Panamint City – A Mining Ghost Town in Death Valley, California


Panamint City is a well-preserved ghost town located in the western mountains of Death Valley that can only be reached by backpacking 4,000 feet of climbing over 7 miles, through waterfalls, cascades and desert washes in Surprise Canyon.

Silver was discovered there by bandits who were using the canyon as a hideout, and in 1873 it was founded as a silver-mining town.At one point, the population was over 2,000. The city had a mile-long main street, mills, saloons, stores, a red-light district, a post office, and even a cemetery. In 1876, a flash flood destroyed most of the town, killing many of the residents.

A dirt road to the city existed until 1983, when another tremendous flash flood washed the canyon down to the bedrock and made road replacement unfeasible. With no road out, everything in the city was abandoned.

The present-day city contains many leftovers from its rich past: ruins of the original 19th-century stone cabins, newer cabins that have been maintained by backpackers, mining equipment, and abandoned vehicles.It’s a VERY difficult journey, but incredibly fun and interesting place to explore!

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