Night sky glitters with stars in Tonopah

A dethroned Central Nevada mining queen, Tonopah preserves her past and regains prestige as a prime location for stargazing. Often considered just a fuel or snack stop along U.S. 95 between Las Vegas and Reno, the old town deserves a closer look. Located 200 miles from Las Vegas at the junction of U.S. 95 and U.S. 6, Tonopah offers overnighters a variety of motels and restaurants.

Visitors during the day spend hours walking or cruising the historical downtown to spot dozens of buildings and residences listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Turn in the gates of the regional Central Nevada Museum to visit indoor and outdoor exhibits just off the highway. Across the highway, explore the 100-acre Tonopah Historic Mining Park. After dark, the night skies over Tonopah glitter with the light from 7,000 stars.

The town’s remote location far from urban light pollution makes it one of the best places left in the United States for observing the night sky. Lights in most urban areas limits nighttime visuals to just 25-50 of the brightest stars and erases most of the Milky Way, even on moonless nights.

Tonopah’s 6,200-foot elevation and unusually clear skies assist stargazers in seeing the Milky Way and many other features in outer space. The unusual clarity and darkness of the skies over Tonopah at night gain the attention of the International Dark-Sky Association, a group fighting visual pollution worldwide. Learn more about Tonopah’s stargazing possibilities on the Internet at Bundle up when you set outside, for Tonopah’s nights are crisp, even in summer.

Tonopah’s museums garner awards, attaining the highest listings as Nevada’s most popular rural museums year after year from Nevada magazine. The free Central Nevada Museum remains open all year Wednesdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 5 p.m. The Tonopah Historic Mining Park stays open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from April through September and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. from October through March. Visiting the main building is free, but exploring the grounds on self-guiding trails costs $5. Ask at your motel for the locally available coupon for $1 off the walking tour price.

The Central Nevada Museum’s indoor exhibits explore many aspects of life in the region’s early days a century or more ago. Visitors find out about the nomadic native people of the area, the ethnic make-up of early miners and townfolk and the history of the military in Tonopah. Exhibits demonstrate how people ranched, mined, railroaded, fought fires, kept the peace and entertained themselves. The museum’s gift and book shop helps support development of this evolving facility.

The museum’s outdoor exhibits preserve structures typical of the rude buildings hastily erected to house miners and businesses when the town boomed in the early 1900s. Some of those early buildings got moved to other mining camps. Many others succumbed to fires before Tonopah had time to erect stone and brick structures.

The Tonopah Historic Mining Park sits on a hill above the old Nye County Courthouse with its distinctive silver dome. It protects mining company buildings and equipment from several major mines, maintaining them in a state of “arrested decay.” First explore the main building with its gift shop and display rooms and watch the introductory video. Then head outside to start your self-guided tour. Dress in layers, wear sun block and carry bottled water.

Since the mining park’s trails include at least a mile and a half of paths with some steep portions and irregular steps, wear sturdy shoes or boots. Disabled visitors may have difficulty, but they may drive to a central area to visit a major mining company hoist house and outbuildings, including one devoted to extensive rock samples and a black light display. Restrooms are centrally located.

Visitors view open stopes hundreds of feet deep from a bridge over a black gap and a wire cage suspended over the void. Drafts sweeping up from below carry the faint scent of explosives, still acrid after many decades.

Margo Bartlett Pesek’s column appears on Sundays.

