As you visit these ghost towns, consider that every
piece of rusting machinery and bit of wood represents
a part of our past. Please treat them with the respect
these "Outdoor Museums" deserve. Do not remove,
burn or disturb anything.
1897 marked the year Ballarat came into being. The main
mine was the Radcliffe which produced 15,000 tons of
gold ore from 1898-1903. The town was named after an
Australian gold camp and was home to 400 people in 1898.
Several Death Valley legendary figures lived there.
Ballarat is privately owned and the site of several
adobe ruins. It is located off the Panamint Valley road
west of Death Valley.
Chloride City became a town in 1905 when the Bullfrog
strike brought people into the area to re-work old mining
claims. It became a ghost town the following year. There
are numerous adits and dumps in the area and one grave
of a James McKay, of whom nothing is known. In addition,
there are remains of 3 stamp mills. It is located off
a four wheel drive road 3.5 miles east of Hells
Gate or off the dirt road 7 miles further east at the
Park boundary. Turn right after the cattle guard.
This town was built around a copper strike in 1905.
Water had to be hauled into the town and was sold
for $15 a barrel. The town grew to a population
of 2,000 and was known for its lively magazine,
The Death Valley Chuckwalla. By 1909 the mining
had collapsed without ever showing a profit and
people left for other areas. There are no ruins
left in Greenwater, which is located south of Dantes
View off the Greenwater Valley gravel road.
Originally this town was to be named Harrisberry after
the two men who found the gold that launched it in 1905.
Shorty Harris later took credit for the strike and changed
the name of the town to Harrisburg after himself. Nevertheless,
Pete Aguereberry, one of the original strike finders,
spent 40 years working his claims in the Eureka gold
mine. Harrisburg was a tent city that grew to support
a population of 300. Today nothing remains of the town
but Petes home and mine which are located to the
right two miles down the dirt road to Aguereberry Point.
Copper and lead claims had been filed in the area
as early as 1905 but it wasnt until 1926
that the area was heavily mined. In February,
Charles Julian, the flamboyant promoter became
president of the towns leading mining company,
the Western Lead Mines. Julians promotions
were responsible for bringing great numbers of
people into the area and in April, 1926 the town
was laid out with 1749 lots.
Two things contributed to the
demise of the town by 1927. One was the financial
downfall of Charles Julian and the other was the
playing out of lead in one of the main mines.
The area is scattered with mines, dumps, tunnels
and prospect holes. There are remains of wood
and tin buildings, a dugout and cement foundations
of the mill. The town is located on the Titus
Canyon road. This is a one way high clearance
unpaved road that sometimes requires 4-wheel drive.
It was called the toughest, rawest, most hard-boiled
little hellhole that ever passed for a civilized
town. Its founders were outlaws who, while hiding
from the law in the Panamint Mountains, found silver
in Surprise Canyon and gave up their life of crime.
In 1874 the town was at the height of its boom with
a population of 2,000 citizens. By the fall of 1875
the boom was over, and in 1876 a flash flood destroyed
most of the town. The chimney of the smelter is
the most prominent remnant of the town's heyday.
The site of Panamint City is accessible via a 5
mile hike from Chris Wichts Camp, which is
located 6 miles northeast of the ghost town of Ballarat.
Mining in the area continued on a sporadic basis
up until recent times. The ruins of old Panamint
City were added to Death Valley National Park in
October of 1994.
This was the biggest town in the Death Valley
area boasting a population of 5,000-10,000 people.
During its heyday from 1905-1911 it contained
2 churches, 50 saloons, 18 stores, 2 undertakers,
19 lodging houses, 8 doctors, 2 dentists, a stock
exchange and an opera. The town contains numerous
ruins including a Bottle House, the train depot,
remains of a 3 story bank building and the jail.
It is on BLM land and is accessible by passenger
car. Rhyolite is located 4 miles west of Beatty
and 35 miles from the Furnace Creek Visitor Center.
This town was founded in 1906 when 2 prospectors
were on their way to the strike at Harrisburg and
found gold. The town reached a population of 700
and became famous as the site of the only hanging
to take place in Death Valley. It occurred when
Hootch Simpson, a saloon owner who had fallen on
hard times, tried to rob the bank, was foiled in
the attempt, and later went back and killed the
owner of the store in which the bank was located.
During the night the townspeople hanged Hootch.
According to legend, he was hanged twice. The second
hanging was to accommodate news photographers who
missed the first hanging. No one was ever arrested
for the hanging of Hootch Simpson. Skidoo is located
off the Wildrose road on a high clearance unpaved
4wd road. Nothing remains of the town except an