"Veins of Silver (and a camel too)" Top 5 Page for this destination Virginia City by DSwede

Virginia City Travel Guide: 78 reviews and 233 photos

Virginia City (from Reno, ~30min south, then ~30min east) is an old mining town. Many of the store fronts and side walks are still done up in old-west style. You can have a drink at the Bucket-O-Blood saloon, and even take a tour down some of the old shafts.

The town was born when silver was found running through the veins of rock in the area. But it was not until the Comstock Lode was found, hauling in the richest gold find in current history, that it truly became the "Richest Place in the World".

Like all other old west towns, it had it heyday and also its hardships. But Virginia City is still alive today, tucked off the beaten path of Reno and Carson City.

It is a prime example of a "living" ghost town. Its main architecture is till true to the old west and the arid mountains on the other side of the Carson Valley give a good juxtaposition of the high evergreen mountains of the Sierras.

Feel free to visit my Nevada page for my thoughts on my home state.

(for more pictures, feel free to visit my USA Gallery. If you enjoy the pictures, please leave a comment.)

Camel Races

History goes that in the early 50's the playful editor of the local paper printed fake results from the week's camel races. The locals new it was just for fun, but then the San Fransisco Chronicle decided to call his bluff.

That's when the newspapers from Phoenix (AZ) and Indio (CA) came to the aid and actually brought some camels and the races were realized. Also some camels came from the SF Zoo.

Later ostriches were added to spice things up a bit... and even emus.

"Ironically, when Richards cooked up his spoof, he was drawing from a real episode in Virginia City's colorful past. In September 1861, two Virginia City men, Marius and Louis Chevalier, purchased nine bacterians (two-humped camels) to haul salt that was used in the process of refining silver." (NV Commission on Tourism)

Camels were used because they were believed to be better suited to the climate and would be cheaper. All was well until NV outlawed camels on the roads. "Some of the camels were moved to other states, but many were turned loose in the desert. Wild herds were reported as late as the mid-1930s."

--see my tip for more info

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:The entire town is in excellent condition and maintained well.
  • Cons:Lots of souvenir shops and tourist traps in the summer.
  • In a nutshell:One of the last examples of an actual surviving and living Old West town.
  • Intro Updated Apr 20, 2011
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Reviews (2)

Comments (3)

  • Travmad's Profile Photo
    Jul 16, 2006 at 6:13 AM

    Did you have any time to drive over the hill to Silver City?

  • TheTravelSlut's Profile Photo
    Jul 14, 2006 at 7:29 AM

    Very good report. If I am ever there during the races, now I have to see them. The Travel Slut "Good girls go to heaven, bad girls go everywhere!"

  • Geoff_Wright's Profile Photo
    May 29, 2006 at 4:02 PM

    Darn it! I must have missed that place, LOL!


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