Monday, August 24, 2009

American Indian rock art comes alive at Toquima Cave

Located just outside Austin, Toquima Cave is a great archaeological site that contains prehistoric pictographs, which are painted symbols, designs, and patterns. To get to the cave, travel about 14 miles east of Austin on U.S. 50 to the point where it intersects with State Route 376 (the road to Tonopah). Turn south on 376, then after about a tenth of a mile, take an immediate left onto a dirt road that’s marked by an historical marker for Toquima Cave. (“Hot” tip: on your way there, you might want to take a dunk at Spencer Hot Springs.) Continue for about 15 miles across the valley and head into the mountains. At a place known as Pete’s Summit, you’ll reach the Toquima Caves Campground. The campground is marked with large forest service signs. Park near the campgrounds, then hike about a quarter of a mile on a marked trail to the cave.

For more information about Toquima Cave and American Indian rock art, visit

Monday, July 27, 2009

A walk along Main Street, Austin

Summer along Main Street is one of the best times to enjoy the small town atmosphere of Austin. The shopkeepers are friendly and always willing to help visitors find their way around town. A walk through this historic town and visiting its many shops makes for a relaxing and enjoyable experience.

Austin was a very prosperous mining town in the 1800s, so there are a lot of stories hidden within the walls of its buildings. If you travel Highway 50 this summer, make sure to stop and enjoy this quaint Main Street with its numerous historical landmarks. For information about the town and all of its Main Street shops, visit the Chamber of Commerce that is located at the courthouse.

Learn more about Main Street in Austin at

Monday, June 29, 2009

Visiting Stokes Castle

To get a real taste of summertime in Nevada, take a trip to see Stokes Castle and the surrounding country—just like the Stokes family did over one-hundred years ago! This unique three-story stone tower is located just outside of town and offers a spectacular view.

Construction of the castle began in the fall of 1896 and the building was completed in June, 1897, by Anson Phelps Stokes, mine developer, railroad magnate and member of a prominent eastern family. It was built as a summer home for his sons, principally J.G. Phelps. After the castle (or the tower, as the Stokes family always referred to it) was completed, it was used by the family for one brief period in June and July, 1897. Since then, with one possible exception, the structure has remained unoccupied.

Stokes Castle is made of native granite, hewn and put in place by the ancestors of people that still live in Austin. The huge stones were raised with a hand-winch and held in position by rock wedging and clay mortar. The architectural model for the castle was a medieval tower Anson Stokes had seen and admired on an Italian campagna, near Rome. It originally had three floors, each with a fireplace, plate glass view windows, balconies on the second and third floors, and a battlemented terrace on the roof. It had plumbing very adequate for the times and was sumptuously furnished. The structure stands as an abiding monument to the local men who built it and to those who helped develop the mines of Austin.

Learn more about the history of Austin at

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Summer mountain biking is here!

If you want to experience some great Nevada mountain biking this summer, plan a trip to Austin, Nevada. There are trails for people just passing through the area as well as longer more technical rides. The rocky, brush-covered hillsides surrounding this historic mining town is a playground for mountain bikers of all levels. Riding the famous Pony Express Trail is a “must do” for any serious mountain biker.

For spectacular scenery, try one of the many routes in the nearby Toiyabe Mountain Range. The Toiyabe Range begins in northwestern Nye County north of Tonopah and runs approximately 120 miles northeast through eastern Lander County, making it the second longest range in the state. The highest point near its southern end is Arc Dome at 11,788 feet.

Some of the rides around Austin include the Castle Loop, Cahill Canyon Run, Bob Scott Slide, Gold Venture Loop, Crest Cut-off, and the Pony Canyon Down Hill Trail.

To learn more about mountain biking around Austin, visit

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

It’s a great time to relax in Spencer Hot Springs

Need to warm up and melt away your worries? Spencer Hot springs, near Austin Nevada, is a great place to sooth the aches and pains after a day of hiking, riding, or the daily grind. Spencer is a cluster of natural springs on unimproved public land and the largest pool has water of about 140 degrees flowing into a concrete tub.

Spencer Hot Springs is located off SR376, just east of the junction to Highway 50. Watch for the turn-off between mile markers 17 and 18 on 376, take the dirt road approximately 10 miles. The Springs are to your left. There’s no fresh water, restrooms, or amenities so you have to rough it—and that adds to the experience! Make sure to always test the water before you jump in. Hot springs can change temperature without notice so always keep an eye on children.

For more information, visit