Windshield Overview Let's Hit the Road

"Follow the Water!"
Everything circles back to that precious word.

Water is the primary reason for Interstate 80's most direct route across the state. As you enter Nevada from the west, the Truckee River is an immediate sight to behold. Over the course of your journey, water fades into the depths of the desert. That is, until you meet the Humboldt - perhaps the cruelest joke ever played on westbound emigrants, yet ironically, a dependable avenue through an otherwise barren landscape. These two lifelines became the two vital transportation corridors sought by California-bound emigrants in 1846. By 1849, everybody knew to "follow the water" en route to the gold fields. Weary travelers were immediately met with triple-fold problems, among these were thirst and starvation due to Nevada's harsh climate. If the Sierras weren't enough, Nevada and the Great Basin were equally formidable barriers between them and the goldfields! It's safe to say that both of these rivers saved thousands of lives on the journey.

Today, the 80 hugs the paths of the Truckee and Humboldt Rivers. Except for the mandatory pit stop, or quick bite to eat, few people ever retreat away from it. To many, Interstate 80 IS Nevada, with "nothing" in between Reno and Salt Lake City. The 80 traverses a rather staid, monotonous route across the state. It lacks the exciting roller-coasting mountain crossings of US 50 and the eye-popping scenery changings of US 93. Remember -- this is an Interstate, designed to get from Point A to Point B as quickly as possible. So then, how you enjoy a route that is designed to bypass everything of interest? Simple. Retreating off the interstate. And we have the formula to do so!

Interstate 80

Windshield Overview

Total Mileage: 408 miles
  • with detours: 723 miles

Begin: Verdi, NV.
End: Wendover, UT.
Recommended Driving Time: 7-8 days
Counties: Washoe, Storey, Lyon, Churchill, Pershing, Humboldt, Lander, Eureka, Elko
Verdi, Reno, Sparks, Wadsworth, Fernley, Lovelock, Imlay-Mill City, Unionville, Winnemucca, Golconda, Midas, Tuscarora, Battle Mountain, Carlin, Elko, Lamoille, Tuscarora, Mountain City, Owyhee, Jarbidge, Murphy's Hot Springs (ID), Rogerson (ID), Wells, Montello, West Wendover, Wendover (UT)

Historic Markers on this trip (with detours): 35

Let's Hit the Road

Ruby Mountains

Detours in Detail

Pyramid Lake

Total Mileage (One-way): 38.3 miles
• SR 447 from Wadsworth to Nixon
• SR 446 from Nixon to Warrior Point

Lamoille Canyon National Scenic Byway

Total Mileage (Round trip): 28 miles
• Lamoille to Ruby Crest Trailhead

Elko County Outback

Total Mileage (Total trip mileages): 243.5 miles
• SR 225 from Elko to Owyhee
• SR 226 and the Maggie Summit Road
• Elko County Route 746/748 to Jarbidge and Rogerson, ID.

Let's Hit the Road