Lake Valley

(Lake Valley NM)
The former mining town of Lake Valley had one of the richest and purest silver lodes of its time. A solid block of ore allowed them to simply saw off a slab and then send it to the smelter. Known as the Bridal Chamber, it was a one-of-a-kind discovery.

Ruins of mining town

Lake Valley Ghosttown

The town’s population, during its peak in the late 1800s, was between 1,000 and 4,000. A railroad spur made it a supply center for the area. In 1893 silver was devalued, and in 1895 a major fire burned down most buildings on Main Street. Afterward, many people soon moved away.

Decaying house

Nowlin Home Ruin

Peak overlooking town

Lizard Mountain

I walked around looking at the crumbling buildings that still remained. The largest was the schoolhouse that now serves as a museum. Signs placed around town provided details about the history.

School building

Schoolhouse / Museum

Walls of RR station

Railroad Depot Ruin

The ghost town is maintained by BLM with a trail through the ruins. A walking guide identified buildings, and provided plenty of information. It’s open all year, Thursday thru Monday, with a volunteer host. However, there was no camping on site or nearby.

Adobe church


Water tanks

Water Towers & Coal Sorter

I’m always amazed at how briefly these mining towns thrived. Glad I got to see it, and learned something about the history of the area. About 18 miles up the road, were the ghost towns of Hillsboro and Kingston. So, one could see them all with a full day of exploring.

Camp: Caballo Lake SP-Riverside CG drycamp
Scene: Ghost town, ruins, mountain

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2 Responses to Lake Valley

  1. Dorothy April 9, 2016 at 10:48 am #

    As a kid, my family went out after church on Sundays, exploring ghost towns. Great childhood memories. You found a very well preserved one, lucky guy. I see painting possibilities , you?

    • Pleinguy April 9, 2016 at 10:21 pm #

      I’m intrigued by old ghost towns. Hard to find ones with much still standing though. Perhaps some things to paint, hmm.

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