Elko, Nevada is known as “the Heart of Northeast Nevada,” and is the largest city and county seat of Elko County. Elko lies along the historic California Trail, the 2,000-mile emigrant trail that was used by about 250,000 emigrants between 1841 and 1869.
The National Historic Trail went alongside the Humboldt River and at the time was a necessary evil. As historian Dale Morgan notes, “The most necessary river of America and the most hated.” Though it was inhabited with insects and mud, the river provided water across 300 miles of desert and led pioneers directly toward the California Gold Rush.
When staying with us, you can visit some of these landmarks that our American pioneers saw on their Manifest Destiny journey and experience some of the greatest Elko, NV history.
Located at 1515 Idaho St., Elko, NV, you can see an original log building that was used by the Pony Express. The museum also houses Western art and photography, exhibits on the Paiute and Shoshone Indians, and guns and saddles, as well as information on the California Trail. The museum aims to provide diverse exhibits and comprehensive archives and collections.
The museum is open Tuesday – Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from 1 – 5 p.m.
Admission fees: Adults (ages 18 – 65) is $5, seniors (65+) and students (ages 13 – 18) is $3, children (ages 3 – 12) are $1, and children under three are free. There is free admission on the last Sunday of the month.
Located at 1 Trail Center Way, Elko, NV, this visitor center houses exhibits, original Western art, and encampments. The encampments show what life was like on the trail with covered wagons, tents, and handcarts. Contrast that with the replication of the Shoshone Summer Camp with shade houses or also known as boho bahknee. The encampments give you a real life example of life on the trail with demonstrations and reenactments.
The center is open year-round, excluding Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day, Wednesday – Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The center operates on a non-profit status and accepts donations through The California Trail Center Foundation.
See the Western appeal our ancestors saw by taking a free gold mine tour. Tours are offered the second Thursday of every month from April – October from 9 a.m. to noon. The Elko tour visits the Carlin Trend Mine.
Please note that each participant will be required to sign a waiver and attend a safety meeting prior to the tour. Long pants and closed toe shoes are also required and sandals, tank tops, and shorts are not permitted at the site.
About an hour from the Ramada Elko Hotel and Casino is the town of Tuscarora which is almost a ghost town and an excellent trip back in time. Currently, the Tuscarora Pottery School is located here and ran by potter Dennis Parks.
The town was a mining camp and peaked in the late 1800s. Now, you can visit the historic buildings, a museum, and cemetery to see what life looked like during the mining era of Nevada.