WHERE: Ely, NV: 245 miles North of Las Vegas, 245 Miles Southwest of Salt Lake City, 300 miles East of Reno.
HOW: Best way is to drive and enjoy the adventure of getting here. Check out the map.
WHY: The Nevada Northern has been acclaimed as the best preserved railroad complex in North America. For railfans, history buffs, and those who are generally curious, it is well worth the journey.
WHEN: Check the calendar for year-around activities. Summers are mild at a mile high in elevation. Expect snow in the Winter.
OPEN DAILY: EXCEPT Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Day, New Years Day, and Jan 2nd.
HOURS: Ticket Desk and General Store open 8am-5pm (4pm on Sundays, later on days when trains depart later). For a walking tour arrive one hour or more prior to closing. Full train schedule here
If you listened to the news on January 30th, you might have heard a short little clip about it being "National Plan Your Vacation Day." We never heard if it either, but when we did, it really resonated with us.
Here in the Mountains of Rural Nevada, we are in such a remote spot of America that almost everyone has to make a specific plan to come and visit us. That's why National Plan Your Vacation Day makes sense. Plan for something great to happen this Summer. Out here in the heart of the real American West there is lots to do and see.
Even if you missed January 30th, let's work together to make today your own "National Plan Your Vacation Day." To help get you started, here are some links as your consider National Plan Your Vacation Day:
For starters, consider making Ely your base camp to explore Great Basin National Park and the surrounding area. It's just an hour away and it is amazing! From the 13,000-foot summit of Wheeler Peak, to the sage-covered foothills, it is a place to sample the stunning diversity of the larger Great Basin region. Come and partake of the solitude of the wilderness, walk among ancient bristlecone pines, bask in the darkest of night skies, and explore mysterious subterranean passages of Lehman Caves.
There are, of course, full-emersion hands-on-history railroad experiences here at the historic Nevada Northern Railroad:
Close to Ely is Cave Lake State Park. Cave Lake State Park offers outstanding recreational opportunities year-round. Stocked with rainbow trout and home to German brown trout, the 32-acre reservoir provides outstanding fishing and boating. Other summer activities include swimming, hiking, camping and the Annual Bathtub Races.
Speaking of Cave Lake, Success Loop will take you on a 30 mile trip up and through some of the best mountain scenery in Nevada, including views of Cave Lake. The loop starts 17 miles north of Ely and ends up 8 miles south of Ely. Grab some picnic supplies and enjoy the views.
The Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park is perched in the Egan Mountain Range just East of Ely. The park features six huge beehive shaped charcoal ovens that were used in the 1870's to help process rich silver ore that was discovered in the area. Once mining ended, the ovens were used to shelter travelers and even had a reputation as a hideout for stagecoach bandits. Visitors can not only walk into the oven structures, but also enjoy camping, picnicking, hiking and fishing in the park. Wildlife? Be on the lookout for mule deer, grouse and elk.
Ghost Towns! Real Ghost Towns! Your excursion trip on the train actually goes through the ghost town of Lane City. Nearby ghost towns also include Hamilton, Treasure City, Pioche, Cherry Creek, Ward, and Taylor. And as you head out to explore the ghost towns keep a lookout for the wild Mustangs that live in the Great Basin.
Here are some of our favorite websites to help you plan a great destination vacation to Rural Central Nevada for you and your family :