Nevada Attractions June 06, 2017
You’ll Never Forget Your Journey Along This Nevada Ghost Town Scenic Drive
Located near Ely, the Hamilton Ghost Town scenic drive is a stunning and scenic high-elevation drive to Hamilton. This ghost town scenic drive provides panoramic views of Mount Hamilton, the White Pine Range, the Mokomoke Mountains, and other mountains and valleys in the area as visitors wind through high desert terrain. Take a look!
Access to this scenic drive is off Highway 50, just 39 miles west of Ely. On a topographic map, the road is labeled Forest Road 401. Obtaining a copy of the Nevada Atlas & Gazetteer is highly suggested for traversing this road.
Even though the drive is only 10 miles long, visitors should leave ample time because the road is mostly dirt and gravel, along with ruts, turns, and twists.
This ten-mile drive winds through the high desert as it gains elevation. Stunning views of the White pine Range, Mount Hamilton, and other mountains and valleys are plentiful.
Extra care should be taken during the spring and after the rain because the road becomes quite muddy and slick. High-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicles are recommended for this drive, especially in inclement climbing conditions. The road is also closed during the winter.
The drive passes by the old Hamilton cemetery, just one mile from the town itself. From here, views of the White Pine mountains are prolific.
Hamilton was named for one of its founders, W. H. Hamilton who helped lay out a townsite at the base of Treasure Hill where the silver boom began. The original town had 30 residents and a saloon.
By 1868, Hamilton had become White Pine County's county seat and business was thriving as more people settled in the area.
Following the discovery of silver in 1867, Hamilton's population increased dramatically from just 30 people to over 12,000; however, once the silver ran out around 1887, the people left.
At one point there were hundreds of businesses including several general stores, saloons, theatres, dance halls, and mining companies. By the end of the boom, over $22 million in silver bullion had been removed from the area.
In 1873 and 1885, fires swept through the town, destroying most of the buildings. Only remnants of this once-thriving town remain.
Primitive camping is permitted anywhere along this BLM-maintained drive, and there are several areas where a trailer can be parked. For less primitive camping opportunities, just a few miles east of the drive on Highway 50 at Illipah Reservoir Recreation Area is a developed campground.
Have you had the opportunity to take this picturesque ghost town scenic drive to Hamilton? Please share your experiences below.