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Virginia City, Nevada

Ponderosa Saloon

Beneath a Virginia City bar is the entrance to an abandoned gold mine. 

A fully-functional saloon in Virginia City, Nevada contains an 1860’s bank vault and underground mine. The beloved watering hole has been offering tours of the mine shaft since the 1900s.

Virginia City, Nevada used to be a heavy mining town, and was pocked with tunnels dug by voracious miners hunting for silver and gold. The Best & Belcher mine was not profitable in the gold rush of the 1800s, but became profitable 100 years later in an entirely different way. The owners of the Ponderosa Saloon realized that the mine shaft of the Best & Belcher mine was only a short way away from their bar, so they dug a tunnel to the abandoned mine shaft and began offering tours.

The saloon also features an old walk-in bank vault, and the now 150-year-old establishment offers up tours of both the vault and the mine. The 25-minute tour of the mine guides you through the shaft and the more than 300 pieces of vintage mining equipment on display. After the tour, you can grab a cold drink and a hot dog from the restaurant above.