Visit West Wendover for a restorative night's stay at a casino-resort or take advantage of the area’s recreational opportunities with a trip to Blue Lake, Pilot Peak, or the famous Bonneville Salt Flats. Located on the Nevada/Utah border, West Wendover marks the beginning (or end) of the Cowboy Corridor road trip and promises history, outdoor adventures, and all kinds of fun.
Meet Your High Desert Escape
West Wendover, Nevada is a cozy northeastern Nevada city on the Utah border, which separates it from its sister town of Wendover, Utah, both of which form a joint community at the western edge of Utah’s Great Salt Lake Desert. Located on Interstate 80, West Wendover is the easternmost stop along the 400-mile Cowboy Corridor road trip. Giant neon cowboy Wendover Will, the town’s official landmark, has been welcoming (or bidding farewell) to travelers since 1952. With plush casino-resorts, buffets and steakhouses, and gaming, West Wendover is a popular overnight stop on the road from Reno to Salt Lake City, Utah, 120 miles to the east, and makes a perfect basecamp for exploring the wide-open Bonneville Salt Flats.
West Wendover History
West Wendover grew from modest roots as a railroad town serving train travelers passing through the Great Basin between Salt Lake City and San Francisco. Although the town is essentially merged with Wendover, Utah, the effects of sitting on the Nevada side of the line became immediately far more apparent with the Silver State’s re-embracing of legalized gambling in the 1930s and ’40s, which led to the development of the town’s row of amply sized casino hotels.
Wendover also played a crucial role in ending World War II. The bombs—known as Fat Man and Little Boy—that were dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were assembled and tested on the Wendover Range, while the crew that piloted those fateful missions in 1945—the 509th Composite Group—trained at Wendover Air Force Base. The base is now the Historic Wendover Air Field Museum, where visitors can walk the hangar that housed the famed Enola Gay B-29 bomber.
Things To Do in West Wendover
Rising from the edge of the expansive Bonneville Salt Flats, West Wendover welcomes cross-country road trippers every night of the week, as well as thousands of weekenders (including many of our neighbors looking for a brief escape from Utah’s stricter laws) for resort stays and top-notch events. The Peppermill Concert Hall draws crowds for top-bill entertainment, having hosted artists such as Willie Nelson, Jay Leno, Pat Benetar, Foreigner, and many more legendary acts.
Adrenaline-oriented action awaits in the wide-open Bonneville Salt Flats, where motorists can set their own land speed records or watch the pros blast across the horizon. Underground aficionados can tour the nearby Jukebox and Danger Caves. Artsy explorers can venture to artist Nancy Holt’s Sun Tunnels in northwestern Utah, which are concrete tubes aligned with the solstice sunrises and sunsets in June and December.
Blue Lake Wildlife Management Area is a wetland complex of deep and clear spring-fed lakes and ponds that lure anglers, swimmers, and even scuba divers. Hawkwatch International and the Goshute Raptor Migration Project, a migratory bird hotspot at 9,000 feet in elevation that offers spectators to participate in the work while enjoying stunning views of both the salt flats below and raptors migrating along the Pacific Flyway between Alaska and points below southern California.
Lastly, majestic Pilot Peak—Nevada’s most ultra-prominent mountain—near the far northeastern corner of Elko County, NV towers over the basin at more than 10,700 feet. The mountain served as a landmark for early adventurers such as John C. Fremont, Kit Carson, and the Donner Party, and was the original source for the rehabilitation of Nevada’s Lahontan cutthroat trout.
Restaurants in West Wendover
Visitors looking to recharge after a long day’s adventures can find a range of great dining options at West Wendover NV casinos. Three partner resorts—Montego Bay Resort, Peppermill Wendover, and Rainbow Casino & Hotel—feature 12 dining options, including the Rainbow Steak House, Oceano Buffet at Montego Bay, and both Café Milano and Pancho and Willie’s at the Peppermill Wendover. The Wendover Nugget and Red Garter Hotel & Casino also offer both casual and upscale dining options.
The Salt Flats Café, meanwhile, serves up American and Mexican fare, while Fratelli Pizza offers hungry visitors their take on specialty house pies, wings, fresh salads, and hot sandwiches (any relation to the notorious Fratellis from The Goonies is supposedly hearsay).
Travel Nevada Pro Tip
Maximize your fun and plan a trip to West Wendover to coincide with a special event. Many of the most well-known events are all about high-octane excitement among the scenic desert beauty of the Bonneville Salt Flats. Speed freaks and motorheads rumble out for annual races like August’s Speed Week, the Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials around Labor Day, September’s World of Speed, and late September’s Bonneville World Finals—during which supercharged engines and one-of-a-kind vehicles carry drivers up to speeds above 600 miles per hour. A little slower-paced—but no less exciting—are the Bonneville HellFire Rockets Launch and the Salty Lizard Bike Race. Meanwhile, back in town the Peppermill Concert Hall keeps crowds cheering with an events calendar packed with talented comedians, major headliners, and more.
West Wendover Casinos & Hotels
Montego Bay Casino & Resort offers more than 550 hotel rooms, while the West Wendover Peppermill Hotel Casino has 382 rooms and the Rainbow Hotel Casino has 429. The Wendover Nugget Hotel & Casino has more than 500, while the Red Garter Hotel & Casino has 108. Each property features a mix of amenities, dining, gaming, and attractions that are sure to keep you entertained; or you can kick off your shoes, relax, and take a dip poolside or soak in a jetted whirlpool tub.
Many RVers overnight at the West Wendover KOA. Located just 10 miles from the Bonneville Salt Flats, the campground is open year-round and is a perfect jumping-off point for a day spent exploring nearby attractions.
Whether you’re watching supercars rip across the Bonneville Salt Flats or unwinding at the pool after a day of exploring, tag your pics with #travelnevada to share your adventure.