Nelson is fantastic little ghost town about 30-40 minutes southeast of Las Vegas and home to the Eldorado Canyon Mine. It is privately owned so if you are doing more than just stopping by to check it out, there may be a fee. In addition to the entrance or museum fee there are additional fees fees for a photo pass if you are doing a photo shoot or for taking the mine tour. We have done both and they are both well worth it.
The site is centered around the museum store. Inside the museum, you can learn a bit of history about the town and some of the filming that has happened there for different movies. There is also a little gift shop that my kids loved. I think they all picked out something to buy.
We found out that there is a road runner that lives on site and the owner feeds him hot dogs. Be sure to keep an eye out for him.
Walking around the ghost town is pretty fun. There are all kinds of old buildings and cars that have been collected and they all sit at the bottom of the scenic rock mountains.
How to Get There
To reach Nelson, you head south of Las Vegas on the I 515, which turns into the I 11. Continue on the I 11 past the junction for Boulder City and then turn south on the I 95. After the dry lake beds and solar fields, turn east on the 165 and follow that road until you get to Nelson. If you have time for a fun little hike, check out our guide to Bridge Spring Arch, which is a short hike off the road before you reach Nelson.
What to Expect at Nelson Ghost Town
Nelson is full of interesting finds, which makes it fun to explore. The first thing you will notice besides the old buildings are all the cars. There are a ton of older vehicles in different phases of preservation.
It is not just old cars either, there are some really odd and unique vehicles that I have never seen before.
You will also find lots of other old memorabilia such as gas pumps and antique signs.
There are about a million photo ops here so if anyone in your family likes to pose for pictures, they will definitely be entertained.
Our son was hamming up especially well this visit.
All the unique finds make for fun pictures and, unlike many tourist sites, there are so many different things here, you won’t have the same picture on Instagram as every other visitor.
One of the coolest things to see is the plane crash. If I remember correctly, this plane was crashed here as part of movie filming, but they left the crash wreckage where it happened.
There is also part of another old plane. I don’t know if is related to the wrecked plane or not.
As you can tell from the shot below, the site is actually quite large and you could spent a couple hours just walking around and exploring all there is to see. But, if you have the time and money, the Eldorado Canyon Mine tour is well worth it.
The Eldorado Canyon Mine Tour
On the way to the mine entrance, be sure to lock your kids up for a picture.
The entrance to the mine is a bit away from the rest of the site so you probably won’t see it if you don’t go on the tour. The entrance isn’t much to behold, but there is an interesting story you will learn about how it was discovered and excavated.
As you can see from the lighting, this is the entrance to the mine with plenty of outside light coming in.
It gets darker quickly, but the part of the mine that you tour is very well maintained and plenty spacious.
This is the end of the area you tour and you get a glimpse of the mine tunnels that haven’t been renovated.
learning about the mine candles was a highlight us as you could imagine working with just this little bit of unstable light.
Overall, we really enjoyed the stories of the mine tour and recommend it for sure.
Doing a Photo Shoot
A number of years ago, we did a family photo shoot at Nelson and it remains our favorite set of family photos we have done. This was in 2015 so we only had two tiny kids and i still had glasses! The colors and uniqueness of the site make it a perfect destination for photos. below were some of our favorites from our shoot.