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Desolation Wilderness and the South Lake Tahoe Basin
Covers all the trails in the wilderness plus the area around Emerald Bay, the upper Truckee River, and the upper South Fork of the American River.    

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Wells, Nevada : Information & Photographs

Historic Wells [pre-earthquake]
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Wells is a small town that thousands of people stop at every day, but few ever see. This begs the question, then, of why do so many people stop at Wells, a little town of 1300 people located in Northeast Nevada on Interstate 80. The reason is simple. Wells is the only town I’ve ever visited where there are Two Flying J truck stops at the same exit – one on the north side of the Interstate and one on the south side. Exactly why Flying J felt the need to put in two truck stops here I have no idea (perhaps to prevent competition from moving in?), but the results are not surprising. Thousands of people every day pull off busy Interstate 80, eat, get gas, and then head back on their way to Salt Lake City or Reno and other exotic places far away from this quiet and isolated corner of Nevada.

Of course, visiting one of the Flying J truck plazas doesn’t qualify as actually visiting Wells. And that’s too bad, because Wells is a unique and historic town that has a fantastic location for outdoor recreation and scenic beauty. True, the scenic beauty around Wells isn’t exactly obvious from the truck stops in town. Yet less than a dozen miles away from the truck stops are beautiful valleys, mountains that tower more than a vertical mile above the valley floors, and cold, high mountain lakes.

Chimney Rock Golf Course
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Moreover, Wells is a town full of history. Unfortunately, the most historic buildings in town – “Historic Wells”, as its known – sustained significant and sometimes catastrophic damage in the 6.0 earthquake that struck Wells in the morning hours on February 21st, 2008. Despite this earthquake damage, the downtown area of Wells is still unique, in its own sort of way as some buildings survived or have been repaired.

Although the historic section of Wells isn’t what it once was, Wells still serves as an ideal base area and jumping off point for some of the best scenic drives in Nevada. The Angel Lake Scenic Drive begins right in Wells itself and leads to a beautiful, high-mountain lake in the Humboldt Mountains. The Clover Valley Scenic Drive is a paved and easy drive through the remote and seldom visited Clover Valley, a beautiful valley that sits in the shadow of the huge Humboldt Mountains. Finally, in addition to being close to a number of other scenic drives, Wells is also close to the beautiful Ruby Valley and the Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge.

Overall, Wells is a town worth visiting – and not just because it has two truck stops. Anyone in search of scenic beauty in Nevada, or who is simply sick and tired of driving down the awful and boring Interstate 80, should get off the Interstate in Wells and make a few side trips. Travelers who do might be pleasantly surprised by what is found.

Photos of Wells

Historic Wells Wells Overview Main Street in Wells

More Photographs of Wells, NV

Map of Wells & 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 Wells

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