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Ely, Nevada : Information & Photographs

Main Street in Ely
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Located in the beautiful Steptoe Valley of eastern Nevada, Ely is a hub for outdoor recreation. Surrounded by numerous mountain ranges, and boasting a high elevation that provides for much cooler (even downright cold) weather that is far removed from what is experienced in many other areas of Nevada, Ely is popular among campers, hikers, mountain bikers and snowmobilers.

Ely is not a large city, having a population of only 4000 or so people. Yet people passing through Ely would never know it, as Ely seemingly sprawls for miles. This is due to the huge influx of visitors that are either passing through town on the three highways that intersect in town (Highway 50, Highway 93 and Highway 6), or are using Ely as a base hub to take advantage of the wonderful outdoor recreation available around town.

Ely, like other Nevada towns on Highway 50, has an interesting history. Ely was initially founded as a stagecoach station for the Pony Express. Mining, however, soon became the dominant industry in Ely and the rest of White Pine County. Copper mining dominated the area through the 1980’s. However, the collapse of copper prices in the 80’s forced the shutdown of the huge Kennecott copper mine and smelter in nearby McGill.

Nevada Northern Railway
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Yet, mining wasn’t gone forever. The advent of cyanide heap-leaching, which allows gold to be extracted from waste ore, kicked off the beginning of a gold mining boom around Ely. And the resurgence in copper prices during the 2000’s led to the reopening of copper mines outside of Ely. Consequently, while other Nevada towns have suffered from falling incomes, collapsing house prices and high unemployment, Ely has, comparatively speaking, done well during the “Great Recession” that has decimated so much of Nevada’s economy.

In addition to having a solid economy, Ely also has a superb location. Having three highways intersect in town brings thousands of travelers everyday that are simply passing through. As Ely is the lone town of any size in this part of Nevada, Ely has become an important travel hub.

Travelers to Ely are likely to be surprised by the forested mountains that surround town seemingly everywhere. The high elevation of Ely (6400 feet), keeps the weather very cool and allows for more moisture than is found in most other parts of Nevada. The results are forested mountains and a fair amount of snow during the winter.

In addition to numerous outdoor activities, Ely also has an excellent location to enjoy some of the more scenic drives in Nevada. The Success Loop Scenic Drive begins just five miles south of town, while the Spring Valley Scenic Drive and the Hamilton Ghost Town Scenic Drive all are within thirty miles of town. For those who don’t mind a bit longer drive, Great Basin National Park is also within easy reach and is well worth the time to visit.

Photos of Ely

Ely Overview Hotel Nevada in Ely Downtown Ely

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Map of Ely & Vicinity


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Suggested Books

Benchmark Nevada Road & Recreation Atlas : This topographic map book shows ALL roads in Nevada. This book is a mandatory requirement if you'll be venturing off the main highways shown on the tourist map. Additionally, this book shows many historical sites, points of interest and recreation areas.

More Info at Amazon

Where to Stay in Ely

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