austin nv

Austin

The "City of Churches"

Founded during a silver rush in the 1860s, Austin NV stands as a testament to “the way it was.” Situated along the Loneliest Road in America, the Austin of today is a friendly little community filled with beautiful 19th-century buildings, old-school saloons, friendly accommodations, and intriguing historic sites. Find out why Austin Nevada makes a great stop while road tripping Highway 50 and a perfect springboard for exploring central Nevada’s sweeping outdoor splendor.

Experience the West at Its Wildest!

The Heart of the Loneliest Road

As the near halfway point of The Loneliest Road in America—and the closest town to the geographic center of Nevada—Austin is a true testament to, as they say around here, “the way it was.” Walk among still-standing telltales of Nevada’s 19th-century grandeur in a town that once rivaled Virginia City in terms of wealth and mineral output. Or make it your basecamp for outdoor action, thanks to a serious mountain biking trail system, the trailhead for the rugged Toiyabe Crest Trail thru-hike, and nearby destinations like hot springs and the recreationalist paradises of Kingston Canyon and gorgeous Big Smoky Valley.

Region

North Central

Average Temperatures

Summer

79°F

26°C

59°F

15°C

Fall

61°F

16°C

46°F

C

Winter

44°F

C

31°F

-1°C

Spring

57°F

14°C

39°F

C

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Austin Nevada History

Austin NV’s robust mining-era history has earned the town Historic District status and a dozen of of its buildings places on the National Register of Historic Places. But, as with most places in Nevada, history begins long before any of those places. The Western Shoshone Indians were the first to inhabit the area, and you can see their artistic calling cards in two Austin area locations: Hickison Petroglyph Recreation Area, where you can appreciate 10,000 year old rock carvings, and Toquima Cave, one of the largest—and oldest—pictograph canvases on the entire continent. 

Lander County Courthouse

While many businesses disappeared as fortune-seekers took them (and sometimes even their buildings) to the next boomtown, Austin’s Historic Churches remain—the amount and conditions of which are both rare for a former mining town—including St. Augustine’s Cultural Center, originally the community’s catholic church, which is now the town’s prized events center. 

Travel Nevada Pro Tip

Be sure to check out the 1863-built Gridley Store, where its owner famously lost a bet that he could carry a 50-lb flour sack through town, as chronicled in Mark Twain’s “Roughing It”. In an effort to raise funds for wounded Union soldiers, the sack was auctioned off and donated back to Gridley over and over again, ultimately amassing an astonishing $250,000 donation.
Toquima Cave

As a proper boom-and-bust 19th-century mining town, an 1860s silver rush made Austin thrive with a population of more than 10,000. By 1887, however, ore discovery and production declined, prompting the city’s residents to seek new opportunities elsewhere. Thanks to its perfect location on Highway 50—the Loneliest Road in America—Austin was able to hang on, and today still showcases its fascinating chapter of Nevada’s story—including at the old Lander County Courthouse (now a visitor center) and the Austin Historical Society, where you’ll see fascinating artifacts from the mining boom days, the Pony Express Route, and more. 

Stokes Castle

One of the most prominent reminders of Austin’s mining-era grandeur is Stokes Castle. Perched on the western edge of town, overlooking the sweeping Reese River Valley. This three-story stone structure was built of hand-hewn granite by a wealthy mining magnate and railroad tycoon in the 1890s. Although it was surprisingly only lived in for about a month, it now stands as a monument to its dry-masonry construction and the over-the-top displays of wealth that solidified the legends of the Wild West forever.

jasons art gallery, nevada turquoise
Jason’s Art Gallery

Things to Do in and Around Austin, NV

Around Town

Among the many gems awaiting you in the Austin area is a place full of literal ones. Jason’s Art Gallery (also sometimes called Little Blue Bird Turquoise) is a top-notch shop filled with beautiful loose stones, handmade jewelry, and more, with much of it found or mined not too far away.

