Ballarat is an almost ghost town on the eastern edge of southern Panamint Valley. Mostly melting adobe and rotting wood-frame buildings, it is not usually a busy place. But drop into the store and chat with locals Rock and George, a retired miner, or camp across the street in the playa dust (no hookups).
Ballarat is the jumping off point for backpacking and 4x4 adventures in the Panamint Mountains just to the east. Surprise Canyon (Panamint City), Pleasant Canyon, and Goler Canyon (Barker Ranch) are all reached from Ballarat.