Death Valley: Rhyolite Ghost Town and Other Places to See

Rhyolite Ghost Town in Death Valley California
Rhyolite Ghost Town in Death Valley California

If you’re joining me we’ve been exploring Death Valley, California, and we’re on my last post. We just left Scotty’s Castle and now we are off to Rhyolite Ghost Town – which is located just over the Nevada state line. (Quick note – In 1908 Rhyolite was the third largest city in Nevada.)

After I checked into The Ranch which is where I stayed, I decided I’d drive over to the Ghost Town. It was about 4:30pm so I was hoping I’d have enough time to get there and back before the sun went down. I didn’t want to get stuck in the dark with no cell phone reception, all by myself on the back roads of Death Valley. (EEE!) Just a quick note – when you see that your destination is only 18 miles – it’s not a quick 18 miles if you’re in the Death Valley State Park. First, the speed limit ranges from 50-15mph and you have to watch for the signs. Even though you feel like it’s just you and a few rattle snakes, I actually saw a police officer pulled over on the side of the road handing out a ticket. Yikes!

I got to the ghost town around 5:30pm and I was all by myself. Well, me and the ghosts. I walked around and shot some photos and kept a keen eye out for rattle snakes (yes, I am confessing one of my fears). It’s actually just a lot of old, deserted buildings, but here is one of the most interesting ones to see – it’s called the “Bottle House“. The photo below was taken in 1906. It is believed that Mr. Kelly is the man in the doorway. According to a government report Mr. Kelly used between 25,000 and 30,000 bottles building the house. Now I have to wonder- where did he get 25-30,000 bottles for God’s sakes? Either he was a heavy drinker, or had a bunch of friends who were heavy drinkers. Or, maybe Mrs. Kelly hit the bottle(s) after finding how she was going to live in a house of bottles???? Anyway, food (or drink) for thought. The house has a double bottle foundation, three rooms with a door and window exiting each room. (Original Photographer Unknown)

Bottle house 1906 in Death Valley, California
Bottle house 1906 in Death Valley, California

And here is my photo of this house:

My photo of the bottle house taken in 2013
My photo of the bottle house taken in 2013

As I strolled through the falling down, boarded up homes one thing I love to do is try and imagine what it was like when the homes were new, and the people were just moving in. What were they wearing? Eating? What kept them awake at night? (wondering where they would find another 1000 bottles?) It was a bit eerie to be there by myself. It’s not like shopping at Nordstrom and you’re the only one over 20 in the sassy junior department…should I be shopping on another floor? Or seriously, should I head over to a more sophisticated department where I will find people with shirts that actually cover their belly button??? No, in Death Valley, there is NO ONE around…no cars and no cell phone reception (and nowhere to shop!) Makes me shutter just to think about it.

Death Valley Ghost Towns
Death Valley Ghost Towns

As I walked around I did I did find this old truck interesting. If you look in the first photo in this post (above), you’ll see this truck out behind the building.

Old truck from Death Valley Ghost Town
Old truck from Death Valley Ghost Town

And here is a closer view (photo below). Quick note, I did walk up and peak inside, and scared myself to death when a bird flew out! I obviously am not that man on the reality show who gets dropped off in the desert with a broken match, 1/2 a Snickers bar and a cup to collect sterile urine. No, not me. I somehow managed to have an ice cold Coke Zero and some Red Vines waiting for me in my air conditioned car… That’s it for Death Valley. I just did a trip to the Hearst Castle yesterday so I’ll be posting on my amazing visit soon. If you click FOLLOW you’ll get my post via email.

Death Valley Ghost Town - Antique Truck
Death Valley Ghost Town – Antique Truck


Other Places You Might Visit in Death Valley

There is a lot to see in Death Valley. I didn’t see everything but here are some other places that you might want to consider:

  • Salt Creek Interpretive Trail (this is where you can see the Pup fish)
  • Mosaic Canyon by Stovepipe Wells Village (You can stay here too but I would recommend The Ranch per my earlier post:
  • Golden Canyon Interpretive Trail (nice hike)
  • Volcano crater trail (up by Scotty’s Castle)
  • The racetrack (This looks very cool! These huge rocks move on their own. You do need to have a jeep to get there and it’s a full day adventure)
  • Eureka Mines (which is an old gold mine)
  • Wildrose (beautiful views)

The best thing to do is go to the Visitor’s Center in Furnace Creek and have them help you. I hope you enjoyed visiting Death Valley with me!

Here are some past posts on Death Valley in case you missed them:

Death Valley Road Trip!

Death Valley CA Overview & Travel Tips:

Death Valley Road Trip: Ghost Towns and a Sunset:

Death Valley: Dantes View:

Death Valley: Zabriskie Point:

Death Valley: Badwater, Lowest Pt in N. America:

Death Valley: Where to Stay:

Death Valley: Scotty’s Castle: