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Nevada itinerary: Elko


With true cowboy charm, Elko is known as “Nevada with Altitude” as the city sits at an elevation of more than 5,000 feet. It’s bordered by the snow-capped Ruby Mountains, often called the “Alps of Nevada.”

There’s no shortage of outdoor activities; within minutes of downtown Elko, groups can enjoy everything from hiking to skiing. And those looking to explore Nevada’s roots in mining and ranching will find plenty of knowledge at Elko’s cultural centers and museums.

Cowboys from across the nation flock to Elko every January for the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, a celebration of the cowboy lifestyle and the rural West. Next year’s gathering is scheduled for Jan. 28–Feb. 2, 2019.

California Trail Interpretive Center

California Trail Interpretive Center, Elko, Nev.Photo: Travel Nevada/Sydney Martinez

California Trail Interpretive Center, Elko, Nev.


At the California Trail Interpretive Center, groups see everything from original murals and dioramas depicting life on the trail to artifacts that tell stories of their own. And don’t forget to “see the elephant,” and find out what that expression meant to the 250,000 people who trekked down the California Trail between 1841 and 1869.

Western Folklife Center

Exhibit, Western Folklife Center, Elko, Nev.Photo: Darcy Minter

Exhibit, Western Folklife Center, Elko, Nev.


Located in the historic Pioneer Hotel, the Western Folklife Center preserves the rich culture of the American West. Headquarters for the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, the center is the site of year-round entertainment and activities, including concerts, readings and workshops. The Wiegand Gallery features the work of some of the world’s finest Western artists.

Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Ruby Lake, Nev.Photo: Creative Commons

Ruby Lake, Nev.


Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge provides visitors with outstanding wildlife observation in a tranquil natural setting. The refuge consists of 37,632 acres of marshes, open ponds and islands bordered by wet meadows, grass and sagebrush-covered uplands. More than 200 species of birds use the refuge as a resting stop or nesting area.

Northeastern Nevada Museum

Exhibit, Northeastern Nevada Museum, Elko, Nev.Photo: Travel Nevada

Exhibit, Northeastern Nevada Museum, Elko, Nev.


Six galleries occupy more than 20,000 square feet at Northeastern Nevada Museum. The museum features art and local history exhibits, as well as extensive wildlife habitat dioramas. The collection of artifacts (from hat pins to stagecoaches) and the collection of historical archives maintain and preserve an enduring record of the past.

Elko Convention & Visitors Authority


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