Driving the Loneliest Road in America - US 50 Across Nevada
U.S. Highway 50 (US 50) is a historic transcontinental highway which stretches from Sacramento, California in the west, to Ocean City, Maryland on the east coast.
US 50 crosses the central portion of Nevada, from the west side of the state near Lake Tahoe to the east side near Great Basin National Park.
Why is It Called the Loneliest Road?
The Nevada portion of US 50 was named "The Loneliest Road in America" by Life magazine in July 1986.
The article in Life had definite negative overtones, and quoted a AAA Counselor:
"It's totally empty. There are no points of interest. We don't recommend it. We warn all motorists not to drive there."
However, astute Nevada officials seized on the flawed article as a marketing slogan. The name originates from large desolate areas traversed by the route, with few or no signs of civilization. The highway crosses several large desert valleys separated by numerous mountain ranges towering over the valley floors,
The route was constructed over a historic corridor, first used for the Pony Express and Central Overland Route, and later for the Lincoln Highway.
U.S. Route 50 in Nevada: The Loneliest Road in America
Our Road Trip on the Loneliest Road
The Nevada Commission on Tourism today publishes an excellent passport-size document: The Official Highway 50 Survival Guide.
It includes maps and highlights along the road. If you get your Survival Guide stamped along the way, and mail it in, you receive a certificate of travel! It's very well done. Make sure you pick one up when you travel the Loneliest Road.
We've wanted to drive the route for years, and finally had the opportunity to traverse most of it recently.
We journeyed eastbound, from Carson City, with a small side tour over to nearby Virginia City.
We had planned to drive the entire Nevada U.S. Route 50 through Ely, and to the Great Basin National Park, and then into Utah.
After an overnight stay in Ely, the forecast of hurricane force winds in Utah forced us to head north from Ely, up U.S. Highway 93 to West Wendover.
Included herein are a few photo highlights of a great trip on the Loneliest Highway... highly recommended for anyone who loves the solitude of the open road, with constantly changing vistas, spectacular scenery, and no traffic!
Storm clouds hanging over U.S. Route 50 in Nevada
Lodging Options Near the Loneliest Road
Map of U.S. 50 in Nevada: The Loneliest Road
Map courtesy of Travel Nevada
Edwards Creek Valley on The Loneliest Road in America
Eureka Opera House on U.S. Route 50 in Nevada
Historical marker for Austin, Nevada, along U.S. Route 50
Downtown Austin, Nevada, along U.S. Route 50