TOP 10 Reasons Lander County
is a Great Place to Visit

Land and lots of it. Starry skies. Rides that will take you in unforeseen directions…and modes of travel. By yourself, or with friends, feeling the murmuring breeze in the cottonwood (and birch, pinyon and aspen) trees of Lander County, Nevada. Travelers will never feel fenced in as they ply the highways and byways of Battle Mountain, Austin, Kingston and all points in between.  Here are the Top 10 Reasons to discover Lander County’s Hidden Treasures.


1. Some of the darkest night skies in the U.S. 

Land and lots of it. Starry skies. Rides that will take you in unforeseen directions…and modes of travel. By yourself, or with friends, feeling the murmuring breeze in the cottonwood (and birch, pinyon and aspen) trees of Lander County, Nevada. Travelers will never feel fenced in as they ply the highways and byways of Battle Mountain, Austin, Kingston and all points in between.  Here are the Top 10 Reasons to discover Lander County’s Hidden Treasures.

2. Soak Your Troubles Away 

Big Smoky Valley looks even bigger while soaking at Spencers Hot Springs. Improved over the years with human ingenuity, the biggest pond is about 140 degrees of “ahhhhh!!!!” with awe inspiring views of the Toiyabe Range to the west and the Toquima Range to the east. Pools are separated for a bit of privacy. Dry camping on soft sand. Please pack out what you pack in. Spencers is located on public land off SR376, just east of the junction to Highway 50. Watch for the turn-off near mile marker 99, take the dirt road approximately 10 miles. The Springs are to your left. Here’s the lowdown for your soak down http://travelnevada.com/discover/leisure/spencer-hot-springs

3. Rock on to Some Rock Art

Nevada’s basically covered in ancient graffiti, some of which dates back as far as 14,800 years, give or take a few hundred. Just 24 miles east of Austin on the north side of Highway 50, Hickison Summit features some more recent petroglyphs, 500-1,000 years old, that are viewed with an easy. Self-guided half-mile trail that loops through sagebrush, junipers, and piñon pines from the parking area and campground past dozens of these enigmatic carved figures. Dry campsites with shade structures and vault toilets provide a nice overnight respite from your adventures on America’s Loneliest Highway. More info on these remarkable rock engravings can be found here http://travelnevada.com/discover/history-culture/hickison-petroglyph-recreation-area. Like your rock art painted on? A short drive south of Hickison Summit are the Toquima Caves with a dry campground http://www.onlinenevada.org/articles/toquima-cave

4) History . . . and not from some old textbook 

Main Street Austin is a living document of the mining culture that created Nevada. Restaurants, B & Bs, gift shops featuring local gems and minerals, along with a few fine watering holes occupy the stone buildings. Some of the oldest churches west of the Mississippi are still standing, in a city that once had 10,000 residents, including St. Augustine’s which is being re-purposed as a Central Nevada Cultural and Community Center. A nifty visitor center is on Main Street and there are maps to the old Pony Express Stations along Highway 50 at the County building or Austin Museum. An easy bike or simple drive to Stokes Castle west of town offers an iconic Great Basin view. Get your head out of that book and plan your visit here http://austinnevada.com/

5) Going Mobile Without the Traffic 

Need for speed?  Lander County has a variety of wheeled adventures. The Shoshone Off-Highway Vehicle Trails System straddles peaks of more than 8,000 feet. The well-marked, family-friendly trails travel through wild horse country about 25 minutes south of Battle Mountain.

Like to watch people with huge legs go fast? Check out the World Human Powered Speed Challenge and its bullet-shaped bikes from around the world every September. Highway 305 will also take you to Austin where there are 10 well-marked mountain bike trails that skedaddle all around town, hook up with the campsites at Bob Scott Summit and travel blithely through the Toiyabe Range. Want to ride like the wind? Smith Creek Valley Playa hosted the world championship land sailing competition and can certainly shiver your timbers with perfect wind conditions.

6) Sporting Endeavors  

Lander County is a gateway to a great adventure and if you’re a sporting huntsman or woman the opportunities are amazing. Mule deer, pronghorn antelope and California bighorn sheep are just some of the large game species managed by the Department of Wildlife and harvested through a lottery-tag system. Small stream fishing along the Toiyabe Range requires stealth, and if you like float tube fishing, Willow Creek Reservoir south of Battle Mountain and Groves Lake at 7400 feet up Kingston Canyon are sublime. The first weekend every November, Battle Mountain hosts the annual Chukar Tournament and Feed that features day of chasing the elusive bird and an evening of great food, fun and fantastic prizes, like a UTV so you won’t get skunked again next year.

7) Unplug. Detach. Relax.

Nevada has 300 mountain ranges, and Lander County has a few of the most spectacular “Islands in the Sky” the Great Basin has to offer. The Toiyabe Range and its 72 mile Toiyabe Crest Trail is the ultimate in self-sufficient solace as it travels through the Arc Dome Wilderness. The northern  trail head is at Kingston Canyon where you can spy Lander’s highest peak, Bunker Hill at 11,743 feet. Not the backpacking type? Near Battle Mountain good gravel roads give great access to the desert oasis of Lewis Canyon, Crum Canyon-Hilltop Drive or Mill Creek Canyon. Stop by the Convention Center in Battle Mountain and we’ll show you where to unplug.

8) The ’75 Pacer is THE Most Awesome Car….EVER

All autos are welcome every August, even Wayne and Garth’s mirth mobile, at one of the finest and fun-est high desert auto extravaganzas, the Battle Mountain Burners Car Show. The all-around party at Elquist Park in Battle Mountain features some of the region’s top hot rods;  from classy coups and pony cars, to rat rods and classic motorcycles. The Burners’ activities include a beer garden, food vendors and a drive-in movie after the show Saturday night…bring your lawn chairs. Throw in kids games all day, like Hot Wheels races, potato sack races, hula hoop contest, coloring contest, and free swimming, plus raffle prizes , and DJ music all day. Party On!

9) Rest your feet, sit a spell and get some culture.

The town of Battle Mountain began as a railroad station in 1869 and quickly became a hospitable  stop for transcontinental railroad and highway travelers, morphing into a mining and ranching center. The Battle Mountain Cookhouse Museum celebrates this resilient town, preserving regional history with artifact displays, educational presentations and traveling  cultural exhibits. A one-room historical library and center for many events — like the local wine walks — makes the old cookhouse from the 25 Ranch a nice place to mosey into, right off Interstate 80 at the corner of Burns Street and Broyles Ranch Road. Find out more here http://battlemountainmuseum.com/

10) Things That Go Boom 

Steven and Earl Cassorla are legends of pyrotechnics and you can find them at Roller Coaster Fireworks in Battle Mountain. Mortars, crackers, ground effects, the infamous Neighbor Hater and strange things you have never seen before, but have to light and step way back from.  (Only in legal-designated areas).  Take a trip through fireworks history. Stop, talk, learn and savor the latent smell of gun powder. Admire America’s largest, titanium flash firecracker…because they invented it, named it Roller Coaster and put their faces on the wrapper.

Visit them just off the I-80/Broad Street exit.

 

 

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