Travel Nevada Pro Tip

Before you ditch civilization, order your Highway 50 Survival Guide, or pick one up at a participating business along the way. Watch for the official signs to collect stamps in at least five Highway 50 communities, send it our way, and we’ll reward your efforts with some sweet “survivor” swag, including an “I Survived the Loneliest Road” certificate signed by the Nevada governor.
Toiyabe Crest National Recreation Trail & Arc Dome Wilderness

If hoofing it around town is too tame for you, Austin offers intrepid hikers and backpackers access to the rugged Toiyabe Crest Trail, a 73-mile backcountry expedition that traverses the lightly-trafficked Toiyabe Range—mostly above 8,000’ and topping out at 11,781’ Arc Dome—through wild country that is teeming with wildlife, including deer, elk, mountain lions, beaver, all kinds of eagles, hawks, falcons, and plenty of trout in the streams.

Meanwhile, those on two wheels can hit up the Austin-Toiyabe Mountain Bike Trail Network, which features seven interconnected loops totaling 87 miles of technical climbs, downhill bombs, ridge riding, jumps, beginner rolls, and access to the Toiyabe Crest Trail.

Spencer Hot Springs

Kingston & Big Smoky Valley

A little further afield lies Big Smoky Valley, which stretches from Highway 50 all the way to Tonopah. Here you’ll find off-grid spots like Spencer Hot Springs, whose natural pool and two “cowboy tubs” (repurposed cattle troughs with hot water piped in) beckon soakers and primitive campers with stunning sunsets serenaded by braying wild burros. (Be sure to read up on Nevada’s Hot Spring Etiquette so you don’t act like a yahoo and ruin these precious places for everyone). Aforementioned Toquima Cave is located just about 12 miles further up the dirt road, just past Petes Summit.

Groves Lake in Kingston Canyon

About 35 minutes southeast of Austin, off of NV-376, lies the community of Kingston, a perfect destination for backcountry campers; off-roaders; anglers chasing trout in Groves Lake; hikers tackling Bunker Hill or the Toiyabe Crest Trail; or simply those looking to unwind with a cold one in one of our absolute favorite Sagebrush Saloons, the Lucky Spur Saloon, where the Bunker Hill Bloody Marys are as memorable as the local characters who’ll soon become your new buds.

Travel Nevada Pro Tip

For more info on all these spots and more, check out our story 10 Reasons Why I’m Stoked on Austin (And You Should Be, Too).

Austin, NV Restaurants

To be honest, there just ain’t much on the menu in this 192-ish person town! In the warmer months, Champy, the owner of Champs Gas, serves up some of the Loneliest Road’s heartiest, most mouth-watering burgers from his Champs Burgers food truck—open seasonally during the summertime only. The Lucky Spur Saloon in Kingston offers chilled sacks and heat-and-eat grub to help soak up any adult beverages you may be toasting your adventures with. 

Middlegate Monster Burger
Lucky Spur Saloon

Further west you’ll find two former Pony Express stops turned bar-and-grills: Cold Springs Station, known for its Friday fish fry fare, and Middlegate Station, a real-deal Sagebrush Saloon offering grilled-in-front-of-you goodies, including the notorious multi-pound Middlegate Monster Burger. However, when it comes to supplies for backcountry adventures, we recommend stocking up in Fallon 1.75 hours to the west or Eureka 1.25 hours to the east.

