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Nelson Nevada Ghost Town at Eldorado Canyon

Las Vegas is a gold mine of places to snap some amazing photographs. In this blog though I want to feature a place built around an actual, real, gold mine though. The location is directly adjacent to a small town near Lake Mojave, Nelson, Nevada. Once you drive past Nelson you will come across a location that looks as if you've just stepped back in time. A private property owned by Tony and Bobbie Werly is a historical landmark nestled within the Eldorado Canyon area. Here you will see old buildings, amazing rusted-out and antique cars, amazing old road and gas station signs, and even old mining equipment used back when the local Techatticup gold mine was in full swing. Truly, this place is a photographer's dream location to get some amazing photos and many famous music videos, and movies have been filmed here including 3000 Miles To Graceland.

I recently discovered this location through a model I was working with, Melanie Gratz, who suggested the area for a shoot she wanted to do. It sounded intriguing and when we arrived at the location, I was like a kid in a candy store gawking at all the great opportunities for photographic backdrops. Everything from old gas pumps, antique cars, and a barn with more character than a Jack Kerouac novel. I really felt as though we arrived there via a time machine.


Model Melanie Gratz getting blown up in in Eldorado Canyon, Nevada.
Photograph by Adam Sternberg

To get to the area, you head south out of Las Vegas on US-95 as if you were headed to Boulder City/Laughlin. Once you leave the valley you will take the exit directly past the Railroad Pass Casino which will. The US-95 Exit will take you south past the Boulder City area dry lake bed (on your right) about ten miles. Once you pass the dry lake bed, you will see Exit 165 for Nelson, Nevada on your left. Take that exit and drive another 15 miles or so and you will drive directly into the town of Nelson.

You'll see a few houses and you will eventually hit a fork in the road. Head to your left and you're right on top of the Eldorado Canyon property.

Here are some additional photos I captured with Melanie while we were on our shoot here…

 

When you arrive you will find a small museum on your left where you can check-in with the property owners and caretakers of the area and if you are planning on taking any photos, you will need to make a reservation with Bobbie Werly prior to your arrival. To do so, call 702-291-0026. Any photography on the grounds will require you and any models or other participants will to sign a waiver and model release. In addition, there is a small charge to photograph in the area of only $20 for the first 2 hours and then $10 for each subsequent hour you are out there. The owners live on the property and this is how they earn an income so for this very minimal charge you will find tremendous value for what they provide. It's worth every penny so please be sure to take care of them.

A few things to be aware of while walking on the property. This is the location of an old mine and the buildings and items on the property are real relics. As such, rusty nails, broken glass, and sharp, rusted metal are common sights. I'm told that even an occasional snake is seen from time to time as well. BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS and respect what you see. If you pick something up, put it back where you got it. Watch where you are walking, and most importantly, if you open a door to a building or a vehicle, close it when you are done. You do have limited access to some of the buildings and they truly are amazing inside but be respectful that you are on private property. During the summer, it's very hot outside with temperatures definitely exceeding 100 degrees and with the nearby lake, it's a bit humid out too. Winter temperatures can get quite cool too nearing the feezing point. Remember, you're deep in the desert so you can get some pretty dramatic temperature swings out there. Here are some survey shots I took when I was out there last for you to enjoy…

The Eldorado Canyon museum. This is where you will check-in prior to your shoot.

The above two photos were taken inside the barn. Here you will find everything
from deer antlers to old tools, antique signs and even a canon!

Below are some of the awesome old vehicles they have on the property…

Leftover parts of the plane wreckage used in the movie 3000 Miles To Graceland

7 image HDR Tone Map composition I shot on a tripod in the late afternoon.

For an additional small fee you can get a private tour of the nearby Techatticup gold mine, left abandoned decades ago and recently opened and made available for tours, the tunnels into the Eldorado Canyon mountains is an amazing sight. Inside is electrical lighting fixtures to guide your way and some breathtaking views. Due to the coolness of the granite in the mountain and the natural air filtration system inside the mine, you will discover an amazing natural phenomenon. When I was last on the property in mid-July, it was a sweltering 114 degrees Fahrenheit outside but when you approach the entrance of the mine you are immediately blasted with an arctic-like air that is quite refreshing. I was told the air inside is usually in the mid-60s when the temperature outside is in the hundreds. It's a very interesting experience to say the least and can make for some very cool photos. Be sure to ask Bobbie or Tony for a private tour when you call and they will give you the details as the mine is obviously locked-up and secure from travelers.

