Heading on a road trip down “The Loneliest Road in America” and wondering where to stop and what to see along Nevada’s US 50? We just spent a week cruising down HWY 50 and have put together Loneliest Road In America road trip itinerary for you!
Loneliest Road In America Road Trip Itinerary
Day 1: Reno – Austin
Distance: 185 miles (with suggested stops)
We’d suggest spending the night in Reno and having a big breakfast before hitting the open road.
Stop #1 Frey Ranch & Churchhill Vineyards
- Address: 1045 DODGE LANE FALLON, NV 89406
- Tasting Tours: Saturdays Noon-4pm
What makes Frey Ranch different than other distilleries is they make all their own ingredients, everything is grown on the ranch right there in Nevada. Frey Ranch serves up tasty samples of Vodka, Gin, and soon Whiskey (still aging).
Located at the same stop is Churchill Vineyards. Who knew they could grow grapes in the middle of the desert?!? Churchill Vineyards is located 4,000 above sea level with cool nights and warm days providing perfect temperatures for producing well-balanced wines. Their wines may be purchased at their wine store varying in price from $14-20, pick up a bottle to enjoy when later in the trip.
*Make sure to have a designated driver for stop #1, if you don’t then skip it and head to stop #2*
Stop #2 Sand Mountain Recreation Area
- Address: 5665 Morgan Mill Rd, Carson City, NV
Sand Mountain is 3.5 miles long, 1 mile wide, and 600 feet tall making it the highest single dune in all of the Great Basin. Feel free to hike up Sand Mountain, ride an ATV, or even sandboard down it!
A permit is required within 30 minutes upon arrival to Sand Mountain Recreation Area for a fee of $40 a week but Tuesday & Wednesdays are free entry days to everyone.
Stop #3 Shoe Tree
- Address: 42500 Austin Hwy Fallon, NV
Right off the loneliest road in America is a sight you must pull over for at least a few photos. In the middle of a desert is a lonely cottonwood tree strung full of shoes. The tree is decorated with not only shoes but a few pairs of underwear, gum, and just about anything people have handy to hang from the tree. The story of how the shoe tree started is quite funny, click here to read it.
Stop #4 Stokes Castle
- Address: No Specific address, follow the castle sign at the edge of Austin, Nevada
Stokes Castle is another quirky roadside attraction alongside the loneliest road in America. This castle is not the picturesque castle you typically think of, the Stokes Castle is a 3-stories high and 50 feet around. Originally built in 1896 and only lived in it a short time before the family headed west in 1898 when it was the castle was left neglected. Head to Stokes Castle for sunset, it’s a great spot to catch the Nevadan sunset.
Overnight in Austin, Nevada
Day 2: Austin-Ely
Distance: 172 miles (with suggested stops)
Austin is a cute little town with a few motels and bed & breakfasts, we stayed at the Union Street Lodge. There’s a cute diner in town, but make sure to check the hours as they are known to close early
Stop #1 Eureka Opera House
- Address: 31 S Main St, Eureka, NV
You can’t miss the Eureka Opera House as you drive down Main Street Eureka. The opera house was built in 1880 and held several balls & silent films back in the day. Peak your head in and see if they will give you a tour if you’re passing through town.
Stop #2 East Ely Railroad Depot Museum
- Address: 1100 Avenue A, Ely, Nevada
- Hours: Monday-Friday 8am-430pm, Saturday & Sunday 9am-4pm
Take a train ride on a vintage steam locomotive are in operation throughout the year, but make sure to check the schedule in advance. Make sure to head back here in the evening to take some amazing star photos on the train tracks.
Day 3: Ely
Distance: 160 miles
Today will be spent exploring around Ely, so it’s best to base yourself in Ely and spend 2 nights in a hotel. We stayed at Hotel Nevada an old-school casino hotel, but there are several hotel chains in town if you prefer that.
Stop #1 Great Basin National Park
- Address: 100 Great Basin National Park Baker, NV
- Visitor Center Hours: Daily 8am-5pm during the summer
Break out your National Park pass and spend the morning exploring the Great Basin National Park. It’s a newer national park and will actually be celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2016. Drive the Wheeler Peak scenic drive for some of the most amazing views of the Basin.
Stop #2 Lehman Caves
- Address: 100 Great Basin National Park, Baker NV
- Tickets can be purchased in advance but we advise reserving in advance click here
Take a guided tour of the Lehman Caves which are a limestone solution cave traced back to 550 -600 million years ago. If you’d like to bring in your tripod you must book a special after-hours tour as tripods are NOT allowed on other tours.
Stop #3 McGill Drug Museum
- Address: 11 Fourth Stree (Highway 93) McGill, Nevada
- Hours: Open by appointment only, Please call ahead 775-235-7082 or [email protected]
The McGill Drug Museum was one of our favorite stops in Northern Nevada! Talk about a random museum and the guy who runs it is a character and a half. Walking into the McGill Drug Store is like entering a time capsule. Items on the shelves go back to the ’50s, the packaging and products in the shelves are left just the way they were when the store closed in 1979. It’s a must-stop attraction.
Day 4: Ely-Reno
Distance: 320 miles via US 50 or for different scenery try I-80 (430 miles) or US 95 (405) where you can easily dip into Yosemite National Park
There are tons of more things to do in Northern Nevada that you could extend your road trip down the loneliest road in America.
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Additional HWY 50 Nevada Articles
A FEW RESOURCES TO PLAN YOUR TRIP DOWN HWY 50 IN NEVADA:
Thanks to Travel Nevada for inviting us on such an epic road trip! Like always all opinions are our own.
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