loneliest road in america
loneliest road nevada

Loneliest Road in America

Highway 50: Plenty of Space at Your Own Pace

Route Distance

375 to 500 miles

Suggested Time

2 to 4 Days

In July of 1986, Life magazine dubbed Nevada’s Highway 50 the “Loneliest Road in America.” The article claimed there were “no points of interest” along the route and “warned” readers not to risk traveling it unless they were confident of their “survival skills.” However, Nevada adventurers knew better then—and still do. And sure, a road doesn’t get much more wide-open than Highway 50. But that’s exactly why we dig it. Today, this famous Nevada road trip is your gateway to ghost towns, historic mining communities, stunning state parks, unsurpassed recreational opportunities, and a handful of authenticity-packed Sagebrush Saloons, to boot. 

Highlights

  • Earn road tripper cred, stamp by stamp, with your Highway 50 Survival Guide
  • Toast your travels in real-deal roadhouses and storied Sagebrush Saloons
  • Encounter the oldest trees under the darkest skies at Great Basin National Park

Chasing Horizons on a Route 50 Road Trip

Anything But Lonesome on the Loneliest Road

American Indians. The Pony Express. Gold miners. And now…you. Come chase some history while making plenty of your own. If it’s outdoor action you’re after, get ready for hiking, biking, camping, stargazing, hot springing, off-roading, wildlife watching, and Sagebrush Saloon-hopping. You’ll also encounter a few welcoming, far-flung (but just-close-enough) small towns, from farm-fresh Fallon to western history-packed Austin, Eureka, and Ely along the way. Cap it all off at Great Basin National Park, where sky-scraping peaks and 5,000-year-old trees beckon visitors who prefer their national parks served without a side of elbows at their vista points. 

Nevada map

COMMUNITIES ON THIS TRIP

Carson City, Dayton, Fallon, Austin, Eureka, Ely, Baker

Glovebox Essentials

Prepare for Your Adventure

Get ready to come chase some horizons with this handy tool kit. Here, you’ll find all the Loneliest Road in America road trip essentials, including downloadable directions, maps, and podcasts, and tunes to complement your upcoming adventure.

The Roaming Gnome Road Trips the Loneliest Road in America

Loneliest Road in America Playlist

The Loneliest Food in America—Part 1: Baker + Ely

The Loneliest Food in America—Part 2: Eureka + Kingston

The Loneliest Food in America—Part 3: Austin, Middlegate + Fallon

The Loneliest Food in America—Part 4: Dayton, Carson City + Stateline

Buzzfeed Bring Me! Along the Loneliest Road in America

Expand

Hit the Wide-Open Road

Heaps to Explore on Highway 50

From ghost towns and state parks to hot springs and Sagebrush Saloons, the Loneliest Road is alive with passions to chase. Along the way, you’re bound to enjoy Highway 50’s endless vistas, friendly communities, and historic towns filled with stories and characters who can spin a yarn that’ll keep you mesmerized and yearning to explore more.

Leg 1

Follow in the Hoof-steps of the Pony Express

Snag a Highway 50 Survival Guide (and first stamp) in Carson City, then hit the Loneliest Road, visiting Fallon, Sand Mountain, the Shoe Tree, and more en route to Austin NV.

Leg 2

Get Found in the Middle of Somewhere

Check out a “castle” with a view and shop for turquoise in Austin before heading toward Eureka, with detours to a hot spring, a sagebrush saloon, and a ghost town.

Leg 3

“Eureka!” Discover the Heart of Nevada.

Explore an opera house, haunted hotel, and newspaper museum in the old mining town of Eureka before cruising to Ely, where great grub, neat history, and outdoor action await.

Leg 4

A Day (or More) in the Parks

This leg is all about Great Basin National Park. 5,000-year-old trees. Millenia-old cave formations. 13,064-ft Wheeler Peak. And a few million stars. You do the math.

loneliest road in america

Leg 1

Reno or Carson City to Austin NV

170 to 215 miles

Embark from Carson City, Nevada’s cultured-up capital town. Before you ditch civilization, order your Highway 50 Survival Guide (or grab one from our pals at the Visit Carson City HQ). Collect stamps in at least five communities along your journey and we’ll send you some sweet “survivor” swag. Then head for the old mountaintop mining town of Austin, by way of Fallon, an ancient petroglyph site, a huge singing sand dune, an old-school roadhouse, and more. 

Travel Nevada Pro Tip

Launching from Reno? You can also connect to route 50 in Fernley.

