Abandoned Casino Ghost Town!

20160908_154148On my way back down to Vegas from Burning Man, after stumbling upon the fabulous ruins of that sprawling abandoned brothel near the California/Nevada state line, I got back in my truck and continued on my drive home. But I didn’t get very far, maybe 5 miles, before I had to stop again — because of even more, even BETTER abandoned ruins!


This time, it was an entire abandoned TOWN!!!

20160908_151941There is a cluster of maybe 20 abandoned buildings on either side of U.S. 6 as you head over Montgomery Pass. At one time, it looks like there used to be a casino, a restaurant, a motel and a lodge, plus a bunch of little cabins and houses…but everything is now shuttered and in a charming state of decay 🙂

20160908_155754Poking around the ruins, it looked like there was a fire or something in the restaurant/casino…and the rest of the buildings were just abandoned because of who knows what. Maybe the fire at the restaurant killed the town’s business, and everyone just moved away. I can’t imagine there was ever that much business out there anyway — it’s VERY remote (the closest “big cities” are Tonopah, NV and Bishop, CA, an hour away in either direction), and U.S. 6 isn’t very heavily traveled to begin with.

screen-shot-2016-09-14-at-2-57-29-pmA brochure I found inside one of the buildings said “Soper’s Montgomery Pass Lodge,” but a Google search revealed very little information or history on the place. Apparently it was a popular stop for sportsmen on their way to/from the Eastern Sierra, its claim to fame being that at 7,167 feet, it was the World’s Highest Casino — 1000 feet higher than Lake Tahoe.

20160908_152846A fire burned down the restaurant/casino in March 2010…but going through the wreckage in some of the little cabins, I found a lot of newspapers and magazines dating from the late 1990s-very early 2000s, so some of the buildings appear to have been abandoned long before the fire. Maybe business was already dying out, and the casino owners intentionally set the fire to cash out and start over somewhere else — who knows?

20160908_152616In a way, it’s kind of cool that there isn’t much information available online — that way you can draw your own conclusions, just from what you find in the ruins. One of the houses had a huge vanity area in the bathroom with lights and everything, which led me to concoct a cockamamie fantasy about a beautiful showgirl who married a rich casino boss that dragged her out to the middle of nowhere to run this lonely mountain resort. As the resort’s 20160908_152139business dwindled day by day, with fewer and fewer visitors passing through, she still sat at her vanity every day for hours primping and painting her eyes and lips, wandering around the semi-deserted facilities like a beautiful ghost, with no one to appreciate her efforts but old keno machines and tumbleweed. Hell, maybe she was the one to set the place on fire — she figured it was her only ticket out!

20160908_152453Maybe she lit the place on fire one night in a three-martini-fit of melancholic rage…but her plan backfired horribly when her casino-magnate husband was trapped inside the building!! Maybe he burned alive, and in her despair the aging showgirl packed up her feathers and makeup and fled to Reno…where she changed her name and now lives out her days giving perms and rinses to the bluehairs at Circus Circus.

20160908_152314Or…maybe the showgirl was so bored living in that podunk little town that she took to secretly hitchhiking down the highway to nearby Janie’s Ranch! While her preoccupied husband was busy tallying profits in his 2nd-story office, unbeknownst to him his beautiful wife was turning tricks at the brothel, where at least the long-haul truckers and miners appreciated her beauty!! Then one day a loose-lipped trucker inadvertently tipped off her enraged husband…who then lured her to dinner at the casino under the pretext of making amends, then locked the doors and burned it down with her in it!!

Who knows?!?

20160908_152243There’s a thousand stories you could make up about this spooky, fascinating place — made even more haunting by the extreme remoteness and the beautiful high desert surroundings. I’ll bet it’s really beautiful in the wintertime; they get snow up there, which makes the relatively good condition of the ruins even more impressive.

I was there for an hour or longer, and did not see one other person, other than a few cars passing on the highway. Although there was a newer-vintage satellite dish behind the motel…so maybe there is a security guard or caretaker or something who looks after the place. If so, I saw no sign of him or his personal dwelling. Still — be advised!

20160908_152410Also, there looks to be some sort of highway maintenance yard or offices nearby, so be mindful of that — at the time of my visit, it looked to be operational…although again, I didn’t see anyone coming or going. But the buildings, fences and trucks were definitely new(er) and in current use.

