Ryan Company Town is one of the best preserved ghost towns and mining camps in California.  It sits on the edge of Death Valley National Park and can be clearly seen by park visitors traveling up to Dante's View or along Hwy 190 east of Twenty Mule Team Canyon.  Ryan Company Town has long been closed to public visitation.  In fact, very few members of the public have been invited to visit Ryan since the Baby Gauge Railroad stopped running in the 1950's.  The fact that Ryan has been off-limits to the public for such a long time has been both a blessing and a curse.  The good aspect is that the buildings remain in generally good condition and the mining camp has stayed the same since it was closed down.  Rio Tinto (U.S. Borax) did an excellent job managing Ryan and taking good care of it during their time.  The bad aspect is that for a half century and counting, the public has missed out on seeing one of the great treasures of Death Valley, and upkeep and painting of the mining camp has been impossible to keep up with.  At the time of this writing (March 2012) the current status and future of Ryan Company Town is a bit clouded as far as the public goes.  The good news is that I have spoken with those now managing Ryan from the Death Valley Conservancy group.  They have already undertaken some minor repairs and restoration work.  And major planning is now underway with respects to bringing Ryan back to its original state.  Part of this involves perfectly matching up the green and white color scheme that Ryan has always been known for.  Hopefully everyone will support and appreciate the efforts of both Rio Tinto (U.S. Borax) and the Death Valley Conservancy.  Maybe someday Ryan will open its doors to public visitation in a way that will preserve and protect what is there.  Until that time, perhaps I can give you a tour of Ryan through the photos on this trip report.  Keep in mind that the general public is not currently allowed on the property of Ryan.  So to avoid potential legal trouble, genuine safety hazards, and a possible confrontation with the current caretaker of the property, do not trespass beyond the locked gate at the bottom of the hill.  The Death Valley Conservancy does offer very rare limited public tours from time to time.  For more information, you will need to contact them.  The same was true of Rio Tinto (U.S. Borax).  Rio Tinto offered some limited public tours through college groups and other organizations.  Personally, I have visited Ryan Company Town some five times over the course of my years of exploring Death Valley.  My visits were legal and on an approved tour, and with Ryan in a state of transition, I finally have the opportunity to share some of my photographs with you.  (Note-- My apologies regarding the watermarks included on my pictures below.  The watermarks had to be added because some of my pictures were stolen.)
This is the view of Ryan as seen from Dante's View Road.  This is the closest most people have ever gotten to Ryan Company Town:
At the bottom of the road leading up to Ryan is a locked gate with 'No Trespassing' signs.  Please respect these signs and do not trespass onto the property.  If you are interested in visiting Ryan, limited public tours are available from time to time through the DVC.  Contact them for further information:
Obeying the signs at the gate at the bottom is a good idea because Ryan is currently private property and there are some hazardous areas within the camp:
And now... on to the tour.  This white tank was stamped with the logo of the 20 Mule Team:
The buildings of Ryan are well known for their white surface colors with dark green trim:
Notice the beautiful setting of the town set against the backdrop of pretty rocks on the hillside:
This is a more recent picture of the building from the picture above.  Notice that a new sign has been installed:
One of Ryan's very large buildings located in the western part of town:
A row of buildings with railway track passing by the outside:
This is Spartacus Hill, so named because the opening sequence of the 1960 movie Spartacus was filmed here:
As you can see, some buildings are badly in need of repair and that's one reason the public can't visit at this time:
A variety of colors on display on the hillside above town:
Old machinery and pump equipment sitting inside of the buildings:
One of the many mine openings in the Ryan camp area:
This historic sign showed the distance to both Ryan and Furnace Creek Inn.  Ryan was once a major tourist destination when the Baby Gauge railroad was active:
About 1928, the old mine buildings at Ryan were converted into the Death Valley View Hotel:
The Baby Gauge line was operated between 1927 and the 1950's:
As this sign shows, the price of riding the Baby Gauge has increased by 50 cents to $1.50:
An outhouse located on the grounds of Ryan:
In this overview of the Ryan Company Town buildings, notice the bird house designed with the Ryan color scheme of white and green on the left:
Looking over the Baby Gauge railroad tracks into central Ryan:
Another view over western Ryan at Spartacus Hill:
Three views of the ore cars which are sitting on tracks outside of the Baby Gauge tunnel:
A mining tunnel with very limited clearance:
Roads going through western Ryan and around Spartacus Hill:
Inside a secure area, rests the legendary Baby Gauge railroad cars:
The next two pictures show the tourist cars which visitors would sit on and look at the sights while being pulled along the tracks:
The next three pictures show the Plymouth engine used to pull the railway cars:
The tourist cars are attached to the Plymouth engine car:
The Baby Gauge cars are safely stored inside a secure tunnel to protect them:
View of the ore cars sitting on the tracks from the tunnel:
The familiar green and white colors are beginning to peel and fade.  There simply isn't the staff on site to maintain everything at this time:
Steve hanging out at Ryan Company Town on one of his five visits:
The Death Valley View Hotel is probably the largest building in town, with many rooms throughout the two stories:
Check out the intricate rock wall foundation on this building:
Golden hills and Furnace Creek can be seen far off in the distance.  The Death Valley View Hotel was well named and has truly great views of the area:
More buildings at the northern end of town:
This is the Ryan Chapel, one of the most interesting buildings to check out:
Picture of Steve with the Ryan Chapel in the background:
Inside the chapel there are bench seats on the floor and a balcony viewing area up above:
This is the view of the stage.  Notice, too, the uniquely shaped windows:
More views of the windows of the Ryan Chapel taken from the outside:
The tall rock foundation continues around the outside of the two story Death Valley View Hotel:
Everything in Ryan looks pretty much as it did in the 1920's when this was a booming active town:
The Old Ranger's room is on display inside the Death Valley View Hotel:
Notice the towels with The Old Ranger logo on them:
Another view looking out at the mountains of Death Vallley:
Two more views of the two story Death Valley View Hotel building which has many rooms that were once heavily in use.  Notice in the second picture that room numbers are still on the doors:
Our final stop on the tour is probably the most special building which is found in Ryan:
This is the Ryan Company Town School House:
The school house is located a bit lower than the other buildings in the camp:
View of the school house taken on a foggy day.  The elevation is a bit higher at Ryan, so the temperatures can be quite different than what you might find at Furnace Creek:
In the foreground, you can see the swing which children used to play on long ago:
The school house was in use with children and a teacher when Ryan Company Town was active:
Inside the school house, the chalk board has now become a momento to the people who have visited Ryan in recent decades:
In this picture, you can see people who signed in during the years 1989, 1995, 2005, and 2006:
One of the remarkable things is that the school house still contains the original desks that the children used:
Students were taught against a backdrop of mining sounds outside and beautiful views as they looked out these windows:
Visitors to Ryan signing in to the front chalk board:
Back outside of the school house, this merry-go-round was also once heavily in use by the children of Ryan:
The bell tower in the school house still works.  Nearly a century ago, the ringing bell would signal children when it was time for school to start and end for the day:
Two more views of the Ryan School House from different angles:
View of Ryan from the opposite side of Spartacus Hill:
Sun shining on the Funeral Mountains in the distance:
These are the steps that a first-time visitor to Ryan climbs up upon arrival:
Final picture of Daria and Steve at Ryan.  If you recognize this photo, it is because we have always used a smaller version of it on the main page of the site:
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