Stay in a motel or a cute, cozy suite in town at Union Street Lodging in town, or opt for an Uncommon Overnighter in an ornate, old-fashioned estate room in a star-studded valley at Paradise Ranch Castle

Holiday Inn Express – Fallon

Holiday Inn Express – Fallon

Fallon

Best Western Fallon Inn & Suites

Best Western Fallon Inn & Suites

Fallon

Cozy Mountain Motel

Cozy Mountain Motel

Austin

Cold Springs Station Resort

Cold Springs Station Resort

Fallon

Dayton RV Park

Dayton RV Park

Dayton

Kingston Cabin

Kingston Cabin

Kingston

Union Street Lodging B&B

Union Street Lodging B&B

Austin

Reese River Cabins

Reese River Cabins

Austin

Paradise Ranch Castle

Paradise Ranch Castle

Austin

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Uncover mining-era history at Dayton, Fort Churchill, Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Parks. Be a bird nerd at Stillwater NWR or a culture-vulture at Oats Park Art Center. Or send it big at Sand Mountain Recreation Area.

Lattin Farms

Lattin Farms

Fallon

Cold Springs Station Resort

Cold Springs Station Resort

Fallon

Fort Churchill State Historic Park

Fort Churchill State Historic Park

Silver Springs

Dayton State Park

Dayton State Park

Dayton

Oats Park Art Center

Oats Park Art Center

Fallon

Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park

Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park

Gabbs

Sand Mountain

Sand Mountain

Fallon

Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge

Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge

Fallon

Republic of Molossia

Republic of Molossia

Dayton

Churchill County Museum & Archives

Churchill County Museum & Archives

Fallon

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Find farm-to-fork foodie flavors in Fallon, “The Oasis of Nevada.” Tour Frey Ranch, one of the USA’s only estate distilleries. Or take on the infamous, multi-pound Monster Burger at Middlegate Station to win a trophy shirt. 

J’s Old Town Bistro

J’s Old Town Bistro

Dayton

Frey Ranch Farmers + Distillers

Frey Ranch Farmers + Distillers

Fallon

Roadrunner Café

Roadrunner Café

Dayton

Azteca Grill & Bakery

Azteca Grill & Bakery

Fallon

Middlegate Station

Middlegate Station

Fallon

Stone Cabin Coffee

Stone Cabin Coffee

Fallon

Cold Springs Station Resort

Cold Springs Station Resort

Fallon

Dayton Taphouse

Dayton Taphouse

Dayton

Telegraph Coffee & Tap

Telegraph Coffee & Tap

Fallon

The Courtyard Café & Bakery

The Courtyard Café & Bakery

Fallon

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Visitors flock to Fallon to appreciate Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge’s 260+ migratory bird species, to celebrate the town’s famed Hearts of Gold cantaloupes, and take a shot at out-drawing fellow sharpshooters. 

Spring Wings Bird Festival

Spring Wings Bird Festival

Fallon Cantaloupe Festival & Country Fair

Fallon Cantaloupe Festival & Country Fair

Octane Fest

Octane Fest

Fastest Gun Alive World Championship

Fastest Gun Alive World Championship

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route 50 road trip

Leg 2

Austin, NV to Eureka, NV

70 to 135 miles

Sure, you could blast from Austin to Eureka in just over an hour. But with all these on-the-way wonders, what would be the fun in that? That’s why we’ve designated this slice of Highway 50 its own leg—one offering chances to pull up a stool in a classic Sagebrush Saloon with a Big Smoky Valley view; soak your cares away while listening for the bray of wild burros at Spencer Hot Springs; examine millennia-old cave paintings and rock carvings; and more. Combine it with Leg 3 or make it a full day on its own. The options are endless.

Sleep and sip in 1870s opulence at the elegant, beautifully restored Jackson House Hotel & Tea Room (ghost tours on weekends). Or cozy it up in the Eureka Doll House, a gorgeous little 1880-built cottage with a jacuzzi tub.

Colonnade Hotel

Colonnade Hotel

Eureka

The 1870 Heritage House

The 1870 Heritage House

Eureka

Eureka Doll House

Eureka Doll House

Eureka

Ike’s Canyon Ranch

Ike’s Canyon Ranch

Las Vegas

Sundown Lodge

Sundown Lodge

Eureka

Stone Church Lodge

Stone Church Lodge

Eureka

Jackson House Hotel & Tea Room

Jackson House Hotel & Tea Room

Eureka

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On this historic leg, investigate 3,000-year-old cave paintings and 10,000-year-old petroglyphs, taste tea between ghost tours at Jackson House Hotel, and glimpse mining-era grandeur at an opera house and newspaper museum.

