Here's Why You Won't Regret Adding The Loneliest Road In America To Your Next Road Trip

Spanning 3,000 miles from coast to coast, Highway 50 (commonly known as The Loneliest Road in America) is a scenic byway that cuts through the heart of Nevada, revealing a gateway into some of the state's most treasured monuments. While most of the journey consists of little more than mountains and blue sky melting onto a dazzling desert canvas, it's a trip deeply rooted in American history.

With miles upon miles of endless blacktop stretching ahead, it can almost be a game to keep a lookout for old Pony Express stations dappled along the modern highway. There are 47 Pony Express stations spread along Nevada's Loneliest Road, and it's possible to retrace the hoof prints of mounted riders who traveled the dunes along the old route in 1860 and 1861. Each station is spaced 5 to 20 miles apart, making the journey dangerous for those without food or water in the desert heat. With many consisting of nothing but a few foundational pieces, such as a fireplace or hitching post, several have since been converted into Sagebrush Saloons, giving weary travelers a place to pull over at these cozy roadhouses.

From scattered desert hamlets to abandoned ghost towns and national parks containing some of the Silver State's most bountiful landscapes, there's a reason the Loneliest Road in America has garnered status as one of the country's most iconic road trip routes. With several stretches inching along sand dunes and sky with no end, it's almost a necessity to have a friend in the passenger seat to keep drivers company when the miles turn long and lonely.

Lake Tahoe to Sand Mountain

Springboarding the journey along Highway 50 introduces travelers to its desolate two-lane paved road with an eerie and desolate hot spot. Nestled just off Highway 50 and a primitive hot spot along the transcontinental byway is an American ghost town registered under the moniker Osceola. Home to some of the largest gold nuggets discovered during the great American gold rush in the 1800s, the town produced millions of dollars in gold, silver, and lead by the beginning of the 20th century. Today, it's known for its eerie fame as an abandoned mining town. It's said that during the 1940's the town was rampaged by three mysterious fires that burned the remaining structures that are believed to have been caused by the same family.

About an hour from Reno, Fallon is quite literally the breadbasket of Nevada, with a farm-to-table dining scene influenced by the state's leading cash crops, alfalfa and potatoes. Nearly all the fare served in this city's roadside cafes is locally sourced from dairy and poultry farms, including Lattin Farms, a certified organic farm supporting multiple counties in Northern Nevada, in addition to its hometown. Lush greenery skimming the outskirts of town supports a thriving wilderness playground for off-roading, hiking, and leisurely strolls. If you find yourself passing through in the heat of summer, the Fallon Cantaloupe Festival is a must-visit held every August in celebration of Nevada's golden melon harvest. 

Sand Mountain to Great Basin National Park

About 30 miles east of Fallon, Sand Mountain rises high in the distance as one of Nevada's three singing sand dunes. The sound, caused by wind and movement underground, can reach 105 decibels and last several minutes on end. The billowing dunes are visible miles before the paved highway collides with the foot of the peaks. Formed over 9,000 years ago by geological forces, the dunes sit as the remainder of Lake Lahontan and make for an epic off-roading experience.

Continue east along Highway 50 until you hit the border of Eureka, Nevada. This old-west mining town bears its name proudly from the moment the earliest mining pioneers shouted "Eureka!" when their axes first struck gold. Today, it's nicknamed "The Friendliest Town on the Loneliest Highway." In the 1800s Eureka was known to produce more than 700 tons of ore in a single day, obtaining its status as the wealthiest county in Nevada. Notable attractions include the Jackson House Hotel, Eureka Historical Ghost Tour, and the Urban Cowboy Bar and Grill — don't skip out on their legendary chile verde!

Ending the journey with a dazzling natural canvas, Great Basin National Park is home to Nevada's second-tallest peak and some of Earth's oldest living trees. The high desert landscape is home to alpine lakes, bristlecone pines, and limestone caves, creating a stunning canvas of gold, red, and brown during the autumn months and a sea of lush greenery at the height of summer. Celebrate with a peaceful walk among the pines, celebrating a trip well traveled.