A delightful mix of history, Old West cordiality, and modern conveniences, this booming town has a frontier energy all its own. And everything you could need or want from a vacation destination.
In the spectacular snow-capped Ruby Mountains, described by many as Nevada's Alps, you'll find unparalleled hiking, fishing, trail riding and heli-skiing in one of the most breathtaking settings in the world.
Elko is a remarkably interesting city which has spent the past 20 years being discovered and rediscovered by the world.
A welcoming home to everyone from mining executives to cowboy poets, Elko was a substantial Nevada city even before the
gold mining boom of the late 1980s and '90s, but since then its population has swelled to nearly 30,000 (including residents of its bedroom community, Spring Creek).
The gold boom brought more than people to Elko. It also brought the national and international press, with articles on the city appearing in the Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, USA Today, and other major
publications. Its wildly successful Cowboy Poetry Gathering saw buckaroo bards extolling Elko on the Tonight Show. In 1992, Elko was named Best Small Town in America, a designation it quickly outgrew. Very
few towns, anywhere, have had to adapt to growth and change and notoriety as quickly as has Elko.
There is more to do in Elko than in many cities twice its size. Your first stop should be the Elko Chamber of Commerce on main-drag Idaho Street, which is itself the city's newest tourist attraction. The Chamber offices are located at the
historic Sherman Station complex. A massive, log-hewn ranch house trucked into town from a nearby rural valley, Sherman Station has been carefully restored and remodeled, not just for the Chamber but also for businesses which have located in the rustic buildings that once served as stable,
creamery and blacksmith shop. The friendly Chamber staff will point you to the myriad of attractions around town, the first of which is just a block or so east on Idaho Street.
The Northeastern Nevada Museum, one of the finest small museums in the West. The
Wannamaker Wildlife Wing is a taxidermist's dream, the extensive array of big game animals are displayed beneath a massive mural - an attraction all by itself -
depicting mountains and sky. The museum has one of the largest collections of Will James western art and books in the world.
Just a couple of blocks north of the museum is the modern 50,000 square foot Elko Convention Center, which hosts a wide variety of events year-round, including the Elko Mining Expo, and the fabled Cowboy Poetry Gathering.
The world-renowned event is planned in the heart of downtown Elko, at the Western Folklife Center, quartered in the historic old Pioneer Hotel building. The Folklife Center's always-interesting art gallery is a must-see, and its bright gift shop is the perfect place to find unique gift items for the buckaroos back home.
The culture of the Basques - that hardy breed that flourished in the Pyrenees between Spain and France and came to America to herd sheep - is as prevalent as the Cowboy Way around Elko. Your stay isn't complete without Basque family-style dining at the Star, Toki Onoa, Biltoki, or the Nevada Dinner House. Getting to know the Basques truly is getting to know hospitality.
And this is just scratching the surface of Elko. You'll want to visit its bustling, historic county courthouse, golf its two eminently challenging courses, and take a side-trip to old Lamoille, as peaceful and pastoral a place as you'll ever find.
Lamoille is the starting point for your trek into the Ruby Mountains, a towering range fabled as the Alps of Nevada, and where the scenery is absolutely breathtaking. A not-overly-strenuous hike takes you up to several Alpine lakes where snow still covers the ground in
high summer, and where the photographic opportunities are limitless.
There is also no limit to the hunting, fishing, boating and camping opportunities surrounding Elko. Drop in at the Nevada Department of Wildlife offices at 60 Youth Center Road (1 1/2 miles past DMV on old Hwy 40) for the latest information on this sportsman's paradise.
It's mineral riches, its ranching heritage, and its spiraling growth make Elko one of the most fascinating cities in the American West. A true vacation destination, it will take a long vaction to experience all it has to offer.