Fernley is known as the crossroads, I-80 and highways 95 and 50 all trisect here. It is also the starting point of highway 50 which is known as the loneliest road in America. Stop by the Chamber and pick up your HWY 50 guide or get your travel book stamped when you arrive in Fernley.
Travel Show host Erik Hastings experiences Carson City’s rich history, culture, recreational and culinary attractions. Erik tours Nevada’s historic capital and finds plenty of food, fun, and scenic beauty of this authentic American West destination. VisitCarsonCity.com for more information
Total Travel Estimate from Fernley: 59 minutes / 49.66 miles
Fallon is located about 60 miles east of Reno at the intersection of Highway 50 and Highway 93. This farming and ranching community is the place to go for some adventure. Just east of Fallon is Sand Mountain, a huge sand dune perfect for riding motorcycles and other off-road vehicles. You can also visit Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge, a stopping point on the migratory route for birds.
Total Travel Estimate from Fernley:
To Fallon NV
32 minutes / 27.71 miles
To Sand Mountain
57 minutes / 53.59 miles
Nevada’s First Recorded Settlement
Douglas County and Carson Valley history is very young, an important chapter in the romantic “Old West”. Explorers and trappers made their way through this area but it wasn’t until June of 1851 when John Reese and his party built a trading post that the area began to attract settlers and became a permanent settlement.
Total Travel Estimate from Fernley:
1 hour 19 minutes / 65.00 miles
The City Of Lovelock, known as the “Banana Belt”, was established in 1868 and incorporated on September 26, 1917, is a community of approximately 2400 people located 90 miles east of Reno along Interstate 80. Lovelock is 2 square miles in size, which includes 3 public parks, skateboard park, a community swimming pool, hospital, elementary, middle and high school, public library, community center and many businesses ranging from feed stores to casinos.
Total Travel Estimate from Fernley:
52 minutes / 61.19 miles
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Around 1986 to 1988, Life Magazine is said to have ran a very negative article about Nevada State Highway 50 titled “The Loneliest Road.” An AAA spokesperson had described Nevada State Highway 50 route through Nevada in these words: “It’s totally empty. There are no points of interest. We don’t recommend it. We warn all motorists not to drive there unless they’re confident of their survival skills.”
Nevada tourism officials were quick to agree that while Highway 50 did not have traditional tourism related stopping places like amusement parks, “The Loneliest Road” has many little-known and unique items of interest. In addition, most of these places along the Loneliest Road were free for the tourist to see.
To combat the article’s negativity, the White Pine County Chamber of Commerce in Ely suggested calling highway 50 “The Loneliest Road in America.” Later the Nevada Commission on Tourism developed the now popular “The Loneliest Road in America, Official Highway 50 Survival Guide.”
Travelers can pick up the free Loneliest Road survival kits at Chambers of Commerce, museums, restaurants, motels, and gas stations along Highway 50. The kit contains a state road map, the Loneliest Road Survival Guidebook showing some things to see and a line map of the road. Travelers stop in the towns of Fernley, Fallon, Austin, Eureka, and Ely to get the Loneliest Road map stamped. When all five of the boxes are stamped in each town, the completed form is mailed (postage free) to the Nevada Commission on Tourism. You then receive a Loneliest Road survival certificate signed by the Governor, a Loneliest Road lapel pin, and a Loneliest Road bumper sticker announcing that you survived this “uninteresting and empty” road.
Pony Express Website
Black Rock—High Rock Emigrant Trail NCA
Black Rock—High Rock Emigrant Trail NCA protects a region of great historical significance for Nevada and the nation. The famous Applegate-Lassen Emigrant Trail, which runs through the heart of the region, played a pivotal roll in the western migration and the California Gold Rush. The trail and its scenery remain much the same as they were 150 years ago during the peak of the trail’s use. Visitors can still see the ruts left behind by the wagons as well as historic landmarks such as the 1843-44 John Charles Fremont exploration route, the site of the death of prominent settler Peter Lassen, early military facilities, and examples of early homesteading and mining.
The area’s rich history dates far beyond the Emigrant Trail. A wealth of prehistoric remains have been found throughout the region including those of sabertooth tigers and giant woolly mammoths. Numerous Native American cultural sites also exist within the NCA.
Fort Churchill & Buckland Station
Fort Churchill was once an active U.S. Army fort. Built in 1861 to provide protection for early settlers, it was abandoned nine years late. Today the ruins are preserved in a state of arrested decay. A visitor center displays information and artifacts of the fort’s history. The Pony Express and the Overland Telegraph once passed through this area. Nearby is Buckland Station, a Pony Express stop, supply center, and former hotel built in 1870. Facilities at Fort Churchill State Historic Park includes trails, a campground, picnic area, group-use area and access to the Carson River. Visitors can enjoy hiking, historic and environmental education, camping, picnicking, photography and canoeing. The park is located eight miles south of Silver Springs on Alternative U.S. 95, and one mile on Fort Churchill Road.
Samuel Buckland settled the valley in 1859 and began ranching. His early establishment served as an important way station for pioneer travelers on the Overland Route. It was one of the earliest ranches in the area, supplying emigrants, ranchers, travelers and the soldiers at Fort Churchill. The Overland Stage Company kept horses at the station and the Pony Express stopped here for change of mounts. As Fort Churchill was dismantled, Mr. Buckland salvaged materials from the fort buildings to build the two-story house seen today. The Buckland family lived in the house and rented rooms to travelers.
Buckland Station was acquired by State Parks in 1994. The exterior, and the first floor of the interior, has been renovated since the acquisition. An information kiosk outside Buckland Station can direct you to the sites, and trails in the area. Buckland Station is located on the Carson River at Weeks Bridge, one-half mile south of the Fort Churchill entrance road.
Fort Churchill State Park
Pyramid Lake covers 125,000 acres, making it one of the largest natural lakes in the state of Nevada. Pyramid Lake is also the biggest remnant of ancient Lake Lahontan, the colossal inland sea that once covered most of Nevada. The scenery is spectacular, and the color of Pyramid Lake changes from shades of blue or gray, depending on the skies above. Pyramid Lake is also surrounded by unusual rock formations, including the Stone Mother. Pyramid Lake’s significant role in the history of the Paiute Indian tribe also adds to its mystique and many myths and tales surrounding it.
Today, Pyramid Lake is part of the National Scenic Byways Program and the only byway in the country located entirely within a tribal reservation. Visitors can get a sense of the Pyramid Lake’s importance to the tribe with a trip to the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Museum and Visitors Center. The multi-purpose museum features several exhibits and displays about the tribe’s culture and history, the natural history of Pyramid Lake and why the Paiute people hold it in such esteem.
Lahontan Reservoir, with 69 miles of shoreline, covers 12,000 surface acres when full and features fishing, boating and water skiing, as well as camping, picnicking, boat launches, restrooms with showers and RV dump stations. Horseback riding and wildlife viewing are best in spring. Canoeing from Fort Churchill to the lake makes for a great day trip when conditions allow. Lahontan is located on the Carson River, 18 miles west of Fallon and 45 miles east of Carson City via U.S. 50. The park is open year-round and can be accessed from several entrances off U.S. 50 east of Silver Springs, and from an entrance off U.S. 95A, south of Silver Springs via Fir Avenue.