Rabbithole Springs was used as a stop by emigrants along the Applegate-Lassen Trail. It was the last stop before Black Rock Point, and subsequently the last stop before crossing the Black Rock Desert. Lindsay Applegate noted in 1846 that there were "Great numbers of rabbits...and we killed all we wanted of them. This is the place always since known as the Rabbit Hole Springs." Many emigrants were disappointed, however, because wells had to be dug to reach a decent amount water. In 1852, Noble's Cutoff of the California Trail began using Rabbithole Springs.

Gold was first discovered nearby in 1916 by two brothers, and in 1932 a washing plant was installed at the springs. By the mid 1930s, about 150 people were in the district placering, and a camp had formed about 3½ miles east of the springs. Small operations would continue on and off until the 1960s.