Serving as a major economic centre for the Ruby Valley, Elko lies along the historic California Trail in northern Nevada. In addition to being an important mining and ranching hub, it has been nicknamed the “Swiss Alps of Nevada” due to its hiking, skiing and stunning alpine lakes.
Things to do in Elko
Dedicated to the history, culture and landscape of the American West is the Western Folklife Center, which occupies the early 20th-century Pioneer Building. It was the site of the first saloon in Elko, which has been recreated complete with its mahogany and cherry wood bar. The Western Folklife Center regularly hosts theatrical performances and musical concerts, as well as the annual Cowboy Poetry Festival.
Also not to miss is the Northeastern Nevada Museum, which houses exhibits dedicated to native wildlife, regional artwork and Elko’s mining and ranching industries. Step into an early 20th-century kitchen and admire the Shoshone baskets on display, alongside beautiful beadwork by the Paiute people. Kids will love the Wanamaker Wildlife exhibit with its taxidermied animals from Nevada’s Great Basin region.
Hugging the banks of the Humboldt River is a leisurely walking trail and leafy park with a children’s playground and an off-leash dog area. Train enthusiasts shouldn’t miss a visit to Elko Railroad Park, where you’ll find a vintage water tower and diesel locomotive that you can clamber atop. In Main City Park are sporting courts and grassy lawns for picnicking or watching the annual hot air balloon festival.
Getting around Elko
Elko Regional Airport is a five-minute drive from the city centre and has regular flights to Salt Lake City. Trains connect from Chicago and Emeryville to the Elko railway station while the town centre is compact enough to explore on foot.