Virginia City, NV
Virginia City Nevada Mines, Mining Camp, Ghost Town
Storey County, Nevada
South of Reno, NV
NE of Carson City @ US 395
Virginia City Historic District
established 1859 The Comstock Lode
Historic mining district with restored downtown; several mining camps, which are now residential communities. The 1859 mining boom of the Comstock Lode turned Virginia City into the most important industrial city between Denver and San Francisco. At its peak, this location had approximately 25,000 residents.
snow is common in winter
Ghost towns, mining camps and remote, almost abandon locations – always intrigue. Old historic towns that have too much commercialized backing are a big turn off. Any popular tourist mecca, I typically avoid.
Over the decades traveling the West coast, I had heard numerous stories about the legendary Virginia City, in the high desert mining hills of Nevada. The real, authentic, boomtown of silver & gold mining; East of Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada. One day, maybe. Sounds larger than life. Bet it is crowded. Twenty years go by.
Then low and behold, I found myself in the Eastern Sierra – trying to kill time, avoiding the fire smoke in California. Wildfire season was raging and as the weeks progressed, I could no longer find a smoke-free spot to camp. I finally ended up at a small, cute lodge in a desert mining district – Virginia City.
Wild horses graze in the backyard, the main street scene was only a few blocks away, and I had a refrigerator and an air conditioner in my room. I was set! After a long shower and a change of clothes, I hit the trail. Or shall I say sidewalk.
Walking to town I immediately noticed that the entire townsite is built on a steep, dirt, mountain side. Terraced, high desert hills with minimal trees, and miles of mining tunnels located underneath the paved streets.
Numerous shops and restaurants line the main drag, which sit precipitously on a slope of Mount Davidson. Tourists stroll the sidewalks, eat frozen treats and kettle corn. Loud motorcycle engines reverb off the historic buildings and music can be heard on each passing block.
Nevada Highway 341 is the main street, also known as “C” Street, and it runs the length of town and has most of the sidewalk businesses. Parallel side streets – either up hill (labeled A Street, B St) – or down hill (D St, E, F, G, H) span the arid mountain terrain. Residential homes (some historic) surround this historic village.
Nevada Highway 342 is the main (but steep) paved route thru the communities to the south of town. Occidental Grade is Hwy 341, which bypasses the mining camps (to the east side) and is the longer, official ‘truck route’ and preferred RV entrance to VC.
Walk the whole town, twice, and get a work out hiking the steep hills.
Motorcycle rides, classic car shows, old west, cowboy tourists type of destination. Wooden sidewalks, historic buildings, great desert views. The town is home to Victorian buildings built during the 19th-century mining boom. Annual events and parades celebrate the history of this unique locale.
party town: this desert destination is well known for its drinking, local events and celebratory nature, as well as the historic interest
Several hotels and one RV campground cater to overnight travelers. But beware, there is no real grocery store or public laundromat in town. No big chain hotels, coffee shops, nor chain restaurants.
Only one gas station – on the north end of town.
Amazing museums, plenty of saloons, antique stores, numerous curiosity shops, many restaurants, plus an authentic 1800’s cemetery. Historic, classic and not too busy for mid week, but weekends are typically crowded.
After the sun sets, the families go home and a different gang comes in for dinner and drinks. Live music – perhaps. Drinking establishments are usually open late here, so know that this small town can get rowdy at night. Sheriff Station is in the center of town!
MANY MUSEUMS IN TOWN –
- Chollar Mansion
- Comstock Firemen’s Museum
- E Clampus Vitus Hall
- Fourth Ward School Museum
- Grants General Store Museum
- MacKay Mansion
- Mark Twain Museum (closed)
- Marshall Mint Museum
- Territorial Enterprise Museum
- The Way it Was Museum
- Virginia City Museum
- Washoe Club Museum & Saloon
Virginia City was designated a Registered National Historic Landmark in 1965. National Trust for Historic Preservation presented the Distinctive Destinations Award to the Storey County in 2009.
Desert scrub, sage brush and juniper pines make up the vegetation. Trees are few and far between. Apple trees, cottonwoods and juniper evergreens dress up the edges of town.
ice cream shop
high desert terrain
saloons & gambling
Virginia City Train Tours:
Virginia & Truckee Railroad Co
Camping Virginia City
Campground in Town is limited to only one RV Park, with limited, poor tent camping options, but they have a near 5 star rating on Google, so it must be decent for the motorhomes.
additional camping nearby –
Dayton State Park has day use areas, picnic tables and offers camping, down the hill @ US Hwy 50
Washoe Lake State Park Campground
N of Carson City, Nevada. Only 5 mi west of VC, but a 30 mi drive by paved road, via US Highway 50 & I-580
Ft Churchill State Historic Park, located 30 mi east (near Yerrington, NV) Fort Churchill Camping
- Gold Hill
- Devils Gate
- Silver City
- VC Highlands
nearby towns, down the hill:
- Carson City, NV
- Dayton, NV
- Reno, NV
Virginia City Tourism Commission
86 South C Street
Virginia City, NV 89440
Comstock Historic District Commission
20 North E Street
Virginia City, NV 89440
Virginia City is NOT to be confused with –
Virginiatown (1851) Placer County
West of Auburn, CA in West Sierra Nevada, Gold Country