Ely, Nevada

At the eastern end of U.S. Highway 50 in, Nevada is the bustling town of Ely. What started as just a post office and stagecoach station grew rapidly with the discovery of copper in 1906. As the railroad steamed into town, Ely continued to grow, and today the community’s history is documented by a series of giant murals gracing the sides of buildings throughout town. For a closer look at Ely’s history, visitors can also tour the Renaissance Village to see homes and stores adorned as they would have been in the 1900s. Each home is furnished and decorated to represent the ethnicities that made up Ely’s early days, a mix of cultures that included Spanish, Italian, English, French, Slavic, Asian and Greek.

Another way for visitors to see Ely’s heritage is with a visit to the historic Hotel, Nevada and Gambling Hall. Once a popular resting place for the Hollywood crown en route to ski vacations in Sun Valley, Idaho, Hotel, Nevada famously opened its doors to the likes of Wayne Newtown, Gary Copper, Jimmy Stewart and Ann Rutherford. Today, many of these hotel rooms are decorated in honor of these famous guests. And impressive as Hotel, Nevada may be, arguably the most prized attraction in Ely is the Ghost Train, an authentic steam-engine train on the, Nevada Northern Railway. Visitors can trawl the rail yard and even hop aboard for a train ride. Special excursions are hosted regularly, including wine-tasting and barbeque trains, and in the winter months, an exceptional transformation into a Polar Express with a very special red-suited guest. For a deeper look into the town’s rail history, stop by the East Ely Railroad Depot Museum, open weekdays.

The community also hosts interesting and anticipated annual events, including January’s Fire & Ice Show, an amazing mix of fireworks and an ice sculpture competition held at Cave Lake State Park, and the Arts in the Park Festival in August.

Other must-sees in the area are Garnet Hill, an area bursting with beautiful dark red garnets embedded in volcanic rock; the Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park, which hosts beehive-shaped brick ovens built in the 1870s as part of the region’s copper mining efforts and still standing today in near-perfect condition; and the amazingly-preserved McGill Drug Store Museum.

Finally, as one of the towns along “The Loneliest Road in America” (a nickname given Highway 50 by Life Magazine thanks to its long, isolated stretch through, Nevada), Ely offers visitors the chance to participate in a fun little diversion. Travelers heading along the Loneliest Road can download a Highway 50 Survival Guide here and get it stamped in each of the towns along the way to get an “I Survived” certificate signed by the governor.


Ely, NV

Experience first-hand the adrenaline rush of driving flat-out on a public highway at the Silver State Classic Challenge September 18-21, 2014.

McGill, NV

One of the most nostalgic experiences in Nevada can be found at the McGill Drugstore Museum in a small town 12 miles north of Ely. Stepping through the door, visitors are greeted by an authentic small town drugstore that has been completely frozen in time. The store’s shelves are lined with faded products dating back to the 1950s, from the once-popular Dippity-do styling gel to the Ipana toothpaste. In its heyday, the McGill Drugstore sold its customers not only manufactured drugs, but also a variety of home remedies and prescriptions that were mixed right in the store.

An exterior view of the Jailhouse Casino-Motel
Ely, NV

The Jailhouse Casino - Motel in Ely offers reasonable accommodations and a friendly casino. This pet-friendly motel also houses two restaurants. The Garden Coffee Shop offers daily specials while the Cell Block Steak House offers a unique dining experience where guest dine in the privacy of their own jail cell.

The Caboose
Ely, NV

Train aficianados can now experience an overnight stay in an authentic, 19th-century caboose. The Northern Nevada dates back to the early 1900s, when the railway was built to help haul copper from area mines.

Today, the Nevada Northern offers a number of train rides on historic engines, including the new Caboose Overnight ride. Up to three people can stay in the caboose overnight for $125, or $185 to add a train ride. Guests that stay in the caboose have access to the restrooms, showers and kitchen that are in the nearby bunkhouse.

Ely, NV

Nevada has long been a haven for mountain bikers, and with routes like those found in the Egan Crest Trail System, it's easy to see why.