Toquima Cave

Toquima Cave

Toquima Mountain Range

Eureka Historic Walking Tour

Eureka Historic Walking Tour

Eureka

Kingston Canyon

Kingston Canyon

Kingston

Toiyabe Crest National Recreation Trail & Arc Dome Wilderness

Toiyabe Crest National Recreation Trail & Arc Dome Wilderness

Austin

Hickison Petroglyph Recreation Area

Hickison Petroglyph Recreation Area

Austin

Spencer Hot Springs

Spencer Hot Springs

Austin

Eureka Sentinel Museum

Eureka Sentinel Museum

Eureka

Jason’s Art Gallery

Jason’s Art Gallery

Austin

Stokes Castle

Stokes Castle

Austin

Eureka Underground Tunnels

Eureka Underground Tunnels

Eureka

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Dip down about twenty minutes southwest off Highway 50 to Kingston, home of the Lucky Spur Saloon, where the drinks are strong and the decor fits the name. In Eureka, dig into steaks and American classics at the Owl Club.

Champs Burgers

Champs Burgers

Austin

Urban Cowboy Bar & Grill

Urban Cowboy Bar & Grill

Eureka

Eureka Owl Club

Eureka Owl Club

Eureka

Raine’s Market Deli

Raine’s Market Deli

Eureka

Lucky Spur Saloon

Lucky Spur Saloon

Kingston

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Hop into haunted history at the Jackson House Hotel, which has lured the Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures crew. Or listen as some of Nevada’s most talented musicians fiddle their way to victory in the Eureka Opera House.

Jackson House Afternoon Tea

Jackson House Afternoon Tea

Eureka Art, Wine & Music Festival

Eureka Art, Wine & Music Festival

Nevada Old Time Fiddlers’ Contest

Nevada Old Time Fiddlers’ Contest

Eureka Gold Rush Games

Eureka Gold Rush Games

Great Eureka Ghost Hunt

Great Eureka Ghost Hunt

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how long does it take to drive route 50

Leg 3

Eureka to Ely

80 to 185 miles

The short, beautiful 1.25-hour drive from Eureka to Ely rewards you with plenty of time to fill your day exploring a mountain town built on art, history, and outdoor adventure. Stop at Garnet Hill to search the ground for ruby-like stones before rolling into town, where you’ll find more gems at the bauble-filled Garnet Mercantile, plus paintings at the Ely Art Bank and on a town-wide mural tour. After wandering trails, rails, and historic sites, treat yourself to a hearty dinner and rest up for the last leg of the Loneliest Road in America.

The western-chic, century-old Hotel Nevada delights with funky flair, killer neon, and rooms honoring famous former guests, while the Bristlecone delivers mountain views, and the Prospector offers paw-some, pet-friendly rooms.

El Rancho Motel

El Rancho Motel

Ely

Magnuson Park-Vue Motel

Magnuson Park-Vue Motel

Ely

Historic Hotel Nevada & Gambling Hall

Historic Hotel Nevada & Gambling Hall

Ely

Jailhouse Motel & Casino

Jailhouse Motel & Casino

Ely

Prospector Hotel & Gambling Hall

Prospector Hotel & Gambling Hall

Ely

Holiday Inn Express & Suites—Ely

Holiday Inn Express & Suites—Ely

Ely

Bristlecone Motel

Bristlecone Motel

Ely

La Quinta Inn & Suites—Ely

La Quinta Inn & Suites—Ely

Ely

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With hands-on history at a railroad museum, a working locomotive yard, and Renaissance Village; fabulous art at the Ely Art Bank and all over town; and outdoor activities galore, discover what it means to get Ely-vated.

Renaissance Village and Ely Mural Walking Tour

Renaissance Village and Ely Mural Walking Tour

Ely

Garnet Hill

Garnet Hill

Ely

Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park

Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park

Ely

Nevada Northern Railway Museum

Nevada Northern Railway Museum

Ely

Cave Lake State Park

Cave Lake State Park

Ely

Ward Mountain Recreation Area

Ward Mountain Recreation Area

Ely

East Ely Railroad Depot Museum

East Ely Railroad Depot Museum

Ely

Ely Art Bank

Ely Art Bank

Ely

McGill Drugstore Museum

McGill Drugstore Museum

McGill

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There’s a lot to eat in Ely. From one of Nevada’s best Basque chorizo burgers to old-fashioned malts to juicy steaks served in your own private jail cell, you’ll have your plate full with this list of our favorite Ely eats.

