Scenic USA - Nevada
|Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Photography
When Life Magazine published a derogatory article about Nevada's U.S. Route 50, calling it the loneliest road in America, Nevada officials may have cringed at first, but quickly took advantage of the publicity. The Silver State began offering maps of all the attractions along the highway, awarding pins and stickers for those completing a scavenger hunt along this 300 mile route.
Loosely following the Pony Express Route, U.S. Route 50 cuts a path from east to west across the middle of the state. One of the most mountainous states in America, Route 50 crosses several ranges, with some summits topping 11,000 feet. Historic ghost towns are scattered along the highway, with countless sites spread throughout Churchill, Lander, Eureka and White Pine counties.
Heading eastward from the agriculture center the road is reduced to two lanes. Here in this area Sand Mountain Recreation Area provides plenty of excitement for off-road vehicle riders, hikers and sand-boarders on 4800 acres of incredible dunes.
Further eastward, near Austin, sightseers should keep an eye out for Stokes Castle. Modeled after a medieval Italian tower, the three story granite tower was a dream vacation home for railroad and mining magnate, Anson Phelps Stokes. Completed in 1847, the family spent only a month during the summer and few days in October. By the following year, Stokes sold his mine, milling equipment and home. Left to the elements, the home continued to deteriorate and is now a ghostly shell.
Off to the east, near the Utah Border, Route 50 nears Great Basin National Park and the 13,000 foot Wheeler Peak. Near Ely, highlights include Lehman Caves, the Glory Hole copper mine, Ward Charcoal Ovens, and the Nevada Northern Railway Museum. Even though the Nevada byway is truly a lonely highway, there are quite a few intriguing points of interest on the route from Carson City to Ely.
Byway Points of Interest
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