Let’s face it: I-80 Nevada is a stretch of highway most motorists expect to blast down, pedal-to-the-metal, on their way to somewhere else.
Those folks are missing out. Next time you’re cruising Reno to West Wendover on Interstate 80, the speed limit may hit 80 mph. But when you hit a town, slow down. Because just down that off ramp you’ll discover lively, welcoming communities inviting you to explore Nevada’s history and plenty of exciting present-day attractions at the same time.
From Reno, it’s off to Fernley, about a 30-minute drive east, where stunning views of the picturesque Truckee River Canyon meandering below Interstate 80 Nevada are offered.
Keep your eyes peeled for the Main Street Art Park, a sculpture garden that houses some of the artwork from the annual Burning Man gathering, which takes place just north of Fernley in the Black Rock Desert.
Continue east about an hour to reach Lovelock, with population of 1,900. Lovelock was once a stop for pioneers traveling to California for the Gold Rush of 1848. The section of Interstate 80 from Elko to Lovelock roughly follows the California Trail, which followed the path of the Humboldt River, the longest river in the state.
Enjoy wide open landscapes that define Nevada’s Great Basin as you travel toward Rye Patch State Recreation Area, created by a dammed section of the Humboldt River. A stop further west is where Basque heritage meets buckaroo history in Winnemucca.
Next up on the Interstate is Elko, Nevada. Founded in 1869 as a railroad town, Elko quickly assumed its role as the center of the state’s cattle industry. Today, mining is Elko’s major enterprise, but cattle ranches and other legacies of the region’s cowboy and ranching past remain strong.
Continue east on Interstate 80 for about one hour to get to West Wendover, which flows seamlessly into neighboring Wendover, Utah—the community is split by the state border. Snap a photo with the beloved Wendover Will on Wendover Boulevard. You can’t miss him—he’s a 63-foot tall neon sign that got his start in 1952, welcoming guests to one of the area’s casinos.
Visit DiscoverYourNevada.com to learn more about Nevada’s unparalleled culture and beauty.
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