Just 45 minutes south of bustling Las Vegas, the quiet remains of the Techatticup Mine in the scenic Eldorado Canyon belie the area’s often debaucherous and tumultuous history. Techatticup is the oldest and richest mine in Southern Nevada, and it got its start in 1775 when Spaniards uncovered gold. It wasn’t until the mid 1800s when prospectors and miners took over the area. Shootouts, murders, and general lawlessness quickly followed, but disputes about ownership and labor didn’t stop the mine from producing millions of dollars in copper, lead, gold, and silver. Now, Eldorado Canyon Mine Tours will take you inside the Techatticup Millsite and Savage Mine, and you can amble past abandoned buildings and cars on your own.
At the height of silver mining in Frisco, Utah, you could read the Frisco Times, carouse in more than 20 saloons, and recover from a gunfight—common in this rip-roaring town of around 6,000—at the local hospital. The mine collapsed in 1885 (between shifts, miraculously killing no one), and by 1920, Frisco was deserted. Along with wooden shacks, the lonely cemetery, and the mine itself, five fascinating charcoal kilns—beehive-shaped stone structures as big as houses—await exploration.