Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Shutdown Vacation in Death Valley: Rhyolite Ghost Town

The mining town of Rhyolite lies in the northeast quadrant of Death Valley National Park.  They primarily dug for gold in the surrounding hills, but only for about 15 years before it went bust, partly in conjunction with the market crash of 1907.

Visiting Rhyolite is free, and it is under the Bureau of Land Management, which is pretty hands off in comparison to other federal departments.  It would be far more work for them to close off their sites, and as a result, Rhyolite is unstaffed and open.

Not sure what was up with the house made of bottles, but they also attempted to make a model of the town, which was pretty laughable.

Not to scare you, but stay on the path and watch for rattlesnakes. 

Only thing really left of the bank is the vault.  Go figure. 

In the hills you could see mine entrances - there are actually many hills like this in the whole park.  While they are not usually closed off, it's not recommended you go exploring.  Chances are nobody would be able to find you if you got hurt and/or stuck, which is a huge risk.

They BLM recently realized the ghost town actually gets a lot of traffic, mostly because it's the only thing around for many miles and is just off the highway.  So they are actually going to try to find funds to restore the above train station.  I wish them luck, seeing as it's undoubtedly full of disease-ridden rat droppings.  Another reason not to stray from the paths or climb fences.

One of the best preserved building is the jail.

Off to the side is a public art park, with local work.  Most of it is pretty weird and/or lame, but this was kind of cool.  It's modeled after the Last Supper.  If you bring enough people, you can pose under the resin sheets doing the big arms thing.  Meanwhile it looks like a squadron of ghost Spirefires.

Rhyolite is just off the highway near Beatty, Nevada.  Beatty is a small town, but you can get gas, food, ice cream, and bulk candy at pretty cheap prices.  Try the chili at the Happy Burro.

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