52.7 F

PHOTOS: Mine Tours, Cliff Diving Adventures Just Outside Vegas


Image: Ty O’Neil

If you find yourself in Las Vegas but maybe the casinos are not for you, or you just need a break from them, you’ll find a plethora of outdoor adventures less than an hour’s drive away.

Down Highway 165, south of Las Vegas, lies Eldorado Canyon Mine Tours. The tour costs $15 and goes for over an hour with excellent tour guides. Due to increasing popularity in recent years, reservations are required as space is a limiting factor in the mine itself.

Image: Ty O’Neil

Before and after the tour guests are free to walk about and take photos in the area. It resembles an art installation, junk yard, abandoned mining town, movie set, and desert wilderness area all at the same time.

The tour starts in the eclectic main office where a guide explains the mine’s history, from frontier mining town to closure during WWII, and later during its cinematic days.

If you’re visiting in the summer months it can be swelteringly hot, but don’t worry. Once you enter the mine the temperature drops dramatically to almost chilly temperatures.

Since the original mine was dug into hard rock it’s much the same today as it was during its heyday. In sections of the tour guests can look up and down multiple stories of mine shafts. In one particular stunning section of the mine natural light filters in from multiple stories above, descending down the long crevice past tour guests and finally ending far below where it gently illuminates mine carts.

Throughout the tour the guide explains mining history and facts specific to the Eldorado Canyon in a way that even the least interested individual would still be entertained and learn a thing or two.

Eldorado Canyon Mine Tour.
Eldorado Canyon Mine Tour. Image: Ty O’Neil

As all mine tours must do at one point or another, all the lights are turned off and the tour is left in that crushing darkness that only deep tunnels in mountains can create. Even the toughest of participants seems to sigh a breath of relief when the tour guide lights a candle like those originally used in the mines.

It would be a great omission not to mention the tour’s end. Our guide explained that a piece of the mine’s history has been lost: the stories of the women and families who lived out in the Nevada desert. These people are often forgotten, but suffered and strived alongside the miners.

With your pictures taken and your intellectual curiosity satisfied what is there to do now? Just a few minutes down the road from Eldorado Canyon Mine Tours lies the Colorado River and Nelson Landing. If you are in the mood to beat the heat with a swim, this is the place to do it.

If you’re feeling adventurous, the area offers some amazing cliff diving (done with proper precautions, of course). Clear, slow moving water offers hours of fun for the daredevil or the lounger of any group.

Even if you’re not in the mood for a swim, it’s still worth exploring beautiful landscapes and easy walking. Best advice: get picnic supplies, have short walk, and take time to enjoy this beautiful place.

On The Web: 

Eldorado Canyon Mine Tours: http://eldoradocanyonminetours.com/mine-tours.html

Nelson’s Landing: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g1093759-d10623176-Reviews-Nelson_s_Landing_Cliff_Jumping-Nelson_Nevada.html

Ty O'Neil
Ty O'Neil
Ty O’Neil is a lifelong student of anthropology with two degrees in the arts. He is far more at home in the tear gas filled streets of war torn countries than he is relaxing at home. He has found a place at This Is Reno as a photojournalist. He hopes to someday be a conflict photojournalist covering wars and natural disasters abroad.