Eldorado Canyon in Southern Nevada was a rough and tumbled place in the mid-1880s. At least 12 mining camps were established in the canyon. The mining era lasted about 30 years. Some prospectors found gold. Many found nothing.
Today most visitors to Eldorado Canyon come to take the Techatticup Mine Tour, take a cool dip in Lake Mojave, or jump off cliffs. Eldorado Canyon is an easy day trip from Las Vegas that can be made in about one hour.
Eldorado Canyon Techatticup Mine Tour
Eldorado Canyon Mine Tours offers visitors a look back to the early days of the canyon. Even though most folks call the mine Nelson Ghost Town, the actual town of Nelson is 2 miles up the canyon. The Techatticup Mine and the surrounding buildings look like a ghost town, so the name stuck.
Techatticup Mine tours last about one hour and are by reservation only. (groups of four or more.) If you come during the weekend and do not have a reservation, you will likely be able to join a group.
Your tour guild takes you around the mining camp and shares some exciting stories about the wild days of Eldorado Canyon. Then the tour heads underground into Techatticup Mine, where you taste what it was like to be a gold miner in Eldorado Canyon.
The grounds of the Techatticup Mine property are scattered with hundreds of mining artifacts and more modern props left over from the numerous movies and videos. Weddings and events can also be held on the property.
Jubilee Mine Eldorado Canyon
If you don’t take the underground mine tour, about two miles down the canyon on the right side of SP 165 is the Jubilee Mine. This mine is straightforward to access, so, unfortunately, graffiti is plentiful and garbage everywhere.
The portals into the Jubilee Mine are huge. You could quickly drive a vehicle inside the access road without being blocked. If you can ignore all the trash, the Jubilee Mine is interesting to explore.
Eldorado Canyon History
Gold was first discovered in the canyon around 1850. The news of a gold strike soon spread. Nelson’s Landing became a busy place dropping off miners and supplies. Well over 100,000 ounces of gold were mined in just a few years. Much of the gold came from the Techatticup Mine.
There were 12 mining camps in Eldorado Canyon and two mills to process the ore. One at Nelson’s Landing, the other in the middle canyon. At one time, the canyon even had a post office.
As with most gold strikes, the mines played out, miners moved on, and the mining camps were abandoned. One of the last mines to close was the Techatticup in 1942. During the prohibition, bootleggers used Nelson’s Landing to unload booze for a few years.
Nelson’s Landing 1950
Eldorado Canyon Flood
On September 14, 1974, Nelson’s Landing changed forever. A huge rainstorm hit the area above the canyon. Nearly 4 inches of rain in just over one hour sent a massive flash flood down Eldorado Canyon.
A wall of water came crashing down on Nelson’s Landing, washing away cabins, mobile homes, and the floating dock. When the flood was over, nine persons were dead. Nelson’s Landing marina was no more. Nelson’s Landing will never be rebuilt due to the ever-present danger of flash floods.
Nelson’s Landing Cliff Jumping
Nelson’s Landing is a popular destination for Cliff Jumping. Thrill-seekers jump off the cliffs up to 50 feet high into the Lake Mojave. Even if you don’t jump on a busy day, the show can be interesting.
Like other Lake Mojave Coves easily accessible by cars, there is a problem with trash. No alcohol is allowed; however, you would not know it by the numerous discarded cans and bottles.
Nelson Ghost Town Address
Eldorado Mine Tours 16880 NV-165, Searchlight, NV 89046 (702) 291-0026. The mine is across the road from the “Ghost Town.” Just look for the huge pile of mine tailings.
To get to Eldorado Canyon from Las Vegas, take State Route 95 South from Boulder City. Turn on State Route 165 and follow the two-lane highway. At ten miles and you will pass through the town of Nelson.
The Techatticup Mine (Eldorado Canyon Mine Tours) is from Nelson two miles further along Highway 165.
Nelson’s Landing is another 7 miles through the center of Eldorado Canyon. The cliff jumping area is actually in Placer Cove is be reached via a dirt road from the end of State Route 165.