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 – 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 National Park – The nation’s newest national park includes the impressive Wheeler Peak, ancient Bristlecone Pines and the intriguing Lehman Caves.
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.
Hickison Summit – About 45-miles west of Eureka is Hickison Summit, the site of rare Indian Petroglyphs.
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.
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.
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 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 – 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, 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 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 – 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.
Old Middlegate – Old Pony Express Station that also sits on the original Lincoln Highway. Food, drinks, gas available.