Flickr album link: Tunnel Camp Ghost Town
Some ghost towns are difficult to get to while others have easy access. The Tunnel Camp Ghost Town lies somewhere in between, simply because no matter where the trip originates, a visitor will have to go far off the beaten path to find this unique place. The good part is the long dirt roads to Tunnel Camp begin in Lovelock, Nevada on I-80 and this town is a good spot to stock up and top off the tank before getting underway. The cellular service is sketchy outside of Lovelock, so it is best to plot a course on a mapping device while in town. It is 26 miles of dirt road from Lovelock to Tunnel Camp and the first leg is fairly smooth. The Seven Troughs Road section is a bit rougher, so a high ground clearance vehicle is recommended for the trip. A 4x4 will present more options for exploring the trails that go up into the Seven Troughs Mountain Range.
Taking a look at a map ahead of time will also help when figuring out why this mining camp is located where it happens to be. The Tunnel Camp was first established back in 1927 as a means for tunneling into the ore deposits deep in the Seven Troughs Mountain. To be more precise, the tunnel was designed to drain water out of existing deep mines that were flooded, yet productive in the past. A stamp mill complete with concrete foundations was constructed onsite, along with a cyanide mill. Everything was in place for a big mining bonanza, but the overall plan turned out to be a flop. The tunnel was dug at an angle that was not aligned with the existing mines and even after corrections were made, it never lined up with the target. As a result the miners did discovers a few pockets of ore, but it did not take long for the drifts to play out. This camp basically did far more digging than money making, which may explain why the stamp mill and remaining mining equipment is in such good condition.
Tunnel Camp was never really a small town, so the ghost town moniker is a bit of a misnomer. This was a true blue mining camp and only a few buildings were moved here for the workers. In fact, most of the structures had an industrial function. The brick and mortar building stands tall and the window panes still remain. The sunlight beaming into the building through the empty windows does impart a surreal effect. Many of the resident structures are still in good enough condition to enter and taking a look around is like looking into a window of the past. The old stamp mill is in spectacularly nice condition, so this truly is a dream come true for fans of the old west mining history. Hours can be spent wandering around this old Nevada mining site and this is a good spot for a family weekend adventure, so be sure to chalk the historic Tunnel Camp high on the list!
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