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Tonopah, Nev.: An Historical Desert Town

Find cool art, tasty beer, and star-filled skies worth a road trip stop.

Mizpah Hotel in Tonopah Nevada, picture
Photo caption
The Mizpah Hotel has 55 guest rooms with tall windows, mahogany furnishings, and original claw-foot tubs.

You could drive from Reno to Las Vegas in a day, but then you’d miss spending time in Tonopah, about halfway between them. The once-bustling mining town, where Wyatt Earp opened a saloon and Jack Dempsey began his illustrious boxing career, brims with history and charisma.

Walk into a dimly lit tunnel and peer deep into the earth at the Tonopah Historic Mining Park. After sunset, drive a few miles in any direction and park the car along a designated star trail (see tonopahnevada.com/StarTrails) to gaze into skies that are just as dark and clear as they were a century ago.

Return to Main Street for creature comforts. There, the Mizpah Hotel merges fin de siècle ambience with boutique charm, and the Tonopah Brewing Company, opened in 2014, pairs a stout aged in bourbon barrels with its smoked brisket.

Just south of Tonopah, in the ghost town of Goldfield, an art installation emerges from the desert. The 40-plus vehicles of the International Car Forest of the Last Church, many half buried in the ground, make a fitting coda to your road trip.

Photography courtesy of Mizpah Hotel

This article was first published in Winter 2016. Some facts my have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.