like many small towns in the west, Nipton began
at a wagon trail crossroad in the 1870s. Originally
called Nipton Camp, the town started as an
overnight stop for the weary wagon drivers who
hauled ore out of the local mines. Then the
discovery of gold in the surrounding mountains
brought hordes of prospectors to the settlement.
In 1905, the Sand Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake
Railroad made its first run from Los Angeles to
Salt Lake City, with Nipton serving as a stopover.
Later when the Union Pacific Railroad bought the
railway, it renamed the town Nipton. Today
Nipton serves as a reminder of days gone by.
Walking around you can imagine what it was like
to live in a small, isolated western railroad town.
Protect the Desert Tortoise
In fron t of you spreads the Ivanpah Valley, home
to the Desert Tortoise, one of Mojave's most
unique inhabitants. They feed primarily on
spring and fall annuals that sprout after
infrequent rainfalls. The desert tortoise is
known for its ability to store water and survive
in the harsh desert extremes. When water is
scarce, the tortoise can go months living off
the stored water.
Officially declared a threatened species by the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the desert tortoise
faces challenges to its continued survival.
Predation from ravens and coyotes, expanding
human development, and introduced diseases
are all contributing factors to the tortoises'
decline. Efforts are underway to protect
populations and improve habitat. The Desert
Tortoise is protected by law. It is illegal to take,
harass, or capture a Desert Tortoise. If seen,
please observe from a distance.