Alder is one of several towns that arose during a 1860s gold rush in the Alder Gulch/Ruby River area. Virginia City was the largest of those towns and the only one with any substantial remains today. The few historic structures that survive in Alder are privately owned and most are occupied. Alder has a current population of 116. There are no services, no historical markers and no designated parking areas for visitors in Alder. There is a large area of dredge tailings immediately northeast of Alder and a few recently active dredging/mining operations. Other nearby 1860s gold rush towns include Laurin, which is 2 miles north of Alder. Laurin has a small bed and breakfast and a few restored historic buildings. Nevada City which is next to Virginia City and about 7 miles east of Alder has several tourist related business.