(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.
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.
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.
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.
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