The Loneliest Road in America

On our way home from Reno on our road trip this past July, we ended up taking a road I had never heard of before. We saw that we were going to be taking a route called Highway 50 for a few hundred miles. At first, I honestly didn’t think twice about it. I thought that this would just be another road, same as any other.

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Highway 50 actually stretches across the entire United States, from California to Maryland. It is 3,008 miles (4,841 km) long. As we were entering the highway, we saw a sign that said “Highway 50, The Loneliest Road in America.” This was a little unexpected to see, but I was excited to see if it actually lived up to the name. It turned out that this “normal” road just might turn out to be another highlight of our trip.

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The stretch that we were on has nine small towns, two abandoned mining camps, and several mountain ranges.

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The first things that I noticed was that it is a two-lane road. The second thing I noticed was that there was basically no one around.

Apparently, a long time ago it was said to avoid this road; however, I am really glad that I had the experience.

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There was so much beautiful scenery around that it was hard to get bored for a long time. We would occasionally go through a very small town, where to usuallyΒ 80mph speed limit would slow down to around 20mph. The towns would last for less than 5 minutes, so if you are ever on this road and think you need to stop, you might want to take the opportunity.

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After a few hours, I started to notice that the distant ground looked really white. I eventually realized that we were in Utah, and these were salt flats. Being pretty excited about this, we pulled over at a random gravel road and drove over to the flats.

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We began to walk out on the flats. The ground at first was how you would expect, really flat and hard. After a couple of minutes, the ground started to get softer. Before we knew it, we were up to our ankles in this very sticky gray clay material. It was quite hard to get out of, but we finally made our way back to the car.

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Seeing as there was no town around, we wiped off our feet the best we could and had to wait until we got to a gas station around an hour later to really get the already drying clay off.

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There were also many, many pull-offs on the road. There were no services on these pull-offs, but the views were always amazing.

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All in all, I quite enjoyed this road. Don’t expect to see many people, and if you were to break down it may take a while for assistance to arrive, but I would definitely drive on this road again oneΒ day if only for the views.

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Would you take this road given the opportunity, or do you prefer civilization?

-Haley

79 thoughts on “The Loneliest Road in America

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  1. Yes, I have taken many trips on highway 50 through Nevada. My family frequents Nevada for exploration and adventures. There are plenty of ghost and old mining towns to visit along the way, and quite a bit of American Gold Mining history. Thank you for sharing those phenomenal pictures. Where were you headed?

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    1. That’s awesome! It is such an interesting area to drive through. We were actually leaving the Reno area and headed back to Knoxville, TN. I’m so thankful that we got to experience this road! I’d actually love to drive on it again one day.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, what gorgeous views! I think I drove on a little stretch of it a few years ago between Vegas and Phoenix, but I can’t recall exactly. There are a lot of lonely roads in the high desert, it turns out. Now I want to go on a road trip!

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      1. How odd that you couldn’t leave a comment – were you on WordPress Reader? I think you have to go to my site itself to leave a comment. Thanks for visiting! πŸ™‚

        Like

  3. There’s definite big-time romanticism associated with driving road trips. Many years ago, a friend and I drove across Canada from Vancouver to Ottawa. The drive took 7 days with various stop. At a distance of over 4400 kilometres (2700 miles), the length of the trip only covers about two-thirds of the country. Also, on separate trips over a span of years, I’ve essentially driven the entire length of the north-south I-5 along the western United States. I’d like to spend more time driving a number of (famous) highways throughout the U.S.

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  4. Hi Haley,

    This is both eerie and fascinating too.

    Love it.

    Because here in NJ, we see so few truly uninhabited areas, in the most population dense state in the US. 12 million people, and you get from top to bottom via car in 3 hours. Yikes.

    We did experience solitude when staying in a remote Costa Rican jungle 2 years ago. Relaxing, peaceful and maddening by the time the 6 week house sit expired. Loneliness and doing the same 2 things daily drove me batty.

    Thanks for sharing Haley.

    Ryan

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ryan,
      I’ve had the pleasure of visiting New Jersey twice so far, and I’ve really enjoyed it! I find that I enjoy both really populated areas as well as areas with literally no one. I think I like just how different they are from one another.

      I can’t imagine staying in a jungle in Costa Rica! I would totally do it, because I bet that was a one of a kind experience (even if it did get old after 6 weeks!) πŸ™‚

      Haley

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  5. Love your photos and descriptions! The only part of Hwy50 I’ve been on is from Sacramento, CA to South Lake Tahoe. Stunning, beautiful trip over the pass anytime of year. Winter can be an adventure because of mudslides and snow on the two-lane winding highway ;-). Love your blog. Following!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow! Beautiful pictures!
    I got the traveling bug at a young age. My family moved over 60 times before I was 14. We covered territory from California to Georgia and back again.
    I married a military man and thought we’d move a lot. However, in his almost 25 years of service, we only had 2 actual moves. We had a few temporary duty assignments (TDY), but no actual moves, go figure! Ironic, to say the least.
    I’m looking forward to going through your blog and enjoying your travels and pictures!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for liking β€œLuna’s.” Nice post! I went to Reno or Lake Tahoe with my parents a long time ago, so I probably traveled down Highway 50 at least part of the way on that trip. However, it was winter when I went there. The landscape looks so different without snow! I enjoyed seeing the beautiful scenery on this lonely stretch of highway during the summer. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. The winter scenery was beautiful, but the snow made it difficult to see most of the of the rock formations and trees near the road.

        Like you, I have not seen much snow in my life. However, I do not mind because I do not think I would enjoy driving in the snow. πŸ˜€

        Thank you for following my blog. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  8. You made me quite nostalgic of my road trip in New Mexico all the way back in 2010 — so, thank you for that πŸ™‚ I’d been living in New Jersey for a couple of years at the time, so it was especially shocking to drive through such empty two-lane highways much like the ones you describe in your post — we almost ran out of fuel, not realizing the next gas station north of Roswell wouldn’t come in another 70 miles!! — we were already well into the reserve when we finally reached it :p

    Thank you for visiting my blog — i’m glad you enjoyed my Grams of Inspiration, and hope you’ll come back for more — they’re published every Thursday, and you can also sign up for our mailing list if you want to get them delivered straight to your inbox a couple of days earlier πŸ˜‰

    Cheers,
    Mika

    Liked by 1 person

  9. We drove this road in the late 1980s. It is lonely as they say and has some very intriguing scenery. The minor paved state highways in Nevada (such as NV 375) are even lonelier with less auto traffic. It is almost like being in another world at times.

    Liked by 1 person

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