Yerington, Nevada

Yerington, Nevada

There are many small western towns on the map that are not looked upon as being primary vacation destinations, but they are still worth checking out while doing a long drive.  When touring the old two lane highways in the west, the small towns that are overlooked by travel brochures usually offer a chance to break away from the modern world and a little something can be gained in doing so.  The small towns usually have a good restaurant where the locals go and there are opportunities to do some shopping for unique items that cannot be found back home.  The small towns often have historic sites and old buildings that have stories to tell.  Community pride is easy to see in small western communities and there are usually weekend festivals that are worth attending.  Taking the time to experience the small towns along the long stretches of open road in the west certainly can enhance the vacation experience!

Highway 95 is the main travel route between Las Vegas, Carson City and Reno, but this long road rarely sees heavy traffic in this modern age, because it is actually cheaper to book an air flight than is is to drive.  Many tourists explore the scenic destinations along this long stretch of road, so it is a Great Basin Desert tourism corridor. The historic towns of Beatty, Goldfield and Tonopah are popular destinations along this road during the first half of the long drive and there are more interesting places waiting to be discovered during the second half of the trip into west central Nevada.  Highway 95 branches west as Alternate Highway 95 near Walker Lake and the Walker River Paiute Reservation.  This alternate route runs through the lush green farm country that lies just east of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, so this setting is as picturesque as can be!  This is where the historic town of Yerington can be found, which is well worth noting when doing the drive!

 The Carson River winds its way through this region and where there is water in the Great Basin Desert, history was made.  Buckland’s Station and Fort Churchill are historic sites that are located near Yerington and these old west destinations definitely have some stories to tell.  The Grimes Point Archaeological Site and Lahontan State Recreation Area are also close by, so it is easy to plan a lengthy excursion in this region that many mainstream tourists simply overlook.  

The little farm and ranch community of Yerington is a good place to fill the belly with food and stock up on goods before spending a long day exploring the great outdoors in this region. The main street area of Yerington is like many other small towns along old western travel routes that have adapted an artisan theme.  The main street area businesses in Yerington now cater to outdoor sportsmen and tourists that have plenty of time on their hands to do some shopping for antiques, local works of art and hand crafted goods. In fact, antique and old wild west artifact hunting is a prime tourism activity in the entire Carson City region, so one might say that you will find the cherished items that you seek in this place!  

The lush green farm and ranch country surrounding Yerington definitely is easy on the eyes after traveling hundreds of miles through the harsh Great Basin Desert landscape.  The high Sierra Nevada Mountains in the background create a majestic backdrop that is like no other.  Old cottonwood trees provide plenty of welcome shade in this oasis, so this is definitely a good place to slow down to enjoy the ride!  

The Yerington farm and ranch country has a few interesting sites that one may or may not expect to see out west.  Yerington is the county seat, so this town is the home of the Lyon County Fairgrounds and Rodeo, which takes place during the summer season.  Much to the delight of sportsmen, signs advertising outdoor adventure guides and hunting lodges can be seen just about everywhere.  Deer, elk and game bird hunting is good in this region, so Yerington is a nice choice for kicking off an outdoor adventure.

As far as the unexpected is concerned, a Yerington visitor may not know what to think when laying eyes on the gigantic palace mansion that is built on a big green cattle ranch just outside of town on U.S. 95A.  What is interesting is that the this palace incorporates classic Roman, Medieval and Gothic elements into the architectural design.  The classic European looking palace actually is a working ranch house, which is complete with a horse corral that is adorned with tall Roman stone columns.  The history of this property dates back well over a century, but it was the Masini family that expanded the cattle ranching business.  One of the Masini family members owned a local casino, so it is easy to see why the ranch house has such a lavish design.  The Masini Ranch covers a lot of ground in this territory and the owners recently made the evening news by setting aside plenty of habitat acreage for the endangered Sage Grouse.  The Masini Ranch House is an occupied private property, but pictures can be taken of this magnificent spread from the roadside.

All around Yerington there are abandoned old buildings from a bygone era that are a natural for photographers to capture dramatic images of.  Some are old decomposing farm buildings from the late 1800s and some are old businesses that are leftover from the golden age of automobile travel.  The sun scorched timber buildings and old business signs do present some good camera clicking opportunities and the sign at Linda’s Wabuska Bar definitely is a classic that will get some giggles from friends back home! The Bait Farm Saloon Karaoke sign a little further down the road is another oddity that is worth taking a look at too!

Taking the road less traveled is the same thing as taking the scenic route and those who tour the entire length Highway 95 through the Great Basin Desert will be locked into a scenic drive mode for a few days.  When doing this long drive, there is no pressure and there is no stress.  This old road beckons tourists to take their sweet time to explore whatever spurs their interest along the way.  Unlike when traveling on a major interstate super highway, pulling off the side of the road on an old byway to take a few pictures of something interesting is okay to do.  Old Highway 95 can keep a traveler busy with many worthwhile activities, especially when visiting small towns like Yerington on the way to wherever the compass points!                 


Author: wildwestdestinations

I worked as a chef in remote resorts and National Parks, which provided the time to explore western travel destinations. I have a BA Degree in Culinary Management with high honors and currently I am working on a Masters Degree in Adult Education. My food and travel blog writing began as a means to generate income during college and now photo journalism has become my lifestyle.

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