Vanderbilt Ghost Town

Total Miles


1,374.63 ft


1.5 Hours

Technical Rating



Best Time

Spring, Fall, Winter

Trail Overview

This trail takes you to the historic ghost town of Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt is an old gold mining town out in the middle of the desert. Virgil Earp had a hotel in Vanderbilt after the OK Corral gunfight. SEVERAL MINE SHAFTS ARE EXPOSED! PAY ATTENTION WHEN WALKING AND KEEP THE VEHICLE ON THE TRAIL! KEEP KIDS AND DOGS CLOSE! The trail is tight close to Vanderbilt, off-camber in spots, and the road is pretty washed out, expect pin stripping. High-Clearance vehicles only. The first part of the trail is easy as you ride along the railroad out of the town of Nipton. You'll cross a few soft washes but nothing major. After you cross under the train tracks you'll hit a patch of asphalt for about a mile or so before the trail turns back into gravel. The hardest and last section is the turn-off to Vanderbilt itself. When we did the trail Jan 2023 the trail was heavy rutted and tight. This trail receives no maintenance so it will continue with time to get worse.


This is pushing a 5 in a few short spots but overall the trail is very easy to do. Expect pin stripping. Do not drive this at night as many shafts are open and exposed.


In January 1891, an Indian named Robert Black struck gold ore on the north slope of the New York Mountains, about 40 mi (64 km) north of Goffs, California, on the Santa Fe Railway. A mining camp was soon established at nearby Vanderbilt Spring. The discovery of additional gold-rich veins in the fall of 1892 set off a rush to the area. By January 1893, 150 people were living at Vanderbilt camp, which contained 50 tents, two stores, one saloon, three restaurants, a lodging house, a blacksmith shop, and a stable. In 1983 a post office was established in February, W. A. Nash was appointed justice of the peace in May, and a Rail service to Manvel, five miles to the south, commenced in August. Vanderbilt's population probably peaked in 1894, at about 400. The business district contained three saloons, two barbers, a Chinese restaurant and two other eating houses, two meat markets, a stationery and fruit store, one lodging house, two blacksmiths, and three well-stocked general stores. William McFarlane, one of the pioneers of Ivanpah, owned an interest in one of them, in which he ran the post office and owned a drugstore. According to Earp Historians, Virgil Earp, famed brother of Wyatt Earp who was also involved in the gunfight behind the OK Corral, owned the only two-story building in town. It operated as a hotel and saloon, and according to Allie Earp, church services and dances were also held inside. During 1894, two ten-stamp mills were constructed to serve the two principal mines in the district, the Gold Bronze and Boomerang. At nearly the same time the mills were completed, water was struck in the mines. After hitting the water, the character of the ore changed and being unable to recover the gold in the ore, the mills were shut down. By the end of 1895, most of the town's businesses had closed and most of the population had left

Technical Rating


Status Reports

trail maker
May 21, 2023

Popular Trails