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Boo! These Close-To-Reno Ghost Towns Will Blow Your Mind

Posted by Jeff Sallan on Monday, October 14th, 2019 at 3:25pm.

Did you know that Nevada is home to more ghost towns than actual populated towns? With more than 600 ghost towns scattered through the Silver State, there are many places where you can explore the vestiges of history. Here are four ghost towns that are less than a day’s drive from Reno:


Photographer: Sydney Martinez/Travel Nevada

Ghost Towns: Berlin Ghost Town

Preserved by the state of Nevada, Berlin gives visitors a peek into what it was like to live in a turn-of-the-20th-century mining camp. A self-guided tour features signs with information about the dozen remaining buildings as well as Berlin’s history. Visitors can see a 30-stamp mill where ore was processed and an assay office where the quality of the ore was determined. Inside the wooden miners’ cabins stand dusty iron bedsteads, chairs, dressers, and tables with cutlery, dishes, and bottles. At its peak in 1908, Berlin and its Union suburbs supported about 250 people, but three years later the area was in a permanent decline


Courtesy California State Parks

Ghost Towns: Bodie State Historic Park

It’s not technically in Nevada, but it’s close enough. Like Berlin, Bodie State Historic Park is a ghost town frozen in time and protected by the state. Visitors can walk down the deserted streets of this California gold-mining town that once had a population of nearly 10,000 people. Designated as a National Historic Site and a State Historic Park in 1962, Bodie’s remains are preserved in a state of arrested decay. Only a small part of the town survives, and building interiors remain as they were and stocked with goods. Today this once thriving mining camp is visited by tourists, howling winds, and an occasional ghost.


Photographer: Sydney Martinez/Travel Nevada

Ghost Towns: Fort Churchill

Also preserved in a state of arrested decay, the ruins of this United States Army Fort tell the story of the Wild West. Built in 1861, Fort Churchill protected early settlers making their way West, along with Pony Express Riders delivering mail throughout the region. The Fort became a supply depot for the Union Army during the Civil War, and 200 soldiers called Fort Churchill home in its peak years. In 1869, the Fort was deserted, and its adobe structures were auctioned for a mere $750. In 1932, the Daughters of the American Revolution spearheaded efforts to have 200 acres of land—including the Fort ruins—transferred to the State of Nevada.


Photographer: Sydney Martinez/Travel Nevada

Bonus: Virginia City

While Virginia City has an active and thriving population, it also has its fair share of ghosts. The 19th-century mining town made a name for itself when eager prospectors struck it rich, and the Comstock Lode was born. The small mining camp quickly became one of the largest cities west of Denver, reaching a population of about 25,000. Today, its wooden sidewalks welcome visitors searching to see a piece of the past—or a ghost. An abundance of museums and historic buildings give visitors a chance to walk in the steps of Mark Twain, or to try to meet his specter.

With ghost towns so close to Reno and Sparks, it’s easy to take a day trip into the past. Which will you explore first?

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