Rhyolite Mercantile

Last Call for this Nevada Ghost Town

Today’s road trip takes us to one of Nevada’s most visited and easily accessible ghost town, Rhyolite. Located west of Beatty, Nevada, just a couple miles north of Route 374, you won’t need an off-road vehicle to reach this once bustling, but short-lived city. Admission is free.

Rhyolite was founded in 1905 thanks to a nearby mine and quickly grew into a small, full-service city of about 5,000 citizens. It faltered just as quickly as the mine turned unprofitable and closed in 1911. By 1920, Rhyolite was a ghost town, but its convenient location saved some of its buildings temporarily. The train station found a new purpose as a ghost town casino and a nearby caboose served as a makeshift gas station for its visitors. Movie crews restored a building made of glass bottles for a 1920s film. Nevertheless, once the novelty of ghost towns wore off mid-20th century, Rhyolite was once again fully abandoned. The high desert slowly resumed reclaiming its ruined buildings.

I went to Rhyolite twice, once in 2013 and once in 2019. While the ruins of masonry buildings continue to stand, the wooden structures are disappearing. The town’s general store, pictured above in 2013, was struck by lightning and burned down in 2014. The glass bottle house appears to be the only structure to receive maintenance.