Bristol Well

"Bristol Well," also known as National City, Bristol City and Tempest, is a relatively little known ghost town on the west side of Bristol Mountain in Lincoln County. Bristol Well fancies itself with not only some very wild and remote surroundings, but also houses a handful of handsome stone structures and two of the few remaining stone charcoal kilns left in the state. Not a lot happened here and most of the information about it is somewhat sketchy compared to other area mining camps.

  • Welcome to Bristol Well, Nevada
  • Welcome to Bristol Well, Nevada

The very first mining claims were staked here in 1870 and the Bristol district was organized the next year upon the settlement of "National City" was established. This was a town that grew around the ambiguous National Mine. In 1872, a series of mining escapades began with the construction of a furnace to treat silver-lead ore from the Bristol Mine, 4 miles to the east. Four years later a richer deposit was found that warranted the construction of a stamp mill. The settlement earned a new lease on life and in celebration was renamed Bristol City the same year. In 1880, Bristol reached its paramount; the population remained steady and able at 400 residents. The stamp mill was expanded and a pair of stone ovens were built to provide charcoal to its new smelter. A series of wells provided an abundant water source for the mines and called for a new smelter to treat newly-found copper ore. Activity began to decline in 1893, but Bristol managed to cling to life after the turn of the century. A leach-recovery plant was built in 1900 and operated for two years to recover trace copper from the mountain. An aerial tramway was built to Jackrabbit, 2 miles to the northeast, in 1908 where ore could be loaded onto the Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad. After this, Bristol Well's days were numbered. Mining activity managed to continue intermittently through the decade, sharply declining after 1918. Although activity was hit-and-miss here after 1930, Bristol Well's post office remained open until 1950.

Today, Bristol Well is one of the best ghost towns to find yourself in. The townsite was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 primarily for its two charcoal ovens that still stand well preserved in the timeless pinyon country. A small cemetery sits just out of sight from the ovens and all visitors to this lonely territory are expected to be at their best. The quiet surroundings out here are enough to warrant the trip!


Status: Ghost Town
Population: None
Founded: 1870

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How to Get Here:
A ghost town site, 21 miles northwest of Pioche.
- Bristol Well is accessible from a dirt road off of US 93. Look for the marked sign for "Bristol Wells" 16 miles north of Pioche and head an additional 5 miles to the town site. The road to Atlanta is pliable in regular two-wheel drive vehicles, but the wet season or any oncoming inclement weather demands a rugged, high-clearance vehicle. The road gently climbs a bajada through forests of pinyon and juniper most of the way and one makes way for a rather bumpy, but wild trip! The BLM has recently erected a chain link fence to further preserve the charcoal ovens from vandalism.