Economy Drug & Old Fashioned Soda Fountain

Economy Drug & Old Fashioned Soda Fountain

Ely

Racks Bar & Grill

Racks Bar & Grill

Ely

The Cup

The Cup

Ely

From on-the-ice sculpting, fishing, and bowling contests to cranking the pedals in bike races up mountains or against old-school steam locomotives, Ely’s no stranger to exciting events.

Schellraiser Music Festival

Schellraiser Music Festival

Silver State Classic Challenge

Silver State Classic Challenge

Sunset, Stars & Champagne Train

Sunset, Stars & Champagne Train

Ely Film, Art & Music Festival

Ely Film, Art & Music Festival

Fears, Tears & Beers Mountain Bike Enduro Race

Fears, Tears & Beers Mountain Bike Enduro Race

Fire & Ice Winter Festival

Fire & Ice Winter Festival

Race the Rails

Race the Rails

White Pine County Fair and Horse Races

White Pine County Fair and Horse Races

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reno to great basin national park

Leg 4

Ely to Great Basin National Park

65 to 95 miles

Another hour-and-change drive whisks you to wonderment at Great Basin National Park, a sanctuary where solitude can still be found and nature runs wild. Get gnarly among 5,000-year-old bristlecone pine trees—the oldest living things on Earth. Drive up to 10,000 feet and hoof it up to 13,064-ft Wheeler Peak—Nevada’s 2nd tallest. Navigate stalactites and stalagmites at stunning Lehman Caves. Then discover why “half the park is after dark” as you scan the Lower 48’s darkest night skies for shooting stars and entire galaxies.

Enjoy Great Basin’s incomparable night skies from the courtyard at Stargazer Inn, from the hot tub at Hidden Canyon Retreat, your RV site at Whispering Elms, or around the campfire at one of the National Park campgrounds.

Border Inn RV Park

Border Inn RV Park

Baker

Hidden Canyon Retreat

Hidden Canyon Retreat

Baker

Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive & Campground

Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive & Campground

Baker

Stargazer Inn & Bristlecone General Store

Stargazer Inn & Bristlecone General Store

Baker

Whispering Elms Campground, Motel and RV Park

Whispering Elms Campground, Motel and RV Park

Baker

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Cruise into Baker via Osceola Ghost Town. Then hit the park to check out water-carved formations in Lehman Caves, hike among ancient trees and towering peaks, fish backcountry lakes, and gaze galaxies with your naked eye.

Lehman Caves

Lehman Caves

Baker

Mt. Moriah Wilderness Area

Mt. Moriah Wilderness Area

Baker

Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive & Campground

Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive & Campground

Baker

Great Basin National Park

Great Basin National Park

Baker

Osceola Ghost Town

Osceola Ghost Town

Osceola

Great Basin Hiking Trails

Great Basin Hiking Trails

Baker

View All

Baker: small town, big flavors. Slide into Sugar, Salt & Malt for everything from breakfast to sushi and ice cream cookie sammies. Pick up burgers and burritos at 487 Grill, AM eats to go at Great Basin Café, and south-of-the-border favorites at Sandra’s Mexican Food.

487 Grill

487 Grill

Baker

Stargazer Inn & Bristlecone General Store

Stargazer Inn & Bristlecone General Store

Baker

Literally scope out galaxies with astro pros under the darkest skies in the Lower 48, get down at a baaaad-ass party with Great Basin sheepherders, or celebrate an intriguing community’s local heritage.

Great Basin BioBlitz

Great Basin BioBlitz

Great Basin Astronomy Festival

Great Basin Astronomy Festival

#LoneliestRoadInAmerica

The Loneliest Road? Anything but, and we’ve got the hashtag to prove it. Use #LoneliestRoadInAmerica to showcase those wide open spaces, big smiling faces, and all the adventures awaiting in between. 

