You can try your luck in Vegas in any of their casinos or you can strike gold in the heart of ElDorado Canyon. Teachatticup mine is in a small town near Lake Mohave and just 45 minutes from the strip. Here you can combine an adrenaline filled adventure with the exploration of one of the richest goldmines ever discovered in Nevada. An off strip adventure that you will remember far longer than a drunken night in Vegas and will cost you far less as well.
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Step Back in Time – The Wild Wild West
According to mine owners Tony and Bobbie Werly this is “where two Indian Nations will battle, a Military Outpost will be established and one of Nevada’s richest Goldmines will be discovered”. It is a land that once was lawless and ruthless. A place were murder went unpunished and blood ran as thick as the river.
Looking at the property in the middle of ElDorado Canyon it appears as if time has stood still. You can see rusted out antique cars and trucks, old buildings and signs, and equipment that was used once upon a time in the mine. But this place is no longer a lawless region but a peaceful town where the Werly family lives.
The Werly family has invested lots of money, time, and sweat to build the homes and restore the mine that is open by tour only to the public. There is a general store filled with eclectic historical pieces the family has been collecting for years.
You can even purchase some souvenirs and a cold drink. And don’t forget to take a moment to sit and chat with the friendly owners who will happily tell you stories and show you their collection of snakes they keep stored in the freezer.
If you like ghost town then check out what you can find near Death Valley
The Road Less Travelled
We wanted our ElDorado Canyon escapade to be one to remember and Awesome Adventures had just the thing for us. Therefore, we booked the Eldorado Canyon ATV/UTV tour which combines and ATV/UTV tour with the Mine tour for a half day of adrenaline filled adventure.
We drove ourselves to ElDorado Canyon, but Awesome Adventures does offer transportation to and from Vegas at no additional charge.
We were fitted with a helmet, shown how to operate the ATV’s and provided with safety instructions. Then our guides Raj and Jared took us on trails that were originally used by mule driven carts and miners that came to the region seeking their fortune.
Fortunately, our pace was significantly faster than that of a mule. It took but a few minutes to get the hang of the ATV and in no time we were speeding away. We spent over two hours zipping up and down hills and around bends kicking up dust and testing the speed limits of our ATVs.
Our speed and noise did not allow us to spot any wildlife. However, as we rode the trails of ElDorado Canyon I could not help but notice the beautiful scenery all around me. Surrounded by mountains and dessert with all different types of cactus showing that there is life in the area.
Our time on the trail went by quickly and we were sad once it was over. However, it was time for lunch which was served next to the store in the barn’s loft.
The loft provided shelter from the sun and had a delightful breeze moving through. It was the perfect spot to relax and enjoy our meal before getting ready for the mine tour.
Digging for Gold in ElDorado Canyon
Included in the package with Awesome Adventures is a tour of the Teachatticup underground mine. Our guides told us that the Werly family purchased the 50 acres of property knowing there was a mine on site.
However, the Werley’s did not know where the entrance was. During a big rainstorm the entrance was uncovered and they spent many years cleaning it up and making it safe to explore. Many mining artifacts were also uncovered and are on display all over the property, like the old elevator pictured below.
Near the mine entrance are the remnants of a Popular Hollywood set – “3,000 Miles to Graceland” starring Kevin Costner and Kurt Russell. This location is increasing in popularity with photographers, film makers and song artists alike.
Once inside the mine the difference in temperature is felt immediately. It is as if an air-conditioner unit is running and the cool air is welcomed. Raj explains how miners worked in poor light conditions for very long days. We even received a demonstration of how dark it would get in the mine, and let me tell you it was pitch black in there.
Raj also explained how they would hand drill holes in the wall to then blow up with dynamite. Methods of drilling and tools used changed throughout the years, but the conditions did not improve much at all.
Miners were very similar to slaves, once employed by the mine they really had nowhere to go. The monies they were paid could only be used in town, which made them dependent on the mine.
Once the guided tour is over you are given time to explore the property and take pictures at your leisure. Please keep in mind this is a family business and they live on property. Please be respectful of them and of the property. Also watch your surroundings as poisonous snakes are found in the area.
You can book the ElDorado ATV/mine tour combo with Awesome Adventures here.
What to bring:
- Sunglasses, not just needed for the sun but to keep the dust out of your eyes. Goggles are provided if you do not bring sunglasses.
- Long sleeve shirt to keep the sun off your shoulders. And sunscreen to cover any exposed areas.
- A scarf or something to wrap around your mouth and nose so you don’t inhale to much dust.
- Camera and/or GoPro. If you bring a GoPro the best attachment would be a head strap or something to snap on the helmet. The roads are bumpy and placing it anywhere else produces an unpleasant video. Learn from my mistake. All my footage is garbage.
If ATVs are not for you and you just want to tour the mine you can book directly with ElDorado Canyon Mine Tours. If you just want to check out the area and take pictures you need to stop by the front desk in the shop and sign in. There is a nominal fee for this. Remember you are on private property.
Photographers – there is a small fee to photograph at the location so please check in at the store. Also this is a family business and they ask that you please respect the property and them. No nude photography allowed.
Final Thoughts and Recommendations
Next time you are in Vegas why don’t you try something new. Get off the strip and you will hit gold with a tour of ElDorado Canyon. Whether you want an adrenaline filled adventure or and educational mine tour, this little ghost town is a must. So leave the smoky casinos and glitzy nightclubs behind and buckle up for an adventure of a lifetime.
For even more outdoor fun you can Kayak through the Black Canyon and hike Valley of Fire. Alternatively, you could drive the scenic loop of Red Rock Canyon. There is plenty to do outdoors in Vegas.