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Elyse Palmer (back row, second from right)

WHEN MOST people think of Nevada, the first thing that usually comes to mind is the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas.

From the flashing lights to the world-class shows, its generally the stop that’s included on most travel itineraries to the United States.

However, on my recent Travel Nevada top seller’s trip, I discovered that if you step off the beaten path and explore, the Silver State has so much more to offer.

After travelling in premium economy style with American Airlines from Sydney to Reno, the eco-conscious Peppermill Resort and Casino was our home for two nights.

On our first full day we headed off from Reno to explore the historic old town of Virginia City where we enjoyed a guided city tour and the underground adventure of Ponderosa Mine.

In the afternoon we travelled to Carson City, the capital of Nevada, where we were greeted by High Sierra Pack Goats who chaperoned us for a hike along the Prison Hill Trail.

Winding through the sage and a few juniper trees, the trail provided us with great views of the desert and highlighted how vast Nevada really is.

The following day we hit the wide open road and headed along route 50. This was voted the loneliest road in America, but luckily we did have our American country tunes to keep us company.

We made our way to the city of Fallon via Geona, the oldest permanent settlement in Nevada. Here we experienced ATV rides along the dunes of Sand Mountain.

This is a giant, six-storey structure made entirely of sand which sits right in the middle of the desert landscape and is also one of the only ‘singing’ sand dunes in the world.

After breaking a sweat on the ATVs, we headed to Frey Ranch Distillery to wet our whiskers with their delicious, soul warming whiskeys and to learn about their award-winning distilling techniques that make Frey Ranch farmers one of the world’s premier grain to glass operations.

We all made a few purchases…just to support the local community, of course!

The following day it was time to hit that wide open road again. From Fallon, we drove to the town of Lovelock visiting the Safe Haven Wildlife Sanctuary which provides rehabilitation and lifelong care for wild animals in need.

Continuing to our overnight destination of the city of Elko, we stopped via the California Trail Interpretive Center to learn more about the pioneering history of Nevada and American Indian heritage.

Lacing up our hiking boots, we next stretched our legs and trekked to Lamoille Canyon situated in the largest valley in the Ruby Mountains.

Known as the “Grand Canyon” of Nevada, the scenery was stunning and we had an unexpected snow fight before retreating to Elko to defrost and relax for the evening.


We then made our way to Angel Lake. Located in the Humboldt Toiyabe National Forest and flanked by glacial cirques, Angel Lake is well worth the detour for the more adventurous traveller.

Continuing our road trip, we arrived in West Wendover, a border city located on the state line of Nevada and Utah.

Here we visited the historic Airfield Museum, which offers an extraordinary insight into the events of the Second World War while preserving the past and educating the future.

The museum has a collection of artifacts and photographs and maintains original building features along with a full-scale replica of the “Little Boy” atomic bomb.

It has been the backdrop for multiple Hollywood movies including Independence Day and Con Air. It was a great way to spend the morning and to learn more about aviation and military history.

As we continued to make our way to Salt Lake City, our final stop was at the famous Nevada salt flats before arriving at the airport and checking in for our flight back to Australia.

Rich in history, diverse culture and home to a variety of natural wonders, these are just some of the reasons why taking some extra time to explore the wider Nevada state is well worth the adventure.

Frey Ranch Distillery