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10 Reasons to Drive Hwy 50 in Nevada, The Loneliest Road in America

A Road Trip Across Nevada on Hwy 50 might sound down right miserable.

By: Alex E + Save to a List

The highway dubbed the Loneliest Road in America can seem like a desolate boring desert, but in fact it is full of adventure. Hwy 50 is what we all search for in our adventures...places untouched by man, isolated camping, starry night skies, and endless dirt roads to explore. Make room on your calendar to drive from Great Basin National Park to Lake Tahoe on Hwy 50 this year and find out why this highway is far from lonely when it comes to adventure.

1. Lake Tahoe's Water and Snow

This is one of the most iconic locations in North America. This year-round outdoor playground has something for everyone. Whether its skiing in one of the greatest density of ski resorts in North America or SUP one of the clearest lakes in America, the Lake Tahoe area has something for everyone.

2. Great Basin National Park

Great Basin National Park is unlike anything you would expect from Nevada. This is the first stop on your trip if you are coming from the east. This stop might just be the best part of you entire HWY 50 road trip. This rarely visited national park is more like the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California.

Bustling with wildlife, beautiful lakes and high altitude peaks, this park won't leave you disappointed. And if you thought the daytime activities were enough, half the park happens after dark is the old saying there. As one of the darkest national parks, the night sky here is simply spectacular.

3. Wild Horses

This iconic part of the West seems to be slowly slipping away from our American culture. Wild horses were once a major part of the western region of America. Today, with more and more public land being sold, these beautiful wild creatures are being captured and sold to be tamed. Along the 50 in Nevada, you can still catch a glimpse of these wild beasts galloping through the Nevada Mountains.

4. Road Trip Sunsets

With over 300 days of sunshine, catching an awe inspiring sunset in the Nevada landscape isn't hard. So many locations along this stretch of highway allow you to capture dramatic shots with mountain backdrops, desert colors coming alive, and endless views.

5. Off-Road Adventures

Nevada has more dirt roads than paved roads. Finding a little mud or dust to cover the truck in isn't hard in this state and Hwy 50 is a great conduit to off-road adventures. About every other mile a dirt road crosses the highway. Some may be private roads but the majority are public. Many roads connect back to the 50 as well. So you can leave the highway for a couple hours and jump right back on it 20 or 30 miles down the road. Although the 50 is very isolated, getting on the dirt roads and using that 4 wheel drive you spent that hard earned money on is a true adventure. It's a great way to get to wildlife, fishing holes and great isolated camping spots under that dark night sky.

6. Delicious Food

From hole in the wall diners near the Ely train Station, to five star restaurants along Lake Tahoe, the 50 has it all. Two spots you definitely need to stop in are the All Aboard Cafe in Ely and the Middlegate Station restaurant and bar (Middlegate, NV) for the Middlegate burger challenge.

7. Sand Mountain

The 650 foot high, and almost 5,000 acres of rare dunes are in the middle of nowhere. Located just outside of Fallon, NV the dunes are perfect for the dune buggy, dirt bike, four wheel enthusiasts, camping and hiking.

8. Oasis in the Desert

In a desert state like Nevada, beautiful wetlands are impossible to find, right? Not if you are driving down the 50. The Stillwater Wildlife Reserve is an oasis in the desert. This reserve is a birdwatchers paradise. At the Stillwater reserve, you can find the rare white pelican. Yes that's not a typo, a white pelican in the middle of the desert of Nevada. Make sure you also catch a sunrise and sunset over this dramatic and amazing setting.

9. Wildlife

This section of Nevada has everything from wild horses, antelope, mule deer, elk, mountain lions and everything in between. Whether you are here to hunt or just sight see, Nevada is definitely full of wildlife.

10. Easy Camping

Camping along the 50 is pretty much whereever you can stop the van or pop up the tent. Although there are plenty of designated sites just off the road, any dirt road or turn out will do the trick.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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