Columbus is a long defunct ghost town, located four miles off of US 95 almost dead-center between Hawthorne and Tonopah. If it wasn't apparent enough, Columbus is quite far from just about every major community in the area. Once a lively town, Columbus is mostly ruins, with a few standing structures on the edge of the Columbus Salt Marsh.

Columbus was founded in 1865. The raising of a quartz mill here one proved to be the ideal location for a mill for two reasons: it was the only stop for several miles in any direction, and its sufficient amount of water almost guaranteed maximum tonnage. It wasn't until 1871 that another mineral was discovered, a rich supply of salt along the "shore" of Columbus Marsh that increased interest in the area. A few months later, William Troop discovered borax nearby, resulting in a substantial boom to Columbus. Shortly after the discovery, four borax companies were actively working the deposits on the marsh.

The zenith occurred around 1875 when there was around a thousand people in town. By 1875, Columbus sported a school, a post office, an iron foundry, and a weekly newspaper - The Borax Miner. The bust came earlier than expected for Columbus. The major borax company moved that same year and the town began decline by summer. By 1881, approximately 100 people were left while all mining and milling operations ceased completely until Columbus finally gave up the ghost in the 1886. Interestingly, numerous other operations have since tried to revive the borax mining up through to today but none have lasted.

  • Welcome to Columbus, Nevada
  • The scenic White Mountains, the highest mountain range in the Great Basin, provide the dramatic backdrop at Columbus.

Today, Columbus is one of the more interesting sites to visit in Nevada with eerily stark vistas in all directions! There are a handful of structures still standing, along with a myriad of ruins, foundations, and a faint main street. Up until 2009, there was one person living in Columbus, a reclusive, but hardy war veteran by the name of "Ray." Ray fell in love with the old town and set up shop in Columbus to get away from civilization. Ray died at the end of 2009, stoutly placing Columbus on the list of official Nevada ghost towns. Ray took up residence in the old general store (still standing) where he built a small garage and storage shed. Feel free to park, take a walk through town, set up a picnic lunch, but please take only pictures.


Status: Ghost Town
Population: None
Founded: September 1865

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How to Get Here:
A ghost town site in northern Esmeralda County, 54 miles west of Tonopah.
- Look for an unpaved road and lone historic marker along US 95, 2 miles south of the Mineral County line. Follow this road for 5 miles to the town site.