Austin Nevada

• Austin is the small living ghost town on the slope of Toiyabe Range
• The surrounding area features a variety of hot springs

Photos by Ken Lund

Austin is a small mountain town in Central Nevada with a population of 161 people (US Census 2018). Located on the slope of Toiyabe Range, one of  the longest mountain range, at the elevation of 6,575 feet, this unincorporated town has a lot of history within its small territory. U.S. Route 50 also known as The Loneliest Road in America, goes through the town.

Situated along the old Pony Express route, the town of Austin was created in 1862 upon the discovery of silver in the area. The population of the town quickly grew, especially due to the drop in operations of Virginia City mines and the attention to the discovery of silver drawn in the Californian press.

Spike of interest to the town led to the influx of population and capital to Austin. Processing mills for the ore as well as saloons, hotels, churches, schools, and other buildings were constructed.

The amount of silver ore was significantly less than expected, but Austin served as the base to discover other minerals and natural resources within the proximity of the town. This led to the creation of other towns including Eureka, Nye, and White Pine.

Nowadays Austin is not as thriving of a city as it used to be 140 years ago, yet many historic buildings remain and the town can still offer a lot to visitors.

Three historic churches, as well as other buildings, can let guests of the town get in touch with the history of the area. You can also visit Stokes Castle located just 1 mile southwest of Austin. Constructed in 1897 for a banker, mine developer, and railroad magnate Anson Phelps Stokes this building was made to resemble a tower he saw during his visit to Italy. Being a copy of Roman Villa, Stokes Castle was constructed completely out of granite. Also, make sure to take a walk downtown and down Main Street with a lot of local shops.

While visiting or passing through Austin, make sure to hit one of hundreds Nevada’s hot springs, Spencer Hot Springs. Spencer Hot Springs is considered one of Nevada’s best hot springs and is located 19 miles east of Austin.
Monitor Valley Hot Springs is another hot springs near Austin but bathing is questionable.

A fantastic cauldron-shaped crater, filled with thermal water,  Diana's Punchbowl can be found 46 miles east of Austin.

The surrounding area of Austin has a variety of scenic trails for hiking and biking of different lengths and levels of difficulty. Austin is also home to the Lincoln Highway car show and just 30 minutes away from Hickson Petroglyph Recreation Area where you can see 10,000-year-old paintings of Shoshone people who lived in the area long ago before first European settlers appeared.

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