We stopped off in Beatty, Nevada for a few days before heading down into Death Valley National Park. Beatty is a small town that used to be an old mining town. Now it seems to mostly get by from people passing through on their way to/ from Death Valley. The weather this week hasn’t been the greatest with a large storm moving in. Fortunately, most of the rain happened in the evenings and overnight so we still had time to explore without getting wet.
One of the first places we checked out was the Rhyolite ghost town. I am fascinated by history stuff, especially stuff from the 1700 and 1800s. So ghost towns are a huge draw for me. Like most ghost towns, Rhyolite was at one point a bustling city. Mining in the area caused the town to grow and prosper, and when that dried up it was eventually abandoned. A lot of buildings are gone, but parts of some of the larger one are still standing. Walking along the main road, we looped around to one of the old mining areas to look at all the old ruins.
Goldwell Open Art Museum
On the road that takes you into Rhyolite, is the Goldwell Open Art Museum. The museum began in 1984 with the creation of “The Last Supper” piece by Belgian artist Albert Szukalski. Szulskii wrapped live models in fabric soaked in plaster and posed them. When the plaster set, the models slipped out, leaving rigid sculptures. The collection contains contemporary art pieces that are sprinkled around the property. The largest and most hard to miss piece was the giant Lady Desert: The Venus of Nevada which looked like a Lego naked lady statue. A little museum provides more information about the pieces, but it was closed during our visit.
Spicer Ranch MTB trails
On the last day in Beatty, we went for a mountain bike ride at the local trails that they have been building for the last 5 years or so. The trails start from Spicer Ranch which seems to still be active based on the large amount of cows on the bottom part of the trails. The trailhead was nicely done complete with bathrooms, showers, camping and picnic area. So far there are not a ton of trails, but looking at the master plan on their website, the area will eventually get over 100 miles of trails built. We put together a loop doing most of the main trails including the Spicer Ranch loop, Southpond Mountain, Dynamite and Plutonium Ridge loop. This ended up being about a 16 mile bike ride. There were a few other trails we could have added on, but the weather was getting a little stormy looking so we called it good at that. The lower trails, Spicer Ranch, Southpond and Dynamite where nicely built and fun. None of them were very technical, but still fun to ride. Any day on a bike is better than a day at work! The Plutonium Ridge Loop had a different characteristic to it. The lower half of the trail was made up of old cow trails and was hard to know what was the actual trail and what was a cow trail. The upper part when you got to the ridge was a little better and fun. It was good for extra miles, but I preferred the lower trails that seemed better built up. Definitely a place to check out and ride if you are passing through this area.
Riding the trails in Beatty was also our first chance to ride our new Niner bikes. After riding our Yeti bikes for the past 8 years and 26” wheeled bikes our whole biking lives, I was worried the new 29” bikes would take some getting used to. This wasn’t the case though. The bikes felt totally natural and rode great. They climbed amazing and where fast and fun on the descents. Even on the tight switchbacks they handled them just as good, if not better than our old 26” bikes. The trails weren’t very technical so we didn’t get to test how the bikes do on that type of terrain, but so far they are amazing.