Pioche

Pioche

The locals bill Pioche, NV as “Nevada's liveliest ghost town,” and they ain't lyin'. This small, picturesque eastern Nevada town along the Great Basin Highway boasts some of the Silver State's wildest Western history at numerous fascinating sites—including at a few storied Sagebrush Saloons—all while putting visitors in close range of a few stunning state parks.

Nevada’s Liveliest Ghost Town

Pioche, NV—Eastern Nevada’s Wild West Wonder

Located about 175 miles northeast of Las Vegas along Nevada’s untamed eastern edge, the community in and around Pioche (pronounced “pee-OACH”) is home to a population of just under 1,500 residents. When you first set eyes on the main drag and its clusters of 19th-century buildings (several unoccupied), the word “ghost town” comes to mind. However, out here, that’s a compliment! Thanks to some solid Sagebrush Saloons, a notoriously haunted hotel, wild annual festivities, and incredible outdoor recreation in every direction, Pioche locals and visitors alike know how to crank up the volume in this seemingly quiet locale—a fact that earns it the nickname: “Nevada’s Liveliest Ghost Town.”

Region

Central

Average Temperatures

Summer

84°F

29°C

57°F

14°C

Fall

65°F

18°C

40°F

C

Winter

45°F

C

23°F

-5°C

Spring

61°F

16°C

36°F

C

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History of Pioche, NV

When you visit today, it’s hard to imagine that this quiet, friendly community was once known as one of the roughest, toughest mining towns in the Old West. An 1870s silver boom catapulted Pioche into existence, securing its place as Lincoln County seat as it attracted nearly 6,000 fortune-seekers—including plenty of nefarious types who preferred to let their guns do the talking. In fact, the town’s lack of laws, fierce competition, and abundance of saloons all helped Pioche gain a deservingly deadly reputation—especially when the world learned that none of the first 72 people to die there did so of natural causes. (Eat your hearts out, Tombstone and Dodge City!)

Pioche’s Historic Mining Relics & Aerial Tramway

Don’t miss the Lincoln County Courthouse (and find out why it’s called “Million Dollar Courthouse”), Thompson’s Opera House, the soon-to-be restored Historic Gem Theater (scope out that fancy new neon)—and, of course, Boot Hill Cemetery, where deceased outlaws even had their own section, called Murderer’s Row. To really dig into Pioche’s wild history, swing by the Lincoln County Historical Museum.

Historic Pioche, with Thompson’s Opera House in background

Boom eventually turned to bust and Pioche downsized its population (naturally, at this point), leaving us with some of the oldest intact buildings in the region. Take a stroll through history on the self-guided historic walking tour and be sure to take in the sights of the ore-hauling aerial tramway (the last of its kind in all of Nevada!)

Million Dollar Courthouse
Cathedral Gorge State Park

Things to Do in Pioche, NV

While Pioche’s past is still perfectly present—and a prime draw for visitors to this intriguing town—there’s also plenty of modern-day action to get after around the region. Just 10 minutes south lies one of Nevada’s most stunning sights: Cathedral Gorge State Park, a natural playground of constantly shifting slot canyons, spires, fins, and hoodoos that call to campers, hikers, and family road trippers. 

Echo Canyon State Park

Less than a half-hour east of town you’ll find eastern Nevada’s sister parks, Echo Canyon and Spring Valley, whose sizable reservoirs beckon swimmers, birders, boaters, and fishermen. The road into Spring Valley is lined with alluring rock formations, some of eastern Nevada’s earliest homesteads, and even “pioneer graffiti” etched or oil-greased onto sandstone outcroppings as far back as 1872.

Million Dollar Courthouse Courtroom

Hunting is big out here—including of…ghosts. You read that right. Paranormal enthusiasts are particularly drawn to whatever’s going on at the Overland Hotel & Saloon, especially in the one room that isn’t individually themed with cute, kitschy decorations (we figure that’s probably why). Some of the “most successful interactions with spirits” on Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures have taken place at this old haunt, rebuilt in 1948 after a devastating fire. Guests frequently report doors mysteriously slamming and even being shaken awake from a dead sleep.

But that’s not the only spooky spot in town. The Million Dollar Courthouse served up its fair share of sentences, back in the day, and it’s entirely possible some of the recipients still have a bone to pick. More than a few Lincoln County Historical Museum staff (who operate this free attraction) have reported finding the mannequins that occupy the courtroom (a creepy thing unto itself) in completely different positions in the morning than they left them the evening before.

Pioche, NV Restaurants

If you’re hungry when you get here, a handful of options can help with that. Sit down to comfort-food classics at the Historic Silver Café (also home to all kinds of nifty souvenirs in the gift cabinet, too). Swing into Gunslingers for coffee, sweet treats, and outlaw-themed sub sammies. Later at night, soak up your beverages with mini-pizzas and other heatable eatables at the Overland Saloon. To stock up on picnic supplies, Meadow Valley Market has you covered. 

