Nevada Traveler: Nevada’s truly loneliest roads
Back in 1986, Life Magazine made U.S. 50 in Nevada famous.
In July of that year, the now-defunct magazine called U.S. 50 in Nevada the “loneliest road in America” and indicated that travelers needed survival skills to make the trip.
The towns along the route quickly capitalized on the description and, working with Nevada Tourism and Cultural Affairs, developed a tongue-in-cheek “Highway 50 Survival Kit” (still available at https://loneliestroad.us/highway-50-survival-guide/).
The promotion was an immediate success. Throughout the years, thousands of survival kits have been distributed and there have been travel books and numerous magazine and newspaper articles about taking a trip on the loneliest road in America.
Travel Nevada also posted a fun road trip story about U.S. 50, which you can read here: https://travelnevada.com/road-trip/anything-but-lonely-on-nevadas-highway-50/.
But is U.S. 50 really the loneliest road in America? The Nevada Department of Transportation produces an annual Traffic Information book that includes average traffic counts per day.
Perusing the 2019 edition, it’s easy to see that U.S. 50 is far from the loneliest road. Indeed, appears the stretch of the road near the intersection with State Route 376 (the Tonopah-Austin Road) sees some 600 vehicles daily, making it the loneliest part of the Loneliest Road in America.
According to the report, there are least 10 other roads in the state that are far less traveled than U.S. 50 at its lightest amount of traffic, including:
- Paradise Valley Road, north of State Route 290. This road sees about 60 travelers per day. In both directions.
- State Route 844, also known as Ione Road. Heading east of State Route 336, it sees 70 travelers a day.
- State Route 116, also known as Stillwater Road. This lightly-traveled route sees 80 cars per day.
- State Route 228, Harrison Pass Road, near Elko, which leads to the Ruby Valley Wildlife Refuge. This rustic route sees 80 travelers a day.
- Cordero Mine Road, on the Nevada-Oregon border, near McDermitt, also sees a mere 80 vehicles per day.
- State Route 265, the Silver Peak Road, sees 90 vehicles per day.
- State Route 293, also known as King River Valley Road near Orovada sees 100 vehicles each day.
- Old Nevada State Route 228 in Elko County, also known as the Jiggs Road, sees 100 travelers each day.
- Rainbow Canyon Road, south of U.S. 93 near Pioche, sees only 100 travelers per day.
- State Route 377 from State Route 376 to the mining ghost town of Manhattan. Only 110 vehicles travel this road each day. And an unknown number of ghosts.
Rich Moreno writes about the places and people that make Nevada special.