Ghost Town, Death Valley National Park
While Ballarat is a Ghost Town, there is a functioning store there. The proprietor is "Rock", well that's how he introduced himself. Has been there for 10 years. There are a few buildings standing but it seemed more as a tourist attraction that an actual Ghost Town forgot by society. If you are on the west side looking for something to do this is ok but I would not return.
The Skidoo mine operated between 1906 an 1917. It was a very successful gold mine. But as happened with many towns in Death Valley, when the gold dried up, the town folded. Today there are no structures at the site. There is a marker overlooking an empty field with a few old can relics. It is a long drive to the Skidoo ghost town. The last 4 miles it is recommended a high clearance vehicle. It is a nice drive to the site but its a slow go. I arrived late in the day so couldn't explore around as much as I would have liked.
Leadfield is located on Titus Canyon Roda and requires a high clearance vehicle to get back and see. There is a marker designating the site so it is easy to find. There is about three in tacked building and several other ruins along with a few mine shafts.
Copper and lead claims were filled in the early 1900's but the town boomed in 1926 with advertising of a rich lead find. This was misleading but hundreds of people came to Leadfield to find there riches. Unfortunately, the lead dried up in 1927 and the town quickly dwindled to a ghost town.
I loved waking around this place. Fortunately not many people venture back here because of the need for high clearance vehicle. I had the place to myself which really helps you imagine how life must have been for these prospectors.
Another reason why you should rent a high clearance vehicle if you visit Death Valley.
Rhyolite is one of the largest ghost towns in America, but gets overlooked as it is on the Nevada side of the state line, barely within the limits of Death Valley National Park. There are few attractions nearby, but I highly recommend you make the journey.
With a onetime population of 10,000, Rhyolite was once the third largest city in Nevada. Las Vegas, in fact, had a population of 800 at the time and was merely a shipping link for goods coming and going to Rhyolite.
As you can imagine, much of the town has crumbled, but you'll be pleasantly surprised by what remains. The main street of town retains many of the building facades, and there is a lovely train station intact, a jail, whorehouse...and the famous "Bottle House" - all included in my travelogue.
Like the rest of Death Valley, there are few restrictions on where you can wander - another huge treat for the kids. Just keep them away from the abandoned mines - mines that yielded no riches as had been promised and hastened the demise of Rhyolite.
What's amazing about Rhyolite is its fast rise and fall. Rhyolite's population peaked in 1907, estimated at over 10,000. It had hotels, stores, schools, hospitals, and even published several of its own newspapers and magazines. Rhyolite was by no means a small town. Then it was struck by financial panic, and people started leaving town. By 1910 there were only 611 residents, then completely abandoned. Today there is a small tourist office at the entrance, and the roads in town are well paved, mainly for tourists. It's a touristy ghost town.