As much as we would have loved to have spent our entire time in Truth or Consequences doing nothing but soaking the day away at the hot springs, as soon as we heard about a little ghost town hidden in the desert we knew we had to go.
The town of Lake Valley dates back to 1878, when silver was first discovered in the area but the real boom came in 1882 when a large chamber of silver ore was found just 40 feet below the surface. Silver mined from the bridal chamber at the Lake Valley Mine was so valuable that a piece of it was shipped out to the 1882 World Exposition held in Denver and sold for nearly $7,000 that’s an awful lot of money in 1882.
As the volume of silver pulled from the mine increased, so did the town’s growth, in 1884 the railroad came to town to help ship in supplies and ship out the valuable silver. Along with its rapid growth came its reputation for lawlessness, the town drew in prospectors and gunslingers alike.
In 1893 the good times came to an end when the bottom dropped out on the price of silver. Lake Valley strived to stay alive, but ultimately one by one the buildings were abandoned and the town forgotten. By the mid 1900’s the town was entirely abandoned except for one couple who remained until 1994, the last residents of Lake Valley.
The Bureau of Land Management now maintains Lake Valley as an important historical and archeological site; which means if you spot something on the ground it stays where it lays, its a federal crime to remove items from this site! Out of the way of the main tourism routes, Lake Valley sees very few visitors, and if you get lucky like we did you may just find you have the whole place to yourself!
The site’s caretaker Dan, was an incredible source of information, we spent a huge part of our visit picking his brain, and learning about the history of Lake Valley and the people who once called it home.
Lake Valley Ghost Town is about an hour drive outside of Truth or Consequences, NM. The drive out takes you along a scenic byway with breathtaking views of desert landscapes and towering canyon walls. There is NO CELLULAR service in this area no matter who your carrier is, and GPS cannot be relied upon. We took route BLANK to the town Hillsboro and the hopped on scenic route BLANK which brought us directly out to Lake Valley.
You can return to Truth or Consequences the same way you came in or you can continue along to Hatch (the supposed Chile Capital of the World) grab a delicious Green Chile Cheeseburger at Sparky’s and then hop back on the main highway() to head back to T or C