Passing through two ghost towns and five state parks, this was the first route to be named a Nevada Scenic Byway. Starting at Crystal Springs and making its way to the city limits of Ely, U.S. 93 makes you feel as though you’ve journeyed back in time. At 135 miles, this is the longest of Nevada’s 10 Scenic byways.
Eastward, you’ll pass through the town of Caliente, with its historic mission-style train depot, then make your way north towards Panaca, the second-oldest town in Nevada. You’ll visit the old mining town of Pioche, home of the “Million Dollar Courthouse,” and experience a wealth of town history. You’ll pass ghost towns such as Bristol, Stateline and Fay – complete with tumbleweeds and eerier stories. The five state parks along the way – Kershaw-Ryan, Cathedral Gorge, Echo, Spring Valley and Beaver Dam– provide natural beauty and opportunities to picnic and relax along your drive. Spring Valley and Echo Canyon are known for fishing and camping, and Cathedral Gorge features impressive rock and clay outcroppings that stab into the desert sky like spires on a church. Cathedral Gorge State Park hosts the Nevada Parks Visitors Center for information about surrounding areas.
The northern section of U.S. 93 passes by Great Basin National Park, which gives us the name of this wonderful byway. The park contains 77,100 acres and is home to an incredible range of plant and animal life. Great Basin National Park offers many recreational opportunities as well. There are several marked trails that take you through various climate zones. Backpacking and camping are also permitted within specific areas in the park. Five campgrounds are scattered around the park, and winter is an amazing time for backcountry skiing.