Union Street Lodging B&B

Austin NV Lodging

Looking to make a night of it? In and around Austin NV, lodging options offer a wide range of experiences. For a cozy night in a historic home, head to Union Street Lodging B&B. Park the car in front of a simple yet comfortable room at Pony Canyon Motel or Cozy Mountain Motel, or the RV at Austin RV Park

Paradise Ranch Castle

For something a little different, Paradise Ranch Castle does the job with a few different ornate rooms in a full-on “castle” situated away from it all in the heart of stunningly starlit Reese River Valley. Even further down the valley settle into off-grid bliss at the Reese River Cabins, situated between the Shoshone and Toiyabe Mountains on a working cattle ranch. Or cozy up in Kingston Canyon in a fully stocked cabin close to the outdoor action, either at Kingston 376 or Union Street Lodging B&B’s satellite cabin, the Kingston Cabin Retreat

To do some camping near Austin NV, head to Bob Scott Campground for big views and spacious sites, Toquima Cave Campground for primitive sites and trails to the cave, wide-open Big Creek Campground on the west side of Kingston Canyon, or beautiful Kingston Campground for tranquil, tree-studded sites along a flowing stream.

#TravelNevada

Whether you’re admiring Austin’s photogenic historic district, hitting the dirt on foot or two wheels, or simply sippin’ Bloodys at the Lucky Spur Saloon, tag your snaps with #TravelNevada so can follow along—and maybe even share them here.

Most times we stay the night in a town of less than 150 people we end up staying at a murder motel but this was an elegant change of pace and a new standard for traveling!
#AustinNevada #NowhereNevada #StrangeNevada #strangedesert #abandonedplaces
Toolin’ down The Loneliest Road in America in my VW Eurovan outside of Austin, Nev. #eurovan #poptop #eurovancamper #austinnevada #lonliestroadinamerica #us50 #highwaysigns #sunset #cloudscape #nevada #ndot #thelonliestroadinamerica #lincolnhighway #highway50 #goldenhourcamera
Big day on the slopes and exploring central Nevada. #RuralNV
Cerca de Austin podrás darte un chapuzón relajante en las mejores aguas termales del estado, Spencer's Hot Springs nos da la opción de elegir entre tres bañeras naturales con una temperatura perfecta sin importar la temporada.

Pc: mattmesserli 
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#TravelNevada #NVOutoords #HomeMeansNevada #nevada #nevadacity #travel #travellers #photography #travelphotography #photoblog #travelblog #viaje #viajes #viajeros #aventura #turismo #aventureros #mochileros #turisteando #citylights #cityscape #instatravel #travelgram #instagood #citizenoftheworld #viajeros #viajandoporelmundo #travelholic #mexicanosviajeros #marzo2020
Stokes Castle! 
A three-story tower located in the tiny town of Austin just off Hwy 50 built by a mine developer and a banker, Anson Phelps Stokes. The kitchen and dining rooms were on the first floor, while the second floor was reserved for the living room. Third floor had two bed rooms. Each floor had its own fireplace 🔥 . The views from up here were amazing!.
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#travelnevada #nevada #hikingtrails #womenwhoexplore #peoplewhoadventure #wearetravelgirls #wanderwomeninc #artsofinstagram #youmustsee #lifewelltravelled #hikingbangers #traveldeeper #beautifuldestinations #hikingnevada #livingghosttown #allaboutadventures #ponyexpress #hiking_daily #hikinglife #hikingculture #roamtheplanet nvstateparks #stokescastle #austinnevada #travelphotography
Austin,  a small town in central Nevada, was famous for the gold and silver mining in 1800s. 

📍Austin,Nevada
Have you ever seen the sunset descend the Nevada mountains from a natural hot spring?? ☺️🌈✨

Nevada is truly one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever lived. 3 hours from Reno is Austin, Nevada in the middle of nowhere where natural hot springs abound miles. If you ever get the chance to visit, I highly recommend! I brought my dab rig at the time end then burnt a huge hole on my leg. 😱 good memories otherwise!

Fun fact: one of the pools lost its heat and is basically just a cold little pool. At some point, someone put goldfish in there and it’s a huge goldfish hub. Wild! 😂✨

#waybackwednesday #waybackwednesdays #austinnevada #hotsprings #travelnevada #sunset #nature #naturalhotsprings #naturalhotspring #girlgang #smokeanywhere #smokeeverywhere #adventures #wilderness #restlessyouth #adventurecalls
On the Old Overland Trail in the Shoshone Mountains
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