Management of Subterranean Ecosystems in Extreme Environments
Belmont Mill
Self-Guided Field Trips
Arbor Flyphs on Success Loop

Historic arborglyphs on Success Loop Road. Image compliments of Nevada Comssission on Tourism.

Please keep in mind that many of these destinations are off the beaten path. In Nevada, you should treat off-road explorations much like you would a cave trip. Open mine shafts and old buildings present many dangerous hazards to an unwary visitor. Stay alert and aware. Always let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return. Carry sufficient gas, water, food and a spare tire. Services are few and far between and mobile devices are typically useless. As in caving: take nothing but pictures, kill nothing but time.

Additional self-guided trips around the Great Basin will be added in the coming months. Please check back for updates.

Belmont Mill Ghost Town

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  • Distance: 110 miles round-trip from Ely, Nevada

  • Coordinates (WGS84): 39.2768, -115.5144

  • Elevation: 7,500 ft

  • District: White Pine County Mining District

  • Topo Map (Seligman Canyon)

Nevada's ghost towns are settlements that grew quickly in response to discoveries of gold, silver, or other minerals. In many cases, these towns became county seats, only to lose that designation once the town's resources became exhausted and its population dwindled.

They were bustling centers of activity, with churches, saloons, and general stores, but once the population moved on to the next big strike, the abandoned towns fell into disrepair.

Ghost towns are a great way to step back in time and see what life was like for the folks who built Nevada and mined the precious metals, ores, and minerals that would come to define the West.

Belmont Mill ghost town

Situated about an hour west of Ely off the Loneliest Road in America, Belmont Mill is a remnant of the area's prestigious mining booms that enticed westward pioneers back to the east to grab onto their piece of the American Dream. Image by Matt Bowers, Third Media.

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The Belmont Mine and Mill were worked early in the 1900s by the Tonopah Belmont Development Mining Company. This fascinating camp gave the White Pine Mining District it's last breath of life. Silver-lead ore from this mine was processed at the mill and then shipped off to Eureka, Nevada.

At one time, the White Pine Mining District was a thriving community of 10,000 people at 8,000 feet above sea level scattered across the mountain range. Numerous buildings still exist in various stages of decay. Some of their purposes are obvious, some will require your imagination. Now completely abandoned, this is one of the best preserved sites from the early 20th century mining rush.

Cables from the Belmont Mill's ore haul system still extend 3 miles up the mountain to the mine. If you walk up behind the mill, you can see the tension system used to keep the lines tight during hot summers and brutally cold winters. The huge tension box of rocks is just hanging by a (very) old chain. We really don't suggest climbing on or going inside the building. The US Forest Service recently shored up the mill, but its integrity is still somewhat questionable.

If you have a 4wd vehicle with decent clearance, you can drive up to the mine by backtracking to the first intersection and turning right on the road that leads up the mountain. At last report, the road was in semidecent condition, but there are some areas of steep exposure. If you're afraid of heights, this isn't for you.

Please note, this is a federally protected historic site. Take nothing but pictures. Kill nothing but time.

Big Warm Spring, Duckwater Shoshone Reservation

Big Warm Spring is located on the Duckwater Shoshone Reservation about 70 miles west of Ely. In 2007, the tribe partnered with the US Fish & Wildlife service to reintroduce the Railroad Valley springfish to this unique ecosystem. Image by Matt Bowers, Third Media.

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Cathedral Gorge State Park

Cathedral Gorge State Park

Located between Ely and Las Vegas, Cathedral Gorge State Park features dramatic cave-like slot canyons and cathedral spires that have eroded over millions of years.



Mostly Cloudy Mostly cloudy, with a low around 33. East northeast wind around 5 mph.


Cloudy then Scattered Rain Showers Scattered rain showers after 5pm. Cloudy, with a high near 67. South wind 5 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New rainfall amounts less than a tenth of an inch possible.

Friday Night

Scattered Rain Showers Scattered rain showers before 5am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 36. Southwest wind 5 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New rainfall amounts less than a tenth of an inch possible.

Symposium Merchandise

Campfire Coffee Mug

Stay up all night with our personalized ceramic coffee mug. This 13oz mug is perfect for school, campfire socials, marathon thesis proofreading, and all-night grant-writing sessions.


JUNE 29, 2023
NCKMS Steering Committee Chooses Ely, Nevada as Host City for 2025 Symposium
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Advance registration for the 2025 symposium is expected to open in mid-2024. We will send an email to past attendees when that system comes online.

Feel free to join our mailing list if you would like to receive occasional updates on our plans.

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