Dyer, NV is located in Esmeralda County, between the Silver Peak Range and the towering White Mountains that separate the Golden and Silver States. Visitors to this beautifully remote, pastoral corner of Nevada can enjoy a cozy vineyard B&B stay after exploring nearby ghost towns, the nation’s first designated wild burro range, beautiful Fish Lake Valley, and 13,140' Boundary Peak—Nevada’s tallest summit.
Backroad Bliss at the Base of Boundary Peak
Dyer, NV is a tiny farming town on the very edge of the Silver State, nestled against the foot of the hulking, beautiful White Mountains, which separate Nevada and California. Located in the heart of fertile Fish Lake Valley—via an easy alternate route off the Free-Range Art Highway—Dyer makes a great place to set up an HQ for exploring a number of intriguing ghost towns, wide-open wildlife areas, and the arduous trek up to Nevada’s tallest peak—as well as to knock a couple back in a day’s end celebration in a couple of classic Sagebrush Saloons.
History of Dyer, Nevada
The Paiute and Shoshone peoples were the first to live in and travel through the Fish Lake Valley region, following game drawn to the area’s lushness and harvesting fish from the many bodies of water formed by stream runoff and numerous springs. Euro-Americans showed up around 1866 to found the Palmetto Mining District, specializing in borax.
In 1881 a post office put the community on the map, which took its name from Postmaster Alex P. Dyer. Parts of that post office—and many other interesting Esmeralda County artifacts—can still be seen at the Fish Lake Valley Heritage Center & Museum.
Travel Nevada Pro Tip
Things to Do Near Dyer, Nevada
If you’re looking for a place to get outside for some all-to-yourself backcountry exploration, the region surrounding Dyer delivers in a big way. One of the most fascinating draws out here is the ability to wander back in time, especially among some classic Nevada ghost towns.
53 miles southeast of Dyer, Gold Point offers one of the best glimpses of an 1860s–1940s mining camp that you may ever encounter, thanks to the preservation efforts of the two history buffs who own and maintain it. The town’s several blocks are lined with numerous vehicles, old mining equipment, and dozens of buildings, including the original post office, general store, an elaborate Sagebrush Saloon, homes with original furnishings, and several miners cabins that—and here’s the kicker—you can stay the night in.
About an hour’s drive north of Dyer, 1864-founded Candelaria wows visitors with still-standing miners cabins, stone storefronts (including of the Wells Fargo bank building) hillsides terraced with stone foundations of old mills, and a historic cemetery—all legacies of the once-richest and once-largest silver mining town in the region.
About 20 miles west of Candelaria lies Marietta, which was once the rowdy, lawless salt mining capital of Nevada, producing salt and borax for shipment—by mules and camels—to Virginia City and other 1870s boomtowns. Wander among the old stone walls of “Borax” Smith’s general store, old miner’s cabins, and stone-lined gravesites as you take in the vista of Teels Marsh.
Wildlife lovers also flock to the Marietta area to spot the ghost town’s only current residents: one of the largest herds of wild burros in Nevada. Hundreds of burros roam the nation’s first formally recognized wild burro range, which covers an area of about 68,000 acres, and are fun to look for, as well as listen to when the dense herd lets off its chorus of telltale braying.
Dyer, NV is also the closest town to the highest point in Nevada—13,140’ Boundary Peak—and makes a great base camp for intrepid hikers looking to tackle this highly challenging trail. The trail gains nearly 3,300 feet of elevation over the course of roughly four miles, making for a tough 8+ mile round-trip—but one that pays off with massive 360-degree panoramas of Nevada, California, and the White Mountains, in which the Boundary Peak Wilderness is situated, along with a romp through a grove of ancient bristlecone pines, the oldest trees on the planet.
Whether your legs are rubber from a killer hike or simply a day of road tripping, it’s hard to beat a sunset soak at Fish Lake Valley Hot Springs, a large cement tub of naturally hot water that drains into a beautiful set of ponds, surrounded by sweeping vistas of the Snake Range and the White Mountains. Camping is free at this county-maintained site, which makes it a stellar spot to stargaze; just be sure to brush up on Travel Nevada’s Hot Springs Etiquette before you go.
Where to Eat and Drink in Dyer, NV
Although the population of Dyer is only a little over 300, you have your pick of two different Sagebrush Saloons. (After all, this is Nevada.) Appropriately named, The Boonies delights visitors and locals alike with juicy burgers, fries and onion rings, and drinks of all kinds while they shoot some pool, play foosball, or chat it up with some friendly locals.
Just down the street, Fish Lake Valley Saloon offers ice-cold beer, wine, and the only pizza for miles in a country town atmosphere accented by pool tables, shuffleboard, and tunes on the stereo. Meanwhile, the Esmeralda Market sells deli sandwiches, occasional Mexican bites, coffee and iced lattes, plenty of snacks, and a smattering of camping supplies.
Lodging in and Around Dyer, NV
Accommodation-wise, the Dyer, NV area offers some truly unique and memorable options. Queensland Vineyard Bed & Breakfast offers beautiful, comfortable, pet-friendly rooms and a delicious fresh breakfast. And yep; you read that right: vineyard. Fish Lake Valley is fertile and temperate enough for the family-run operation to grow eight different grape varietals on its gorgeous grounds with stunning views of the White Mountains. Going for something a little more rustic? Esmeralda RV Park, Cabins & Campground has 22 full hook-up RV spaces, several historic cabins, and plenty of tent camping spaces.
If you’re looking for a classic Uncommon Overnighter, there are two within about an hour’s drive of Dyer. Gold Point Ghost Town Bed & Breakfast presents the opportunity to stay overnight in historic miners cabins, which look straight out of the 19th century on the outside, but are adorned with comfortable retro furniture within—all located inside an actual ghost town. Arrangements can be made to hit up the historic—and amply stocked—Sagebrush Saloon, make visits to the old mining areas, cook up a bunch of cowboy dinners, and even shoot off a bunch of guns.
Meanwhile, Hard Luck Castle is a genuine Weird Nevada wonder in the form of a four-story castle built on top of a 100+ year old gold mine. The four bedrooms and decor are luxurious and ostentatious in the best of ways. Amenities include a 360-degree-view rooftop solarium (and primo stargazing spot), a hot tub, a working pipe organ, and far more. Oh yeah, and the mine itself, which you can request to tour for a small additional fee.
Whether you’re exploring ghost towns, summiting Nevada’s tallest peak, or soakin’ it up in a natural hot spring, be sure to tag your pics with #TravelNevada so we can follow—and maybe even share—your Dyer, NV adventure.