“The Loneliest Road in America”, it was called dismissively by Life magazine in July 1986. Nevada’s Highway 50 stretches of for over 400 miles of open, desolate, beautiful desert. Lonely it may be—but it’s certainly not lacking in stunning landscape vistas and charming small towns dotted across its length. For anyone who has the opportunity to drive it, it’s a road trip to remember.
Marking Out A Route
The journey is entirely contained in Nevada, from Ely to South Lake Tahoe—or the other way around. Although this only manages a distance of around 340 miles, it’s a lot more convenient because Ely is the last major city heading eastward until you reach Utah, a hefty addition to the journey. There’s plenty to do in Nevada anyway.
Admire Nature And Rest Comfortably
Despite Nevada’s reputation for being arid and featureless, the trip across the state reveals many lush shades of green sprouting from the deep orange-brown lands.
And from 600ft tall singing sand dunes, to prehistoric petroglyphs at the Hickinson Petroglyph Reservation Area, Nevada certainly has a lot to offer, in terms of both nature and history. The end (or start) of the trip will be one of its greatest highlights too—after all, Lake Tahoe is one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. But road trips aren’t races—they’re about the peace and serenity of long hours on the road, and blissful rest in a B&B, which can be found at towns like Austin and Eureka.
Set against the Toiyabe Mountain Range, Austin is an excellent place to take a break from driving, and instead go hiking or exploring. Originally a silver mining boom town, Austin is bursting with history, as well as the stuff you’ll need for the rest of the journey. Eureka is similar in that it’s a small, homely town, with a lively spirit. With a population of around 1,000 people, there’s a reason it’s called “the Friendliest Town on the Loneliest Road in America”.
Preparing For The Journey Ahead
Now you’re convinced, all that remains is to plan for the trip. Highway 50 is one of the best maintained roads in Nevada, so you won’t need any special gear. But do consider a few other factors, such as the miles-per-gallon, price, and the capacity you need for your food, water, and clothes. Taking the family car is a good idea, but most cars don’t have great storage or fuel efficiency. You might consider forking out a little cash on a new or used vehicle, like a truck for supplies, or even a family-friendly SUV. And just a few general tips for the road: always fill up at every gas station you come across, and make sure you’ve got a back-up phone. You never know when you’ll run into trouble.
Road trips are about the journey, about the memories you can make with the people you travel with. More than anything, Nevada’s Highway 50 is a spiritual experience. Just explore and drive.