Cowboys and western aficionados can buy virtually anything at Cowboy Christmas
Vegas Golden Knights Christmas Display
In the Las Vegas Valley, the chances of getting a white Christmas are slim. But this year, you can have a “Knight” Christmas. A Henderson resident has a Christmas lights display that is synchronized to the entrance music for the Golden Knights. GG Misa’s Knights light show is played every 30 minutes from 5 to 10 nightly. His light show consists of two songs: Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and the entrance music, “Le Castle Vania,” from the movie “John Wick.” The display is located at 730 Bollons Island St. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Reivew-Journal)
Holiday Hooch At El Cortez is Just in Time For Repeal Day And Christmas
Holiday Hooch At El Cortez Is Just In Time For Repeal Day And Christmas. Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal
TV's LGBT superheroes
Green Valley Ranch's Winter's Village
The Mob Museum
Best Friend Menu Reveal Wednesday
Chef Roy Choi tells us what to expect from Wednesday’s Facebook Live Menu Reveal for his new Park MGM restaurant Best Friend. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Quick Chat With Criss Angel
James D. Gish and Susan Anton rehearse
Susan Anton will be special guest at James D. Gish’s holiday concerts Dec. 7 at Summerlin Library and Dec. 9 at Clark County Library. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio Winter Wonderland
"Majestic Holiday Magic" at the Bellagio Conservatory.
Underwater Santa At The Silverton
Santa takes a dive Sunday, December 2, at the Silverton Casino Hotel. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Cowabunga Bay Christmas Town
Las Vegas Natural History Museum
Las Vegas Natural History Museum, which opened in 1991, has exhibits of mechanical dinosaurs and taxidermied animals, along with live snakes, fish and sharks. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Magical Forest Lights
Cirque Du Soleil Performers Team Up For New Show "Kinekt"
Through dance, acrobatics and aerial arts, “Kinekt” tells a story all too familiar to modern families: how to maintain a human connection in the digital age. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ethel M Holiday Cactus Garden
The Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas
The Pinball Hall of Fame was created by Tim Arnold and opened in 2006. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jump! The Ultimate Dog Show at Springs Preserve in Las Vegas
Trainer Lou “Mack” McCammon guides several rescue dogs through a series of tricks and jumps two shows a day weekends through December at the Springs Preserve in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Buddy V - Sep 21 Confidante
Famous Infinity Mirror Room is open in Las Vegas
Yayoi Kusama's "Aftermath of Obliteration of Infinity" mirror room is open at the Bellagio in Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Glittering Lights dazzles Las Vegas
The Glittering Lights holiday display is shining at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Mat Luschek/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Skybar at Waldorf Astoria lets you sip your way through Las Vegas history
Skybar At Waldorf Astoria Lets You Sip Your Way Through Las Vegas History (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Stan Lee in Las Vegas for Madame Tussauds unveiling
Stan Lee Las Vegas speaks with the Review-Journal's Chris Lawrence about his love for his fans and shared universes. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ultimate Belgium Waffle Sundae at Lavo
Lavo at the Palazzo serves a 16-scoop ice cream sundae that costs $800. (Rochelle Ricahrds, Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A New Zip Line Is Opening On The Las Vegas Strip
A New Zip Line Is Opening On The Las Vegas Strip (Janna Karel lLas Vegas Review-Journal)
You'll need a keen eye to find this secret bar on the Las Vegas Strip
You'll need a keen eye to find this secret bar on the Las Vegas Strip (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
"The Lion King" roars into Las Vegas
New music club 172 brings loud luxury to Las Vegas
New music venue at the Rio brings rock ’n’ roll and food together at intimate club. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Fans fear for Zak Bagans’ safety in Las Vegas Halloween TV special
Fly Linq zip line time lapse
Fly Linq zip line timelapse
Roy Choi on cooking for Park MGM employees
As he prepares to open his new restaurant Best Friend later this month at Park MGM, celebrity chef Roy Choi took the time to cook for the resort’s employees Tuesday. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Best Friend Menu Reveal Wednesday
Chef Roy Choi tells us what to expect from Wednesday’s Facebook Live Menu Reveal for his new Park MGM restaurant Best Friend. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Great Santa Run
People participated in the 14th annual Las Vegas Great Santa Run which raises cubs for Opportunity Village.
World Holidays Exhibit At The Natural History Museum
Migratory Bird Day teaches adults and kids to celebrate birds
Different organizations offered activities for kids and adults to learn about birds and celebrate their migration journey at Sunset Park. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
"Jackson: The Red Rock Canyon Burro" is a children's book about Red Rock Canyon
"Jackson: The Red Rock Canyon Burro" is a children's book about Red Rock Canyon (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Interfaith Amigos speak in Las Vegas
Celebrity photographer dedicates dance book to Las Vegas shooting victims
Behind the scenes with local celebrity photographer Jerry Metellus as he talks about his Dance For Vegas coffee book dedicated to the 58 victims of the October 1 shooting. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Dreamsickle Kids Foundation founder Gina Glass talks awareness
Gina Glass, 35, founded Dreamsickle Kids Foundation to raise awareness for sickle cell disease in Nevada. (Jessie Bekker/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Local Spotlight
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like