In our experience, Highway 50 is a nice long stretch (more than 300 miles) of remarkably untraveled highway. It’s a narrow ribbon wending through high desert, blanketed by sagebrush, with views of mountains on the horizon. It’s true that towns are few and far between—mostly tiny, rough around the edges, and with only the most basic amenities. And it’s definitely a good idea to top off your gas tank at every opportunity, which occurs about every 75-100 miles.
Surprisingly Soul-Soothing Nevada
One does not generally link “Nevada” and “soul-soothing” in the same sentence. But that’s pretty much how I’d describe our cruise down Highway 50. After leaving the spectacular vistas of Great Basin National Park, we headed due west.
Although we only made a couple of stops in our journey along “The Loneliest Highway,” they were memorable in a somewhat bizarre way.
Petroglyphs And Goats
Located about halfway along Highway 50 is a rustic BLM campground. There are no hookups, and no water available—but it’s free. The petroglyphs are what attracted us. After all of the fabulous petroglyphs we’ve seen in our travels in the southwest, these were underwhelming. But the scenery is beautiful and the campground is peaceful.
We arrived and thought we were alone until we saw three goats ambling through our site. I did a double take, trying to make sense of what I was seeing. The goat owners soon followed, a young couple traveling from northern California to their new home in Colorado. The goats traveled in comfort in the back of their small pickup truck. We spent an enjoyable couple of hours hiking with the goat family on the trails above the campground. It was a surreal and yet somehow absolutely perfect Highway 50 experience.
About 100 miles from Austin is Sand Mountain, another BLM site with a campground. We had considered camping here, but I’m so glad we didn’t. We stopped for a picnic lunch, and realized that this is a campground for ATV’ers, and far from peaceful. But it was interesting watching the them buzzing up and down the sandhill, like little ants.
There’s more to explore on The Loneliest Highway, but those adventures will have to wait for another road trip. If you find yourself needing to traverse Nevada, have no fear of traveling Highway 50. You likely have all the skills you need to survive the journey.