Dayton, Nevada lies at the mouth of Gold Cañon on the Carson River. It’s the site of Nevada’s first gold discovery and a contender for being the state’s earliest Euro-American permanently inhabited settlement. After gold was discovered in California, thousands of fortune seekers trekked West. Those following the Carson River Route often camped at the mouth of Gold Cañon (Dayton) while waiting for snow to melt in the Sierra Nevada.
Around the corner is the Dayton Taphouse, the oldest saloon in town where Marilyn frequented during filming. We stopped there for lunch and the food and service was excellent. Add Dayton, Nevada to your list of must visits.
One of the many interesting places to visit on Nevada Highway 50, the Loneliest Road in America, is Sand Mountain Recreation Area. Located twenty-five miles south east of Fallon, ATV and off-roading enthusiasts from near and far flock to this off-roading paradise.
The sand dunes originate from the ancient glacial Lake Lahontan that for the most part, dried up 9,000 years ago—which means that you’re basically ripping around on what could’ve been beachside property 10,000 years ago. The area is managed by the Bureau of Land Management and is open to off-highway vehicle use without limits.
While there are many things to marvel at when visiting this geologic wonder, perhaps the most fascinating is the fact that Sand Mountain is one of only a handful of singing sand dunes in the world. This natural sound phenomenon can reach 105 decibels, lasting as long as several minutes.
Near the base of the mountain is a large RV parking area. We visited on a weekday and the mountain was buzzing with ATV's. There were several empty spaces in the parking area but beware of soft sand if you're visiting the area. We didn't venture off the paved road since we were not planning to boon dock there for the night. Overall, the stop was well worth it. The scale of Sand Mountain from up close is a spectacular sight.
Nearby Naval Air Station (NAS) Fallon has served as a training facility since its inception thanks to the area’s perfectly empty wide-open spaces. In 1996 it became the premier air-to-air and air-to-ground training facility when the Naval Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN) was transferred to the base.
We enjoyed our visit to Sand Mountain and look forward to returning to stay a few nights in the area.
Driving across Nevada U.S. Highway 50, the Loneliest Road in America, had been on our bucket list for a long time. We stopped every few miles to take in the sights and sounds. The sights are well documented but we were fascinated by the sounds. At times the only sound you can hear is the desert breeze. When the breeze dies down, there is silence. No cars. No city noise. No jets overhead. Nothing. Total silence.
The Loneliest Road roughly parallels the Pony Express Trail, which goes from Silver Springs through Fallon and along the towns across Highway 50. Remnants of Pony Express Stations are visible in several locations along the Loneliest Road.
Stretching the width of Nevada, the Loneliest Road is a fascinating scenic and historic corridor through a land seemingly untouched by man.
With endless miles of pavement running toward distant mountains and desolate desert valleys, it’s no wonder this route is a popular bucket-list item. It is the definition of picturesque.
Word of caution if you're considering this drive — a breakdown on any part of this isolated stretch would definitely be more than an inconvenience. Service stations are few and far between. Cell-service is limited to non-existent between a handful of small towns. Pack lots of water and extra supplies. Plan accordingly.
Driving across Nevada on the Loneliest Road in America is one of the most beautiful and exhilarating drives in the U.S.A. It is also a very peaceful drive.