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US - 50 The Lonliest Road

Newcastle, Australia
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US - 50 The Lonliest Road

Hi,

Our family of five are planning to drive from Durango CO to Reno NV

via US-50 ( The Loneliest Road ) breaking the journey with an overnight stay in Ely,

We will be undertaking this drive just after Christmas.

I would greatly value some opinions/advice as to the do ability of this drive over a two day period and likely road/traffic conditions.

Many Thanks for any Assistance

Salt Lake City, UT
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1. Re: US - 50 The Lonliest Road

It's been a while since I've driven it, but it was a starkly beautiful route, and I love the remoteness. Were I ever driving to Reno, I'd probably pick it over the banality of I-80 any time, if my schedule allowed.

That being said, in the dead of winter, I would approach this drive with caution. It can snow anywhere on the route that time of year. And I would expect traffic would be very, very light. Obviously, paying close attention to the weather forecast would be vital. And, I'd keep the car stocked with provisions to sustain me and my passengers in case of getting stranded. Plenty of warm clothing, sleeping bags (or blankets), extra food, plenty of water, etc. I'd also limit my driving to daylight hours if at all possible.

Torrey, Utah
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for Torrey, Capitol Reef National Park
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2. Re: US - 50 The Lonliest Road

I concur on the weather, it can be quite variable. I have driven that route over 50 times in every season and every weather from a glorious sunny 0F day to a strange -5F night with weird "cheese hole" clouds floating about 20ft off the road, to a white out blizzard (4WD truck, with provisions). It's used a lot more now than it used to be, I drove it on Christmas Day last year and we saw quite a few vehicles. Definitely preferable to I80.

Park City, Utah
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3. Re: US - 50 The Lonliest Road

Just drove portions of it a few weeks ago with variable weather. The La Quinta in Ely is a great place to spend the night - very new hotel right on 50. You have good advice so far. Key point I would echo is to make sure you stay fueled and have provisions. It is lonely out there. The drive through the Great Basin area in eastern Nevada is especially beautiful. Do note that you have both desert and mountain driving on this route. Snow and ice can increase with elevation over the mountain passes.

Have fun. It's a great drive.

Santa Ana, CA
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4. Re: US - 50 The Lonliest Road

Mrs DS and I drove across this once and were disappointed because we rushed through it.

We came back the next summer and spent 3 days between Reno and Ely. There's plenty to see and do along the way if you have a good guide book.

Newcastle, Australia
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5. Re: US - 50 The Lonliest Road

Thank you all for kindly taking the time to reply.

A follow up question:

Would tourist traffic at this time of year be light enough to travel the route without pre booking accommodation or should we book ahead? I ask as the variable nature of weather/road conditions makes it difficult to know where we shall be when the time comes to call it quits for the days travel.

Again, many thanks.

Park City, Utah
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6. Re: US - 50 The Lonliest Road

Keep in mind that most hotels have a same-day cancellation policy (do verify) so you're safer if you have a res then cancel if you decide to not use it. In Ely, for example, there are a few nice places and a lot of really bad places. When you hit Ely after a long day on the road it's nice to settle into a decent room rather than a dump. But, in general, it will not be that busy.

Uden, The...
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7. Re: US - 50 The Lonliest Road

It's a magnificent drive but imo Durango to Ely is not a daydrive. We stayed Ely several times without making reservations (october) and La Quita is a good choice. And yes, we had snow in october in Ely at 6000' There are signs along us 50 for trucks needing chains. I also think it will be safer to take I80 that time of year.

Torrey, Utah
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for Torrey, Capitol Reef National Park
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8. Re: US - 50 The Lonliest Road

You will almost certainly be able to get lodging in Ely and Eureka but don't count on Austin which only has a couple of small places to stay and their hours can be "quirky". Fill up with gas each time you get the chance, again Delta, Ely and Fallon are totally reliable but the smaller towns "quirky" at night and on holidays.

Durango to Ely (539 miles shortest route) is a long drive on a short day, especially with the vagaries of the weather, you could stop in Delta which cuts a long stretch of remote country off at the end of the day.

Uden, The...
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9. Re: US - 50 The Lonliest Road

There's a good Best Western in Delta but nothing between Delta and Ely other that some basic lodging in Baker.

Torrey, Utah
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for Torrey, Capitol Reef National Park
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10. Re: US - 50 The Lonliest Road

I've stayed in Baker and eaten at the gas station restaurant, hmmm, interesting...