Efficient Things to Do in Ely, Nevada

Ely is a small, charming town with a lot to offer. It’s brimming with critical pieces of western culture, from towering mountain peaks to bustling saloons to railroad relics. And despite its slow pace, you’ll find local entertainment and activities for you to enjoy. Ely may not have that many things to do, but those it does offer are worthwhile—and the town is certainly picturesque.

Ely offers a range of activities for visitors of all ages and interests. Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or a relaxing getaway, Ely has something to offer.

Things to Do in Ely, Nevada

Here are some of the top things to do in Ely, Nevada:

  1. Great Basin National Park – Take in the natural beauty of Great Basin National Park, located just a short drive from Ely. Hike through the park to see the ancient Bristlecone Pine trees and visit the Lehman Caves.
  2. Nevada Northern Railway – Take a step back in time and experience the thrill of a steam-powered train ride through the beautiful Nevada countryside. The Nevada Northern Railway offers regular excursions for visitors to enjoy.
  3. White Pine Public Museum – Explore the history of Ely and White Pine County at the White Pine Public Museum. This museum is dedicated to preserving the area’s rich history and offers a range of exhibits and interactive displays.
  4. Ely Renaissance Village – Immerse yourself in the history of Ely at the Ely Renaissance Village. This outdoor museum is dedicated to preserving the history of Ely and the surrounding area, focusing on the Renaissance era.
  5. Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park – Visit the Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park to see the six beehive-shaped ovens used to produce charcoal in the late 1800s.

Nevada Northern Railway Museum

Nevada Northern Railway Museum is located in a historic depot in Ely, Nevada. Situated on a 56-acre campus, the museum is a tribute to the history of the Nevada Northern Railroad.

The museum offers several fun rides and experiences. For instance, visitors can ride on a real working 19th-century steam locomotive or experience a phantom train. There are also numerous historic buildings on the campus.

Best places to visit in Ely Nevada Northern Railway Museum
Best places to visit in Ely, Nevada Northern Railway Museum

One of the best parts of the Nevada Northern Railway Museum is that it offers guests a chance to operate a historic steam locomotive. This is one of the few places visitors can use a vintage steam locomotive.

Besides operating the locomotives, the museum also offers visitors a chance to participate in many other hands-on activities. These include restoration and operation of the railway’s historical equipment. In addition, the museum hosts an impressive number of events.

Central Theater

The Central Theater in Ely, Nevada, is an art deco-style movie theater with a few modern additions. It’s been around since 1941 and served as Ely’s most prominent movie house until February 1993. It still shows first-run movies on weekdays and Saturday matinees.

Places to go in Ely - Central Theatre
Places to go in Ely – Central Theatre

It’s got a modern sound system, and the owner is working on restoring the original evaporative cooling system. But, of course, it’s not the only movie theater in town. And in the age of cable TV, it’s not the only way to watch the latest blockbuster.

There’s also a tiny bar where you can get a pint. On the other hand, you can’t go wrong with a fresh slice of pizza. For those looking for a more sophisticated treat, you’ll be pleased to know that the theater offers double seats, or you can opt for an open-boxed dinner.

White Pine Public Museum

The White Pine Public Museum is located in Ely, Nevada. It has a great collection of mineral specimens, artifacts, and clothing. There are also displays of Native American, railroad, and mining history.

Places to visit in Ely - White Pine Public Museum
Places to visit in Ely – White Pine Public Museum

The Great Basin Heritage Area Partnership manages the museum. It is well-planned and contains a wealth of historical memorabilia. This museum is open from 10:00 to 4:00 on weekdays and closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

In the early 1900s, Ely, Nevada, was a small town. At the time, it was a stop for the Pony Express, a stagecoach line that moved packages from one city to another. Riders would travel 75 to 100 miles a day. They had to change mounts and take different rides to get where they wanted.

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Great Basin National Park

Great Basin National Park is located in eastern Nevada near the Utah border. The park has many limestone caves, groves of ancient bristlecone pines, and abundant wildlife. Moreover, the park features night skies.

There are four campgrounds within the park. One is open year-round, while others are only open during summer. Call the visitor center to book a spot in one of these campgrounds. You can also find boondocking spots and primitive camping areas.

Wheeler Peak and Stella Lake, Great Basin National Park - Things to do in Ely
Wheeler Peak and Stella Lake, Great Basin National Park – Things to do in Ely

Great Basin National Park contains 77180 acres of federal land. Its total area is 121 square miles. The park protects much of the South Snake Range, a desert mountain island.

The park has plenty of natural wildlife, including bighorn sheep. In addition, there are many lakes and streams. There are many day hikes for visitors who want to experience the park’s landscape in depth.

Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park

The Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park is a popular spot for hiking and camping. It is located in White Pine County, Nevada, near Ely. This park features beehive-shaped charcoal ovens that were built in the 19th century.

Best tourist attractions in Ely - The Ward Charcoal Ovens
Best tourist attractions in Ely – The Ward Charcoal Ovens

Six beehive-shaped kilns served the mining community during the silver boom years of Ward, Nevada. These kilns were used to process silver ore in the early days of Nevada. They were constructed in 1876 and operated for three years. However, by the end of 1879, the smelters had shut down. As a result, the town of Ward began to fall into decline.

An attractive Great Basin landscape surrounds the state-owned park. In addition to the beehive-shaped kilns, the park has a wide range of hiking trails. There are several short trails, as well as one long loop trail.

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