It has been renamed the “Loneliest Road of America”. This is Route 50: hundreds of lonely miles crossing the state of Nevada, United States of America. Hundreds of miles of a no horizon expanse among desert landscapes, snowy mountains and spectacular blue skies or pinky sunsets.
Miles and miles of the route from Fallon to Ely passing through Austin and Eureka without the opportunity to meet anyone and where the only travelling companion can really be just the car you are driving. For those who want to enjoy the loneliness, the Route 50 is, therefore, the ideal place and is also the perfect scenario where to get in touch with a concept of extreme nature also at the climatic level, with dramatic thermic excursions between day and night.
The starting point is Fallon, a town of just 8,000 inhabitants, which, in addition to having lush agriculture, is also famous for the military base where the famous “Top Guns” are based. Fallon is also one of the first places where you can get a stamp on the Highway 50 Survival Guide, a sort of survival passport which gives you the right, at the end of the route, to get a certificate called “I survived”.
During the journey from Fallon to Austin, the nature show is manifested with the Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge, in Lahontan Valley, over 320 sq km of marshland with nearly 300 species of birds. It’s not surprising that this area has been classified as “Globally Important Bird Area” by the American Bird Conservancy. A paradise where silence is reigned only by the noise of the wings of birds or the rustling of wild vegetation.
A little bit later you’ll find the Grimes Point Archeological Area, a kind of Nevada’s Stone Henge scattered with petroglyphs. It is believed that the Indians of America have arrived here about eight thousand years ago while the art of drawing in the rock dates back some six thousand years ago.
Approximately twenty minutes from Grimes another nature show is called “Sand Mountain”, a 180 m high white sand dune, with over 3km of length and 20m of width. It is also called singing sand dune due to the sound produced by the wind clashing the sand.
From Austin to Eureka, the Route 50 becomes even more lonely and for several miles, you leave back the flat expanses to climb along the Rocky Mountains to reach Ely, a village that had had moments of glory since the early 20th century thanks to the discovery of copper. Now the mines have been closed and what’s justify of the past is the Nevada Northern Railway, with a ride on a historic train still working with coal.
After Ely, you leave behind Route 50 and head north towards Elko where, besides casinos, there is the California Trail Interpretative Center. Here is the history of America’s pioneers and their journey to California looking for gold during Gold Rush. Still in Elko, according to the spirit of Old Wild West, you can visit the saddle shop J.M. Capriola where the saddles are still hand-made.
From Elko the last stop, after driving about 260 miles, is Reno, Las Vegas’ alternative if you are searching casinos.