Ready to get to know one of the most rough-and-tumble towns in Nevada through buildings and historic sites that have been part of the story since the very beginning? Part of the Great Basin Highway road trip, embark on a self-guided historic walking tour through southeastern Nevada’s Pioche. Today, things have rolled to a slow, relaxing pace, inviting all visitors to grab a cold one at some of the state’s best Sagebrush Saloons, and pull the curtain back on some of Nevada’s most famously haunted sites. But things weren’t always that way around here—in fact, far from it.
Pioche was once so lawless—and by shootouts, robberies, and murders—rivaled some of the most famous Wild West greats, like Tombstone and Dodge City. Overhead, you’ll see the Pioche Aerial Tramway that begins from the mountainsides in the south end of town, dangling all the way through Pioche and finally down to the Pioche Consolidated Mill, or Godbe Mill. Aerial tramways like this were common in mining towns all around Nevada, which were vital to mining for both transportation and production, hauling the gold and silver-rich ore from the mine site to a mill where it could be processed. Originally used starting in 1891, the tramway was completely gravity powered and used until the 1930s. Today, the aerial tramway you see in Pioche is the only one still standing in the entire state of Nevada, and worth a look (or few dozen photos!) during your Great Basin Highway discoveries.
Travel Nevada Pro Tip
Historic Buildings in Pioche
Starting at the Pioche Aerial Tramway at the top (or south end) of town, feel free to throw it in park then hit the streets to explore some incredible historic buildings important to the Pioche, and Silver State stories. A natural place to begin is the Lincoln County Museum, where you can get a lay of the land, chat with museum docents about area attractions, and get more context about what lies before you. From the museum, discover downtown Pioche’s historic buildings (most of which have historic markers for even more info), like the Miners Union Hall, St. John’s Masonic Lodge, what’s left of the Pioche Fire House, McCannon and Cedar Street residential homes, the Mountain View Motel, Million Dollar Courthouse, Historic Gem Theater and Thompson’s Opera House, and more.
The self-guided Pioche walking tour is best enjoyed from sunrise to sunset, available for your exploration seven days a week. One of the best ways to get a lay of the land and officially start your tour is from the Lincoln County Museum. Here, get your bearings, hear stories from local docents, and learn the history of the town before you that will help put these historic sites in better context. Lincoln County Museum hours are 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM, seven days a week.
No admission is required to embark on a self-guided historic walking tour of downtown Pioche. If you do swing by the Lincoln County Museum, please consider making a donation!