Historic Tonopah offers mining history, singing dunes, and rugged wilderness access.
Halfway between Reno and Las Vegas, Tonopah is often a stopping point between the two cities, though it has plenty to appeal to history buffs and outdoor adventurers. Explore mining history at the “Queen of the Silver Camps” or go rockhounding. Hiking, biking, and off-roading are also popular, with the singing sand dunes of Crescent Dunes and three wilderness areas of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest nearby. Tonopah is also home to some of the darkest night skies in the country. Campers can find overnight options at in-town RV parks, developed Forest Service campgrounds, and primitive, dispersed, and backcountry options nearby.
With full hookup and pull-through sites for big rigs, as well as access to the largest casino in town, Tonopah Station is one of the top choices for RV camping in town, though several small RV parks can also be found within city limits. South of town, campers can find dispersed camping on BLM land near the BLM office. To the east, Saulsbury West Rest Area offers space for RVs. OHV riders should head north to the Crescent Dunes, also known as the Tonopah Dunes, for primitive camping around the dunes.
Head north from Tonopah to access the rugged terrain of the Alta-Toquima, Arc Dome, and Table Mountain Wilderness areas of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest and central Nevada’s highest peak, Mt. Jefferson. Enjoy hiking, horseback riding, off-roading, and fishing. Four seasonal developed forest service campgrounds can be found in the area, including Pine Creek, Peavine Creek, Barley Creek, and Belmont. Also nearby are the ghost towns of Belmont and Manhattan.
For water recreation, campers should head northwest to Walker Lake, the remnant of the ancient Lake Lahontan that used to cover western Nevada and eastern California. Fishing, swimming, water skiing, and speed boat races are popular here. Camping options can be found at Speedboat Beach north of Hawthorne. Campers can also head west for hot springs near Benton, ancient bristlecones, and the White Mountains Wilderness of Inyo National Forest.
Spring and fall offer the most pleasant weather for outdoor activities, including off-roading the Crescent Dunes. Visit at the end of May for Jim Butler Days, which celebrates Tonopah’s founder with a big fair, parades, and celebrations, August for the family-friendly Tonopah Arts Festival, and June to October for monthly star parties. Winters can be cold, when temperatures can dip below freezing.