Thursday, May 3, 2012


 Photo by Kirk Kittell

The story of Panamint City is like a western movie come to life, which is probably why there were several films loosely based on it (do a search for "panamint" on IMDB).  It all started in 1872 when a few outlaws were hiding out in the mountains (Panamint Range) from johnny law and discovered silver in Surprise Canyon.  The city was founded in 1873/74, peaked in '74 and the boom was over at the end of '75.  Then, on July 24, 1876, a flash flood took out most of the city.  Some folks say they got what they deserved for their wicked ways.  Before this outlaw town was founded the Shoshone people resided in this area and it's home to the most elaborate Coso Style pictographs.  You can read more about that here.

Photo by Joe Grant

In October of 1994, the ruins of Panamint City were added to Death Valley National Park.  The most prominent remnant of this full fledged ghost town is the chimney of the smelter.  The only way to get in is on foot.  Backpackers can stay at one of the two first-come first-serve cabins, the Panamint Hilton and the Overflow cabin.  Here is some more information about visiting Death Valley NP.

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