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About Ballarat

Between the dry lakebed of Panamint Lake and the rocky Panamint Mountains which rise nearly 10,000 feet above, the town of Ballarat had a short life beginning in 1897 when gold was discovered at the Radcliff Mine in Pleasant Canyon. With gravel for soil, seepweed and creosote for vegetation and a nearby grove of mesquite for trees, Ballarat served miners with supplies and recreation.

The mine closed in 1905 and the post office closed in 1917. The town's last resident was called Seldom Seen Slim, and was buried in 1968. Today the town is still privately owned, but a museum and campground are provided for visitors. Numerous structures in various stages of decline can be visited. A bumpy dirt road accesses the canyon where the mines were located.

Ballarat is located a few miles off Panamint Valley Road, and is accessed by a dirt road. There are no towns that remain in Panamint Valley, and the closest town is Trona. Ballarat is close to Death Valley National Park, which includes the northern end of Panamint Valley and the tops of the Panamint Mountains.

Ballarat was close to the enclave of the notorious criminal Charles Manson. The elevation is about 1,060 feet.

Street Index

a dirt road
a road
Ballarat Road
Indian Ranch Road
Wingate Road

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