Thursday, October 31, 2013

Hike Through A Ghost Town: St. Thomas, NV



Just inside the north entrance to Lake Mead NRA is a 3.5 mile dirt road leading to a trail and the remains of St. Thomas. The town was settled by Mormons in 1865, but was flooded by the rising waters created by Hoover Dam in 1938. It was first exposed during a drought in the late 1950s, but was once again submerged when the drought ended. It has been uncovered this time since 2002, and from the looks of things it’s unlikely the water level in Lake Mead will ever rise enough to cover it again.


There isn’t much left but a few foundations, walls, and cisterns.





It’s hard to believe this town was built at the confluence of the Virgin and Muddy Rivers, and the Mormons actually grew cotton here. There was no electricity or running water, and you wonder how they suffered through the heat of summer.

This was the largest ruins, and we figured out it must have been the old schoolhouse pictured at the trailhead.




People have laid out artifacts in various locations, which consisted of lots of rusty stuff and pieces of glass.



It would be nice if the park service put up some signs to let you know what you’re looking at, but they don’t even maintain the trail, so I guess that will never happen. With all the tamarisk overtaking what’s left of the town site, it may be hard to see much of anything in a few years.


If you’re interested, you can read more about the history of St. Thomas here. And if you take this hike, do wear long pants. Your legs will thank you for it.

Had to post a couple pictures of Sophie the explorer, enjoying life on the edge. She would be down that canyon in a heartbeat if we let her loose.




  1. Thanks for the history lesson. What an interesting area. I can't believe that they lived there till 1938.

    Bella would be right there with Sophie .

  2. You are right about the lake not refilling...too many open faucets and not enough snow in the mountains.
    Box Canyon Mark

  3. We lived in Las Vegas in the early nineties and found the Mormon migration and history of that region quit fascinating. Sad to see the waters drying up so much. The low water conditions in the area will only get worse as the State of Colorado starts to hold onto more of the water.

  4. Intrepid cats!! Are you sure you want to find new homes for them?

  5. Thanks for the great info about the area. Too bad the park service can't put up a lousy sign telling about it.