …
While you can’t get into some of the buildings anymore — it’s not like they do inspections on these bad boys — you can explore the grounds of the area, which is intersected by the two-lane road which leads visitors down towards the Colorado River in Eldorado Canyon.
Be sure to take the time to investigate the little details of Nelson, which make the area so special.
The main building in the small area is filled with tokens from a the past …
Like weathered license plates …
Remember the old marketing logos for soda? If not, Nelson does a great job reminding visitors. Nearly every area includes some sort of Coca-Cola or other soda memory.
Founded back in 1775 by the Spaniards, the town became popular thanks to the discovery of gold deep in the Eldorado Canyon, which led to the creation of Techatticup Mine.
Today, visitors to the area can take a tour of the historic mine and learn more about the history of Nelson.
Antique car-lovers weren’t left out either. There are plenty of old rides forever remaining here.
According to the US Census of 2010, there are a mere 37 people who call Nelson (also known as Eldorado) “home.”
Tip: Skip the crowds and head up during that gorgeous golden light, just before the sun sets. Then, stick around to the delicious pinks and purples the surrounding peaks turn when the sun dips below the horizon.
Plus, with the stunning backdrop of the mountains which give way to the Colorado River, it is impossible not to get some fantastic photos.
Bonus tip: Don’t miss the antique war plane nose-deep in a sandy mountain. To get there, head past the airstream trailer near the parking lot and turn the corner around the barren rock/hill/mountain-type natural object.
Getting there: From Las Vegas, take I-15 South to 215 East. Then, merge onto 95 South. Stay on 95 towards Boulder City, then follow signs to 95 South (if you hit US 93 or Boulder City, you’ve gone too far). Take 95 towards Searchlight, then turn left onto State Route 165. Follow it around the mountains and you will hit this little gem. Take note: fill up on gas before you leave town. Otherwise, you may become a relic in the old ghost town yourself.
Sticking around the region for awhile and want more ghost town action? There’s also Bonnie Springs, another Las Vegas attraction, or head to California and check out the high desert Pioneertown. It’s kitschy but fun!