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Top 10 Things To Visit Around Baker, NV

 By Gretchen Baker

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8. Visit A Ghost Town

The nickname for Nevada is the Silver State, due to the copious amounts of mining that occurred all over the state. One of the better-preserved ghost towns in the area is Osceola (, located about 15 miles west of Baker and reached by marked turnoffs on Highway 6/50. Gold was found in Osceola in 1872, but it reached its heyday when placer mining developed. Due to a lack of water, ditches were built on both sides of the Snake Range to divert water from several creeks to Osceola. With a population of more than 500 in the mid-1880s, the town boasted a "ride-in" saloon (among several saloons), the first telephone in Nevada, and one of the first electrical systems. Nevertheless, the gold petered out, the water proved to be insufficient, and fires demolished parts of town. Today a few collapsing structures and foundations remain, along with a cemetery. More recent mining activity is found on the west side. One other nugget of information: the largest gold nugget found in the state of Nevada came from Osceola.

Alternatives: Many other mining towns and districts came and went in the Snake Valley area. One that still has a few people living in it is Goldhill (, located a scenic two-hour drive north of Baker. As you might guess, gold was found here, along with an array of other minerals, and transported out via the Deep Creek railroad. On the way to Goldhill, you will cross the historic Pony Express Trail (,  which linked Missouri to California. The short-lived venture, which carried mail 1,500 miles in only 10 days, was amazing in the coordination and infrastructure that it required. The ride is recreated every June near the time of the full moon.

9. Mountain Bike Or Explore With An OHV

The lower mountains in the area provide great locations for exploring via mountain bike or off-highway vehicles (OHV). One location is the Sacramento Pass Recreation Area, with about 35 miles of roads leading to Osceola, Weaver Creek, and Black Horse ( Designated OHV trails in the Burbank Hills (98 miles) and around Conger Mountain (127 miles) are marked and traverse an often-overlooked part of Snake Valley.  Many of the roads are also suitable for high clearance vehicles. Maps can be downloaded (  or requested from the Delta Chamber of Commerce.

Alternative: Hike, bike, or ride a horse on part of the 6,800-mile long American Discovery Trail (,  the only coast-to-coast non-motorized recreation trail. The trail follows a combination of roads and trails, entering the area next to Crystal Peak, crossing the Ferguson Desert to Garrison, ambling up the highway to Baker, then out along Highway 6 & 50 to Weaver Creek and Osceola and into Spring Valley. It was first completed in its entirety in 2005 (

10. Find Fossils And Gemstones

One of the best things about the Great Basin is that there aren't many trees in the way of the ground. The geology is varied, and a large number of fossils(  and gemstones can be found within a couple hours' drive. Some of the best known places are Fossil Mountain (Trilobites), Topaz Mountain (Topaz), Antelope Springs (trilobites), Crystal Peak (White Quartz), Sunstone Knoll (Sunstones), Painter Springs (Garnets, Pyrite, Muscovite, Quartz), Conger Springs (Crinoids, brachiopods), Black Rock (Black Obsidian), Drum Mountains (Agate), Indian Pass (brachiopods, horned coral), Skull Rock Pass (graptolites , trilobites, brachiopods, echinoderms) (,  and Fish Springs/Dugway (Geodes), (

Alternative: If you'd rather look at rocks and minerals rather than search for the, the Great Basin Museum in Delta (  has a nice selection, along with exhibits about the early history of the county and information about the nearby Topaz Internment Camp.

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