Rhyolite Ghost Town

Nevada is home to a wide array of outlets for adventure. Regardless of your unique taste for fun – be it trying out local restaurants, dancing worries away in premium clubs, or exploring outdoors with historical value – there’s a place in it for you!

If the last-mentioned adventure appeals to you, then a visit to Rhyolite Ghost Town will most likely satisfy your adventurous spirit. Read on as we reveal more about this town that was once highly sought-after for its promise of gold.


Upon the discovery of gold alongside quartz in Bullfrog Hills in 1904, Americans from all walks of life were drawn to move to the area. The event caused several boomtowns to emerge. One of them was Rhyolite.

bottle house rhyolite ghost town
The bottle house in Rhyolite was featured in the 1925 Paramount Pictures Film The Air Mail. Image courtesy of RETROFUTURISTIC and Atlas Obscura.

As Rhyolite houses the Montgomery Shoshone mine – the most promising mine back then – many chose to settle in Rhyolite. In 1906, it became the most populous town in the area.

It was also in 1906 that people began to urbanize the town, making it more conducive for living and working. According to the National Park Service, establishments in Rhyolite back then include:

  • Stock Exchange
  • Board of Trade
  • Hotels
  • Retail Stores
  • A school that can accommodate up to 250 children
  • Ice plant
  • Two electric plants
  • Foundries
  • Machine Shops
  • A Miner’s Union Hospital

Indeed, Rhyolite was at its peak that year! Back then, nobody probably predicted that it will begin to falter just the following year.


In 1907, two individual investors made a speculative investment in a copper mining company. Unfortunately, they lost big time. The event triggered a panic. As Americans feared for the security of their money on banks linked to the two investors, they started to demand cash withdrawals at the same time.

banks rhyolite ghost town nevada
The Financial Panic of 1907 triggered the death of Rhyolite. Image courtesy of Wikipedia and Atlas Obscura.

Soon after, running on banks was prevalent! People lost faith in banks and trust companies in general. They worry that these financial institutions also provide loans for risky investments. In U.S. history, this six-week-long run on banks was referred to as The Financial Panic of 1907.

The nationwide financial crisis led to the closure of several businesses, banks, trust companies, and mines. Of course, Rhyolite was affected. It started to lose power. In 1916, it became an abandoned town officially. Since then, Rhyolite was featured in several films like The Air Mail.


You can find several eye-catchy establishments and unique art installations in Rhyolite Ghost Town. Some of them are as follows:

  • Train station
  • Three-story banks
  • Small buildings
  • The bottle house. People built the bottle house using Budweiser glass bottles. In 1925, Paramount Pictures restored it for the movie The Air Mail. Locals also restored it recently.
  • Sculpture of a miner and his penguin – height: 20 inches; material: metal
  • Pixellated sculpture of a nude woman – height: 20 inches; material: cinder blocks
  • Life-size, fiberglass sculpture of the 12 disciples by Belgian artist Albert Szukalski
Rhyolite Ghost Town is home to unique art installations. Image courtesy of JRILATOS and Atlas Obscura.

Since 1984, several artists installed sculptures in Rhyolite. They did it as part of the Goldwell Open Air Museum.


  • You can access Rhyolite Ghost Town by car. On the way to Beatty, Nevada, it is 35 miles from the Furnace Creek Visitor Center.
  • The heat is extreme in the ghost town during the summer, so carry lots of fluid!
  • Note that there are no facilities in Rhyolite except for a latrine-style toilet.

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