Techatticup Mine – Nelson, Nevada - Atlas Obscura

Techatticup Mine

This famous Nevada gold mine, once a hotbed of Wild West shenanigans, is now open for tours. 


Located in the arid Nevada hills, the Techatticup Mine once spat out enough gold and silver to inspire murder, treachery, and claim-jumping. Now it has been restored and is partially open to visitors looking to take a tour through the rocky but, luckily, bloodless tunnels.

While the thick veins of precious metals were discovered in the hills of what is now Nelson, Nevada by Spanish explorers in the 1700s, digging did not begin in earnest until around a hundred years later in one of the largest mining booms in the state history. Hungry prospectors began to swarm the area around the mid-1800s, digging a warren of tunnels and shafts deep into the hills, following seemingly endless mineral veins into the ground. The area soon became a popular refuge for Civil War deserters who hid from battle in the remote and inhospitable desert climate.

Ownership of the mines soon became a hotly contested issue with groups of miners claim-jumping one another or simply murdering their competition. Soon the area became infamous as a lawless free-for-all where murder could be a nightly occurrence. At the peak of the criminal activity, local law enforcement refused to even enter the area.  

Eventually the boom subsided and the Techatticup Mine was abandoned leaving behind miles of tunnels and countless rickety sheds and houses. After decades of neglect the land was purchased by the Werly family who set to work restoring the historic buildings and even excavating and exploring the many tunnels. Today the Werlys themselves now offer historic tours through portions of the mines walking visitors some 500 feet into the hills over pits hundreds of feet deep, showing veins of gold and silver that still sit unmined in the rock.

The area has also been the setting of a number of films including 3000 Miles to Graceland, from which the remains of a fake exploded plane can still be seen.   

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