Highway 50 2017-06-13T11:37:20+00:00

More than 25 years ago, Life Magazine dubbed U.S. Hwy 50 “The Loneliest Road in America.”  The magazine writer stated that you would need survival skills to traverse it.  Before that, this section of road that is Hwy 50 through the heart of Nevada was the Lincoln Highway, America’s first paved “Coast to Coast” road that started at Times Square in New York City and went across the nation to Lincoln Park in San Francisco. And even before that, Pony Express riders galloped through Nevada on the land that parallels current Hwy 50 between St. Joseph’s, MO and San Francisco to deliver mail.

Today, there is a lot to see and do along Hwy 50 and in the communities along the way. The open road, spirit of America, and old west history await you.

ely-museum Ely Ely, an historic copper mining town, offers accommodations, restaurants and services. It is also home to the Nevada Northern Railway Museum, one of the best preserved shortline railroads in the county.

great-basin Great Basin National Park – The nation’s newest national park includes the impressive Wheeler Peak, ancient Bristlecone Pines and the intriguing Lehman Caves.

eureka-hwy50 Eureka – A 77-mile trip from Ely, Eureka is perhaps the best preserved example of a 19th century mining town in the state. Services, accommodations, beautifully restored historic buildings and authentic frontier cemeteries makes Eureka a worthwhile stop.

hickson-summit Hickison Summit – About 45-miles west of Eureka is Hickison Summit, the site of rare Indian Petroglyphs.

austin Austin – Austin, another former mining town, claims three of the loveliest frontier churches in the west, several cemeteries and a number of historic structure and ruins. Accommodations, restaurants and services are available.

sandmountain-small Sand Mountain – The giant sand dune, a popular recreation spot for off road vehicles, was created by the windblown sand from the beaches of the prehistoric sea that once covered Nevada.

downtown-fallon-small Fallon – From Austin, it is a two hour drive to scenic Fallon, a major agricultural region famous for its “Hearts O Gold” cantaloups. The Churchill County Museum in Fallon is one of the finest rural museums in the state. Lodging an other services are available.

lahontan-small Lahontan Reservoir – A full range of water sports, fishing, boating and camping are found at the reservoir. Completed in 1915, it is part of the Newlands Irrigation Project, which was the nation’s first federal reclamation project.

Fort-churchill.red_ Fort Churchill – An interesting side trip, just south of the loneliest road, on U.S. 95, is historic Fort Churchill. The facility was built in 1861 as a garrison for federal troops during the Civil War and to protect the citizens of the state from hostile Indian attacks.

fernley Fernley – Fernley, the western gateway to the loneliest road, is located about half an hour from Fort Churchill. Originally an important agricultural center and railroad station, Fernley has evolved into a small town that offers plenty of services for road travelers on either Highway 50 or Interstate 80.

carson-highway-50 Carson City – Nestled in the northwestern part of the state, just a short jaunt from both Lake Tahoe and Reno, Nevada’s capital was built on the cornerstones of mining, lodging and the mighty railroad. And while the city has all the modern amenities a state capital could hope for, its roots are evident nearly everywhere you look, most prominently in its picturesque downtown corridor.  Places of interest in Carson City are the Nevada State Railroad Museum, the Nevada State Museum and the V & T Railroad.

dayton Dayton – On Highway 50 just east of Carson City is Dayton, a place where history buffs and lovers of all things Old West will enjoy.  Prospectors and settlers were drawn to the fertile valley because of both the Carson River and the promise of gold.  In fact, the first discovery of gold in Nevada was found in what is known as Old Town Dayton.  Today, visitors to the area are charmed by its nostalgic board sidewalks and the shops, dining establishments, and homes located in buildings from Dayton’s historic past.  Places of interest in Dayton include The Dayton Museum and Dayton State Park.

middlegate Old Middlegate – Old Pony Express Station that also sits on the original Lincoln Highway. Food, drinks, gas available.

Lincoln Highway in Fallon

The remaining existing route in Fallon today starts at the corner of Allen Rd. (go north on Allen Rd. from Williams Ave.) and Auction Rd. If you look to the west from this point you can see where the road used to exist and would tie into Highway 50 westbound. Start hear and head east on Auction Rd. When it connects to West Williams Ave., head east to Maine St., then right (or south) to Center St., then left (or east) to East St., then right (or south) to Stillwater Ave, then left (or east) to Harrigan Rd., then right (or south) out of Fallon’s city limits.
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Pony Express in Fallon

A lone cottonwood tree in Fallon has been the subject of Pony Express legend since 1860. The tale typifies the determination of the Pony Express rider to fulfill his oath and protect the mail. The story involves Emmet McCain, the Pony Express rider from Buckland’s Station to Sand Springs. After receiving the “hand-off” from “Pony Bob,” McCain galloped off only to find that Indians had run off the horses at the next station. Changing course in an attempt to avoid the Indians, McCain rode on. But, when his horse shied fearfully, he looked back to see a band of Indians on his trail.
McCain knew he was about to be overtaken; but, in a determined effort to save the mail if not himself, he drew up and threw the mail pouch in a marshy hole and trampled dirt over it with the horse’s hooves. Then, he thrust the cottonwood switch he carried as a whip into the ground as a marker. He raced on only to be run down and killed… The cottonwood switch is said to have grown into a beautiful tree that for eighty years stood out upon the plain.
That ‘lone” tree (of the legend) was five miles south of Fallon and a mile west at the intersection of Lone Tree Road and Allen Road. While that tree was cut down in 1930, the legend lives on.
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