Off Road Trail Spotlight: Gold Butte Ghost Town And Radio Crystal Mine – Mesquite – Nevada Trails

A great way to spend a weekend is to round up some off-roading buddies and head out into the desert to look for old, abandoned mines that dot the area. The Nevada desert has quite a large number of these and is a favorite destination for our trail rides.

Getting there is easy since most of the roads are graded and we always download a copy of a map of the area so we don’t get lost. If you and your pals are up for an adventure, check out the Gold Butte ghost town and the nearby Radio Crystal Mine.

A Ghost Town and Crystal Mine

The Gold Butte ghost town is found in the expansive Gold Butte National Monument. The road there is paved and in good condition to Whitney Pockets after which it turns to a graded dirt road. It’s rugged, bumpy driving most of the way and it’s best to have a 4WD with sufficient ground clearance. You can stop at Whitney Pockets and try your luck at finding some Coyote Melons. These aren’t edible but were used as soap by Native Americans. From there you can continue to Pleasant Valley where you can see what remains of an old trailer and the generator used for electricity.

The Gold Butte mining town itself got its start during the gold rush in 1908. People flocked to the area and it quickly became a town with about 1500-2000 inhabitants. The rush died out as fast as it had started and the town started emptying by 1910. Although you can’t find many abandoned buildings in this ghost town compared to others, you can still see some building foundations, some old rusting machinery, and some abandoned mine shafts in the area.

The Radio Crystal Mine isn’t far from there. Though it was mined for quartz crystals used in radios, it was also worked for gold in the 1930s. Nowadays the mine entrance has been partially blocked to discourage people from going into the quarry and wandering around.

Trip Preparation

Exploring the trails in the southwest desert is an excellent way to pass time and learn the history of the area. Trip preparation is key because of the desert environment you’ll be heading into. You want to make sure you carry enough water for the trip as well as food and wear appropriate clothing. Also, ensure that your spare tire is inflated and in good condition as the trail to the Gold Butte ghost town and Radio Crystal Mine has plenty of sharp rocks, some of which can quickly shred your tire.

To make sure your rig is up for the trip, bring it to the Dixie 4 Wheel Drive auto store in St. George. After choosing from one of our trail prep and safety packages, our 4WD experts will give it the service and maintenance it needs.

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