Around Vegas: Nelson, NV

This is the first in a new series of posts I plan on doing highlighting some places I’ve visited recently around Las Vegas. When you mention Las Vegas, everybody immediately thinks casinos, gambling and strip clubs. But, you’d be surprised at all the interesting and diverse places there are to see in and around Las Vegas. I plan on visiting as many of them as I can find.

This past weekend, my love of photography and my desire to continue to find new and interesting places to shoot photos took me to Nelson, NV. Nelson is a ghost town roughly an hour Southeast of Las Vegas. It’s tucked away on a secluded road that you’d never think to turning on to unless you knew what was out there. Because of that, there isn’t a lot of traffic that rolls through Nelson. But, once you do make it out there, the place has a lot of cool things to photograph.

Nelson has a couple old barns, a saloon, gas pumps, old rusted-out vehicles, a water pump and even the remains of a plane crash. OK, the plane crash is actually from a movie that filmed out in Nelson, but still cool to shoot. Inside the main building you’ll be able to see a bunch of artifacts from the area and dozens of photos of all the movie stars that have filmed movies in the area. One of the scenes from Kevin Costner’s ‘3000 Miles to Graceland’ was filmed there.

If you plan on going out there for a photo shoot, be sure to call ahead and let them know you are coming. They are happy to have you come out, but they’ll give you a small set of rules to follow. (They have some people living in some of the buildings, so they steer you clear of bothering them.) Also, be prepared to leave a little cash in the tip jar. I don’t know if it’s a requirement, but the people out there are so nice and inviting, you’ll be compelled to.

There is an hour-long gold mine tour that you can take (we didn’t, but I’ve heard it’s really cool and I plan on going back with the kids to check it out myself) and you can also schedule canoe and kayak tours. We didn’t realize it when we first got there, but if you stay on the road past Nelson, 5 miles later you’ll end up at very secluded part of the Colorado river. We saw a few people on the river on jet skis and a guy and his grandson sitting on the bank fishing.

I had no idea any of this was out here. Big thanks to Nate for inviting me along.

Here are a few shots I took in Nelson and at the Colorado River.

BarnPlane CrashChipped Paint
Rusted car and SaloonColorado River

10 Replies to “Around Vegas: Nelson, NV”

  1. Might I recommend Goodsprings, NV for your next trip. It's West of Jean down the 15, and while not a ghost town, there are some great things to see down there. The cemetery is particularly interesting.

  2. Great pictures, J! And what a cool mini-adventure! It's such a wonder that places like this are hidden in the nooks and crannies around Las Vegas. Thanks for the little tip on that secluded piece of the Colorado – I'd like to scope it out before the summer creeps in! 🙂

  3. Nice pics! I love Nelson…did my own little shoot there awhile back. But, where did you find the water? Is that part of Lake Mead?

  4. did my own little shoot there awhile back. But, where did you find the water? Is that part of Lake Mead?

  5. nice post, those photos are great, its awesome that you can turn junk into art. it looks classic or worn. but very classy.

  6. I'be been by there a time or two during the bridge construction across the damn when I didn't want to have to stop for the inspection on the way to Phoenix. These photos look like one of the scenes where they shot some footage for a CSI Las Vegas episode.

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