There are at least 4 ghost towns either in the park or nearby. The best known and easiest to get to is Rhyolite which is located in Nevada just east of the park on Nevada Highway 374. The town of Rhyolite began when two prospectors; Shorty Harris and Ed Cross found gold in the mountains near the town in 1904. There is a lot of speculation that they misrepresented the value of the ore and the amount of gold available but a town sprung up quickly and the population swelled to 10,000 by 1908. The gold mines started failing and an earthquake devastated the San Francisco Financial District so the population fell to 675 in 1910 and to 20 in 1920. For a complete review of the town see my Rhyolite, Nevada Page (coming soon).
Rhyolite is a ghost town on the northside of death valley about 10 miles out of the park. Here is the cabin of a hermit who lived out here long after all the others had left. The wall of the cabin are made out of mud and beer bottles.
In Death Valley National Park I planned to see some ghost towns. But the ghost towns inside the Park, such as Skidoo or Leadfield, all require serious dirt road driving. So I chose Rhyolite instead. Rhyolite is actually outside the park and in the state of Nevada. But it happened to be on my way to Beatty so it's convenient. The town was founded in 1904, and in 1907 it already had electricity. Walking around town, you will find many abandoned buildings made of concrete and steel bars, quite advanced for its time. The photo shows the abandoned 3-story bank building.