So if you are looking for some amazing photos in an area you'd never expect to exist, be sure to make a day trip out to Nelson, Nevada and the Eldorado Canyon area. You truly will have a wonderful experience just exploring the grounds and if you are interested in booking me for a wedding, engagement, or just a personal photo shoot so you can get some of the most amazing photos you can imagine from this area, please don't hesitate to give me a call today at 702-204-1740.

17 Responses to Nelson Nevada Ghost Town at Eldorado Canyon

  • roclafamilia says:

    Helpful blog, bookmarked the website with hopes to read more!

  • Helen Henry says:

    Thanks for the info, we are passing through and hope to get there. Looks great,
    Thanks
    Helen

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  • kerrie says:

    The photos are amazing and beautiful. I am planning to take my family of three young children tomorrow, and from these photos I am so excited. My children will be in awe!

  • Aly Mayhem says:

    Thanks for th contact information, I’ve been looking for it everywhere!!

  • bruce bailey says:

    my girl friend& i visited nelson in nov. and had a great time.this is a jewel in what i consider paradise.it was great to get out of las vegas and all of the phonyness to a wonderful quiet  place.the people at the store were some of the nicest warm folks i have ever met. also took a great horse ride with billy ,a neat guy.hope to go back soon. bruce bailey & letty,from south carolina.

  • bruce bailey says:

    <p>my girl friend&amp; i visited nelson in nov. and had a great time.this is a jewel in what i consider paradise.it was great to get out of las vegas and all of the phonyness to a wonderful quiet&nbsp; place.the people at the store were some of the nicest warm folks i have ever met. also took a great horse ride with billy ,a neat guy.hope to go back soon. bruce bailey &amp; letty,from south carolina.</p>

  • tj morgan says:

    thank you! this is great information!!!!!

  • tj morgan says:

    thank you.. this is great information. thank you for posting it.

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  • Jonathan C Wells says:

    Had a great time visiting this almost imaginary place, at the end of the 2012 summer/early fall. Driving through the rain, was a cool scene change and back as the huge storm took on the incredible sun for a few hours and then gave back the sky for an incredible sunset. Drove down to the old Nelson Landing, walked about until night, said a prayer, then made the drive back to the mine town, just in time to see one of the musem employees/owneers, exit a building, checking display lights. Almost stopped to say thanks, but felt he had a lot on his mind taking care of this incredible place after such a big event. Sometimes walking about the trails north of town are fun, when the motorcyclists are back at campfires.

  • G GUERRERO says:

    I had an opportunity to travel to this magnificent place with a model last year in March of 2012 to do some incredible photography! The place is a photographer’s paradise and adding a model just makes it that much better! The family in charge are the most genuine people you can meet, extremely helpful and made our 5 hour stay flow with ease! Fantastic place…..great people….incredible photography results!!!

  • Debbie White says:

    My husband and I lived in the big house across from the store for a couple of years as we were working for Awesome Adventures until my husband died, however yes bobby and tony are really great people. Many mines to explore as well as seeing big horn sheep.

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  • Alexis says:

    Hey great blog ! Im from the east coast and I’m looking to shoot an indie music video called The American & the location of nelson would be perfect. Do you know by any chance if they allow small videos to be shot there? OnLy 3 people who are college faculty members would be only site . I wonder if the permit rate would be higher ? We called and they are not answering; do you know if theres a different number ?

  • It’s not a big business down there. It’s a family-run location so if they don’t answer, try back at a different time. They shoot movies, TV commercials, rock videos, weddings, you name it down there so as long as there is no nudity in your shoots, you are fine to do a shoot down there. Just make sure you book far in advance as the summer months they are very busy.

  • Alexis says:

    Hey Adam,

    Thanks so much for a swift response! I will keep trying as I’m excited to shoot there. Crossing my fingers that something is available in the first couple of weeks in June.
    Thanks Again!

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