In any event, the worst thing that happened to me was stepping on a rusty nail — a classic rookie mistake, since I was wearing flip flops and was definitely not dressed for urban exploration. But fortunately I had a tetanus booster a few months prior…so I think I’ll be OK 🙂





Hussar 4 Hussies

Please, do tell more!

By far your best blog ever, just running riot with your imaginations of what could of, would of, or should of happened by the sense of abandoned dismays so recently discovered. I cannot wait for the next edition of “Showgirl Blues,” I guess that is how Charles Dickens got his big break, keep them hungering for the next edition.

Your curiosity knows no bounds and you back it with stories so believable that indeed your fiction is stranger than our reality, and that’s how we like it.



Hey Wonderhussy,

That is what is left of the town of Mount Montgomery, which was the home of the Montgomery Pass Casino and the Boundary Peak Motel. I was last there about 10 years ago, it was all closed down and abandoned even then. I remember the casino/motel still standing at that time, seems like it was a two-story building. Back then there were people on the property, like living there, you could look around a bit but eventually someone would be watching you. Now it looks like everyone is gone and you can look around a lot more. A friend told me a few years ago that wild horses sometimes wander through there. (If you are lucky, you can see wild mustangs in that part of Nevada.)


If you’re enamored with ruins, look no further than Detroit. We have it in spades. I don’t know why anyone would invest in something on Hwy 6, traffic was never much at any time. I wonder what Benton Hot Springs is like? I see it’s close by.

John Rush

“a charming state of decay” — you’re delightfully different.

Regarding the casino’s demise, since it was the only one for dozens of miles, maybe the Casino Commission rarely (if ever) visited, and the owner(s) took even more unfair (and perhaps illegal) advantages of their customers. When word spread, their business dwindled, and the fire could have been their way of cutting losses before cutting out.

As for Detroit, this guy’s been posting some good videos on youtube:


Most of them lack narration. In one, he talked about leaving the apartment where he previously lived because it kept being broken into. The city’s population was about 1.8 million during the early 1950s; it’s now below 700,000, so more than half of it has been abandoned. If you go, you’d best arrange for someone else to drive you through town in a dented rust-bucket, lest your own vehicle wind up in a chop shop. And make sure you and your hosts are sufficiently armed.


Oh wow! Detroit would be SO interesting to explore….but as an outsider, I would feel rude poking around there, because that is people’s reality, and I don’t want to exploit people’s misery. If I lived there like he does, different story! He’s earned the right!

Tom Frye

Yeah, you and I talked about that on another spoke of the media wheel(8-)…
and again, I salute your sense of ethics and respect.

But regarding your pokin’ a hole in your foot…thanks ever so much for taking precautions. Gettin’ lockjaw would have been extremely painful…which YOU don’t need…and would have shut you up (at least temporarily), which WE don’t need.

myron connery

you are amazing , i love your free spirit so much just found you on youtube and been binging your channel , i am a retired military / carpenter live in the woods in a cabin at the base of Mt.Rainier and my girl ad i are getting our van reddy for Part Time van life and going to to some traveling to see the world , many blessings to you and hope to meet you one day , Peace and love to you !


Thank you, my friend! I’m excited for you and your girl and your upcoming van life adventures! Who knows, maybe we’ll run into each other out there one of these days…

Jim Carlson

Thank you for posting this, as it brings back quite the memories of travelling over this very pass when the casino was in it’s heyday. It was the mid 1980’s and my family owned an orchard in northern Idaho. We would load Chevy diesel trucks in Troy, Idaho with the apples and haul them, nonstop to southern California, in the winter, going as fast as we could so the fruit wouldn’t freeze. Montgomery pass was a welcome relief after crawling up from Mina at 25mph or so, as fast as those old diesel trucks would go at the time up the long grade but we usually took our only stop atop Montgomery pass. On the way back, we would haul oranges. My grandparents are gone now, as is the orchard, but I deeply appreciate your posting these stories, and thank you for the memories they bring back to mind.


Awwwww, wow!! Thank YOU for sharing your memories of the place! I love hearing stuff like that, from people who actually knew these places when they were vibrant and alive.

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