Ely is a small town in Eastern Nevada that holds a lot of history from the state’s mining and railway days. The town itself was founded as a stagecoach station along the Pony Express, and the railway there has been preserved as a heritage railway. Other than its interesting history, it also offers beautiful nature for any visitor to explore. Let’s check it out!
1. Travel back through time at the Nevada Northern Railway Museum
Steam Locomotive 40, 1910 - Official Locomotive for the State of Nevada and the Ghost Train of Old Ely. Photo by Jeff ScheidPosted by Nevada Northern Railway on Saturday, 6 September 2014
In Ely, you can take a train ride back in time. At the Nevada Northern Railway Museum, they offer several different regularly scheduled train rides aboard a 1900s-style train. The rides are 90 minutes long, and the museum also offers special night rides and themed rides for different occasions, such as the Polar Express during the winter time and a haunted ghost train near Halloween. The museum also includes a yard full of shops and several different hands-on adventures. Ticket prices vary depending on what activities you’d like to do, and the museum is open every day from 8 am to 5 pm.
Nevada Northern Railway Museum
Address: 1100 Ave A, Ely, NV 89301
Website: Nevada Northern Railway Museum
2. Learn the history of Ely’s county at the White Pine Public Museum
The White Pine Public Museum in Ely offers great insight into the rich, cultural past of White Pine County, in which Ely resides. The building offers attendees a look at their research and mineral collections, which are from White Pine’s earliest inhabitants - the Shoshone Indians, as well as the population that amassed during the 1800s gold rush. The outside of the museum itself also shows the first mural painted in Ely, which is of an Ely town street, and is titled “4th of July.” The museum is open 10 am to 4 pm every day.
White Pine Public Museum
Address: 2000 Aultman St, Ely, NV 89301
Website: White Pine Public Museum
3. Bring the kids to Steptoe Park
If you’re visiting Ely with kids in tow, Steptoe Park is a great place to let them explore while you take the time to relax. The park features six acres (2.4 hectares) and includes a playground, soccer field, pavilion and picnic area, and plenty of trees that provide shade. For a fun activity the whole family can enjoy, there’s also a .6 mile (1 km) walking trail - a great way to enjoy outdoor Ely while also getting a little bit of exercise.
Address: Avenue I, Ely, NV 89301
4. View the unique Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park
If Steptoe Park didn’t offer enough opportunity for hiking, Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park will surely fulfill your to-do list. In addition to a trail system, the Willow Creek available for fishing, and plenty of camping and picnic space, the park’s namesake and claim to fame are its six large charcoal ovens. They were originally built and used in the 1800s for silver ore that was mined in the area, but have since been retired and only used for touring. The ovens are truly a sight to see, and provide an experience unique to the park. The park is always open, but requires a 7 USD entrance fee.
Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park
Address: Ely, NV 89315
5. View more authentic history at the Ely Renaissance Village
The Ely Renaissance Village gives visitors an immersive experience within a village that Ely most likely resembled centuries ago. The village is made up of historic homes that have been restored, and the homes include authentic wood burning stoves, ice boxes, wringer washes and other items that would have been commonplace during older times. The village is especially authentic because each house reflects a different ethnicity, which is representative of the many different types of people that migrated to the area to work in the early 1900s. The different ethnicities include English, Greek, Slovakian, Asian, French and Spanish.
Along with the homes, there is also a miners’ cabin and general store, along with other mock businesses. Hosts at the village will take you on a guided tour for more descriptions of the historic culture and people, and they can answer any questions you might have. The village is open 1 pm to 4 pm on Fridays and 10 am to 4 pm on Saturdays.
Ely Renaissance Village
Address: 400 Ely Street, NV
Website: Ely Renaissance Village
6. Hunt for real mineral specimens at Garnet Hill
The Garnet Hill recreation area near Ely offers a very unique way to spend the day, reminiscent of the early 1900s when Ely’s population boomed because of those flocking to Nevada for gold. While you may not find any gold at Garnet Hill, you will find dark-colored garnet rocks that contain beautiful garnet gem stones.
You will have to break the garnet rocks open yourself in order to get to the gem stones, but the find will be very worth it, and you’ll be able to head home with a beautiful, free and natural souvenir. Once you’re tired out from hunting gems, you can also stay at the hill and view the open copper pit excavations or have a picnic and use the many barbecue pits.
Address: US-50 Ely, NV 89301
Website: Garnet Hill Recreation Area
7. Try doing some outdoor nature actvities at the Cave Lake State Park
For travelers who enjoy the outdoors, the Cave Lake State Park is the place to see. This topnotch recreational park is 32-acres big and is a reservoir that welcomes guests to go fishing and boating among others. In the summer, guests can go camping, hiking, fishing, and boating with equipment and gear they can rent out. During the colder months, visitors can attempt to go snowmobiling, ice fishing, skating, and even cross-country skiing. The Cave Lake State Park is a must-see when traveling in groups and with children to further explore the beautiful greenery and nature at Cave Lake State Park.
Cave Lake State Park
Address: Ely, NV 89315, P.O, BOX 151761
Website: Cave Lake State Park
Opening hours: 12:00 AM to 12:00 PM (daily)
Price: 5 USD
8. See the wonderful exhibits at East Ely Railroad Depot Museum
Grab the chance to see the East Ely Railroad Depot Museum and see the best and most prolific exhibits and galleries, Established in 1905, this landmark draws guests to see what the railroads were like in the 1900s and then into the Depot museum where guests will feel like they’re time traveling back in time to the where general offices of the railroad are visible and preserved. Just across the Depot museum is the Nevada Northern Railway Foundation which will allow guests to book tours and get a more in-depth look at the shops, and facilities of the historic railroad.
East Ely Railroad Depot Museum
Address: 1100 Ave A Ely, NV 89301 US
Website: East Ely Railroad Depot Museum
Opening hours: 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM, Mondays to Fridays; 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Saturdays to Sundays
Price: free admission for museum members;
Ely offers a unique, historical getaway
Ely, Nevada is the place to visit if you’re looking for a unique trip full of history and nature. The town’s mining and railroad history means it was developed with a vibrant cultural diversity and contains a number of historical landmarks, such as the old train and interesting charcoal ovens. Since there’s so much to do, it’s a prime spot for solo travelers as well as families.
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