Nevada just might have some of the best sunsets I’ve seen in quite a while. Still day dreaming of this one I witnessed along Highway 50, “the Loneliest Road in America” back in May. 😍

#RideToFood #TravelNevada #MotorcycleTravel #MotorcycleTouring
Nahe der Stadt Middlegate in Nevada wächst auf dem US Highway 50, der sogenannten „Loneliest Road in America“, vor dem Hintergrund kahler, trockener Wüste und Berge ein einsamer Pappelbaum, der mit Schuhen bespannt ist. Bäume, die mit Gegenständen geschmückt sind - Schuhe, Unterwäsche, Gummi oder was auch immer Passanten zur Hand haben -, sind so gesund wie Apfelkuchen und in Amerika fast so verbreitet. An diesem Schuhspanner ist jedoch eine besonders gute Geschichte (und viele Schuhe) angebracht. Es passierte wie folgt: In einer warmen Wüstennacht geriet ein frisch verheiratetes Paar, das unter dem großen Pappelbaum kampierte, in einen Streit. Die Frau, eine aufbrausende Sorte, drohte wegzugehen. „Wenn Sie das tun“, knurrte der Mann, „müssen Sie barfuß gehen.“ Dann warf er ihre Schuhe in den Baum und fuhr zu einer nahe gelegenen Bar, wo der Barkeeper, wenn überhaupt, ein aufrechter Bürger war einer, überzeugte ihn, zu seiner Frau zurückzukehren. Er fuhr zurück zum Pappelbaum - natürlich war seine Frau immer noch da - und das Paar schaffte es, sich zu versöhnen und glücklich zu leben. Sie kehrten einige Jahre später mit ihrem ersten Kind zurück, um seine Schuhe in den Baum zu werfen, unter dem sie gekämpft und sich wieder vereint hatten. Der Rest ist, wie man sagt, Geschichte.

#travelnevada #travelgram #travelphotography #loneliestroadinamerica #travel #travelblog #travelblogger #travelguide #roadtrip #roadtripusa #usaroadtrip #uswestcoast #reiseblog #reiseguide #reisen #usa #shoetree #theshoetree #middlegate #highway50 #loneliesthighway #loneliestroadinamerica #longroad #shoes #wildwest
Built for power, locomotive 93 would pull 30 cars loaded with copper ore from the mine to the smelter. Each ore car had over 70tons of ore inside. 100 years ago there were 30 ore trains a day on our line. The copper would be used to wire up the world with electricity! Photo by bryanburtonphotographytrains

#steamtrain #railroad #traveler #photooftheday #mountains #mountain_world #steampunk #awesome #awesometravel #awesome_shots #greatphoto #nevada #railroadcrossing #railroadphotography #nationalgeographic #power #worldfamous #trainride #trains_worldwide #train_nerds
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#happiness #hotsprings #womenontheroad #sheisnotlost #womenwhoexplore #wanderlust #getoutstayout #sheexplores #justgoshoot #adventurenthusiasts #adventure #relaxing #naturetherapy #view #lifeisgood #roadtrip #soaking #spencerhotsprings #nevada #usa #温泉 #車の旅 #スペンサーホットスプリングス #ネバダ州 #アメリカ生活
U.S. Highway 50. The Lincoln Highway. The Loneliest Road in America.
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This open road is waiting for you, no matter what you call it. 🚘🗺
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#TravelNevada #LoneliestRoadInAmerica #NVRoadTrip #Roadtrippers #LincolnHighway #RoadTripUSA #Nevada #TravelByCar #TakeMeHere #ExploreNevada
On a dark desert highway....
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@travelnevada 
@nikonusa 
@visittheusa 
@travel.to.usa 
@roadtrippers 
#hotel #elrancho #ely #nevada #desert #highway #usa #unitedstates #travelnevada #nvroadtrip #halloween #creepy #lonely #roadtrippers #nikon #roadtrip #nikonusa #nikond850 #mynikonlife #nikonnofilter
It’s the weekend. Do you hear the #mountains calling? #visitelynevada #getelevated #mountainlife #mountaintown #howtonevada #ohv #offroad #sidebyside #greatoutdoors #epic #explore #adventure #photooftheday 📸: @bg_sg
Whose ready for some of this? Have we got a video for you and your crew for this summers #nvroadtrip. Click on the link in our profile. The ultimate #nevada HWY 50 #mtb road trip with mark_weir_mtb yhauswald angry_singlespeeder tealstetsonlee sarah_sturmy johnprolly theradavist and _james_adamson_  #mountainbike #singletrack #awesome #howtonevada #mountaintown #bikes #trails #ridecarsoncity #rideelynv #ridecaliente travelnevada milesendlodgebnb ponyexpressnevada tambatahoe musclepowered carsonvalleytrailsassociation sierratrails imba_us
Exploring Nevada ❤
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Have you visited the Robert L. Douglass House recently? If not, it may be time to stop by this pink icon of Fallon history and see this unique architecture for yourself. #VisitFallon
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