There’s a lot to explore throughout Nevada Silver Trails, so be ready to cover some ground. The state tourism agency, Travel Nevada, has broken the state down into five geographical regions and ours, Nevada Silver Trails, is the largest at approximately 35,000 square miles. It occupies the width of the state from about the geographical center, just south of U.S. highway 50 and all the southern counties except Clark. It’s approximately 324 direct line miles from near Mesquite, Nevada, just south of where Nevada, Arizona and Utah come together on the south-eastern side of the Trails to Yerington, Nevada, on the north-western edge near Reno. Tonopah is at the approximate center of the territory 168 direct line miles from both Reno and Las Vegas and 238 road miles from Reno and 211 road miles from Las Vegas on the principle highway traversing the western edge of the region, U.S. 95. And with so many other routes to explore, you’ll be logging a few miles, to be sure. Nevada is traversed by two interstates, I-15 (to the south and east of the region) and I-80 (to the north of the region). Connecting these interstates is the aforementioned U.S. 95 and The Great Basin Highway, U.S. 93, coming down from Wells, Wendover and Ely to Las Vegas along the eastern edge of the state. The only other U.S. Highway traversing the region is U.S. 6, entering over Montgomery Pass from Bishop, California and extending through Tonopah in a north-easterly direction to Ely. However, this highway can be converted to a viable east-west route through the middle of the territory by exiting U.S. 6 at Warm Springs (50 miles east of Tonopah) and taking State route 375, which has been dubbed the Extraterrestrial Highway because of its close proximity to the mysterious Area 51, to its junction with U.S. 93 and continuing on 93 to Panaca, then proceeding east on state route 319 and Utah state route 56 to Cedar City and I-15.
The primary tourist destination in the territory is Death Valley National Park. Highway 95 runs just to the east of this 5,000 square mile park (the largest national park in the contiguous 48 states) with paved state roads accessing the park at Scotty’s Junction, Beatty and Lathrop Wells. Pahrump, the largest town in Nevada Silver Trails, is 60 miles west of Las Vegas on Nevada State Route 160 and is the shortest access from I-15 in Las Vegas to the main park facilities at Furnace Creek.
There are many more local state and county paved roads in the territory, not to mention hundreds of miles of gravel and dirt roads, so be sure to check out the interactive map or download the state map on this web site and/or stop at any of the information centers in the state to pick up an official map. The state also publishes a map book that includes all the roads, including 4-wheel drive. The majority of the most scenic and interesting destinations can only be accessed from the back roads, but be careful, have emergency equipment and plenty of gas and water. There is a lot of empty country out there and signs have a way disappearing, so have maps, guide books and a gps that isn’t dependent on local cell towers.