Historic Brunswick Bar Counter at the Overland Saloon
Nevada Club of Pioche

However, if you’re more psyched to sip, treat yourself to a small-scale Sagebrush Saloon-hopping tour between Pioche’s three bars—the Overland Saloon, Nevada Club, and Alamo Club & Liquor Outlet—which all offer their own take on old-school bar ambiance. And forget what your folks told you—when you’re here, be sure to talk to strangers; you’re practically guaranteed to make some new friends.

Overland Hotel & Saloon – Pioche

Lodging in Pioche, NV

The star of the show here is the Overland Hotel & Saloon, where each room has its own unique theme, from the Fishing Hole and the Hunting Shack to the Bears Den and the Victorian Suite. Although it is rumoredly (very) haunted, the proprietors do promise, “If you are looking for a ghost-free stay, please mention this to the front desk clerk and they will provide you with a room free of activity.”

Meanwhile, RVers can hook up for the night at Pioche RV Park & Campground. Get quaint and cozy at rustic Wright’s Country Cabins, located right downtown. Or post up between Echo Canyon and Spring Valley State Parks at Pat & John’s Eagle Valley Resort, situated just 20 minutes east of town.

Pioche Labor Day Celebration

Annual Events in Pioche

Each May/June, motorheads descend on Pioche to tackle the area’s network of trails on two wheels during the Pioche Grand Prix, which features races for men, women, veterans, big bikes, and even mini races for boys and girls as young as five years old. But it’s Labor Day weekend when things really go off out here. Since 1905, Pioche Days have welcomed thousands of revelers to whoop it up for street dances, Old West shootouts, live music, fireworks, and—the main event—the annual lawnmower race. The Pioche Labor Day Celebration is also the only time visitors can explore the inside of the 1870-built Thompson’s Opera House—one of few of its kind still standing in Nevada.

#TravelNevada

Whether you’re ogling old buildings on the walking tour, hunting ghosts at the Overland, or simply cheers-ing beers with new pals at a Sagebrush Saloon, be sure to tag your pics #TravelNevada so we can follow and share your adventure.

Pioche, NV. 

Check out our latest video: https://youtu.be/rmTRyyFg2mo

#pioche
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Had an incredible time at Cathedral Gorge and Pioche last weekend. The gorge is a family favorite, but if you’re looking for an obscure, charming town.. definitely add Pioche to your list!!
It’s another beautiful Friday in Pioche. Ice Cream • Sundaes • Shakes • Malts • Salads • Subs • Coffees #Gunslingers Open til 4:30pm 775-962-5020
Sunday drive through Pioche, anyone? #gemtheater #nevadasilvertrails #sundayfunday #weekendvibes 📸: gempioche
Babe, take me to the moon! 🤍

Love this hidden gem in Nevada. One of our favorite stops on our way to Pioche, NV! cathedralgorge 
#nevada #explorenevada #cathedralgorge #statepark #localadventures
Fall in Pioche 🍁 

#latergram #roadtrip #roadtrippin #havekidswilltravel #springvalley #springvalleystatepark #eaglevalleyreservoir #fishingtrip #nvstateparks #nevadastateparks #nevadaskies #pioche #hiking #optoutside #homemeansnevada #explorenevada #lasvegas #lasvegaslocals
• To lighting up new pathways. 🌌
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No joke, this is a composite I took in Cathedral Gorge while in my Santa suit. Lol. 🎅
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#cathedralgorge #nevadastateparks #astrophotography #astro #nightphotography #milkyway #nightsky #photography #adventurephotography #adventure #travel #travelphotography #landscapes #landscapephotography #sonyalpha #theoutbound #shotwithhoya #nature #naturephotography #travelnevada #lasvegas #yourshotphotographer #bealpha #wildernessculture #roam247 #seekitfinditsendit #OptOutside #thatnevadalife #lasvegas #thediscoverer
Looking for some outdoor adventure? Enjoy hiking, hunting, fishing, and more 15 miles east of Pioche and stay at Eagle Valley Resort. It's the perfect place for a relaxing getaway.
National Pecan Day 😋 Stop in and try our Butter Pecan Ice Cream, made your way. Butter Pecan Milk Shakes too 🤠 #Gunslingers 775-962-5020 
Open til 6pm
The Gem from up on Pioche Street.

Frank Thompson opened the Gem in 1937. Frank's father purchased what was then known as Brown’s Hall (1873) in 1891 and renamed it Thompson’s Opera House. The Opera House showed its first movie in 1915. By 1935, Frank figured it was time the good people of Pioche had a real, modern movie theater. The Gem opened next door two years later.

The theater closed in 2002. I was last in Pioche a ways back, the old place looks different today. The Gem's new owner is now in the process of restoring and reopening the theater. A noble and worthy endeavor in my book. Follow gempioche for updates and info regarding how you can help with restoration efforts.

#oldwest #west #gemtheater #lincolncountynv #pioche #piochenevada #battleborn #homemeansnevada #nvtourism #thatnevadalife #nevada #silverstate #nvmag #greatbasin #nevadahistory #ghosttown #nevadaghosttowns #nevadaphotography #nevadasilvertrails #historicbuilding #nvpreservation #historictheater #smalltown #miningtown #historicpreservation #movietheatre #bnwphotography #bnwmood #bnwphoto #bnw
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