Man per man and mile per mile, Eldorado Canyon in Nevada has a broader range of historical events than anywhere in the Wild West. This rich history, coupled with the turbulent events in Eldorado Canyon in the 19th century, has led to numerous ghost stories of dead miners, Indians, and pioneers who once roamed the area.
However, some of the most fascinating are the ghostly tales of canine spirits. Reportedly, during the rowdy mining days, many prospectors kept dogs at their claim sites to protect their property. Reared to attack at the slightest trespass by strangers, the dogs were often extremely vicious.
“Man’s best friend” or not, many of these dogs were shot, left chained at the claim site to die, or released into the wild, when the gold played out and the miners left the area. Over the years, numerous tales of sightings of these many spectral hounds have been told by exploring visitors and locals alike. A few even tell of being attacked by these ferocious canine apparitions.
One story on the Shadowlands Website describes two brothers who were compelled to test the validity of the canine tales. Exploring the area, they soon found an old mine shaft where they noticed an ancient weathered chain embedded into the rock wall near the entrance. Entering the old mine, they came upon a pile of bones that appeared to be those of a large dog. As the sun set quickly, they determined to camp near the mine shaft. Sitting around a small campfire, they listened to what sounded like coyotes yipping in the distance. Not alarmed, they ate dinner around the fire until both men began to feel uneasy as the atmosphere changed, seeming thick and somehow charged. Before long, they heard the sounds of large dogs panting nearby, followed by low and hateful growls.
With hair no doubt standing up upon the back of their necks, they heard the sound of paws circling the campsite and scratching noises from the shaft where the chain was lying. Stealing a glimpse at the shaft, the chain began to move, seemingly being tugged away from the rock wall by an unknown force. As the pulling continued harder each time, the brothers fumbled for their gear and stumbled to their feet. One of them pointed the flashlight toward the chain where scratch marks and bloodstains could be seen on the rock. Suddenly, the chain dropped, and one of the brothers felt something brush against his leg before both frantically ran toward their car. As they drove as fast as they could out of the canyon, they could hear wild panting and canine footsteps as a pack of invisible wild strays kept pace with them for several miles.
Locals refer to these spectral hounds as The Hell Dogs of Eldorado Canyon.
© Kathy Alexander/Legends of America, updated November 2022.
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