DescriptionFounded in 1868 as a silver-mining camp, Ely bloomed with the arrival of the Nevada Northern Railway, which chugged into town in 1906 bedecked with flags, bunting and sagebrush wreaths. When Ely converted to large-scale copper mining, the town grew from 500 to 3,000 residents in a year.
Kennecott Copper Corp.'s renowned Liberty Pit produced more than $550 million in copper, gold and silver deposits. Kennecott also operated the giant Ruth pit, which produced from about 1905 to the late 1970s. Ely continues to be a center for mining as well as ranching and recreation.
The surrounding mountain ranges provide fine hunting and trout fishing. High-country hikers are fond of nearby Wheeler Peak Scenic Area, which includes 13,063-foot Wheeler Peak, Baker and Snake creeks, Big Wash Canyon and the upper parts of Lehman Creek. The garnet-studded rhyolite outcropping at the peak of Garnet Hill, 5 miles west off US 50, is popular with rock hounds. Boating, swimming and fishing are available at Cave Lake State Park.
The Renaissance Village in downtown Ely features a collection of early 20th-century buildings, including a prospector's cabin, a general store and a barn. The site, open Saturdays from June through September, hosts such regularly scheduled cultural activities as art workshops, plays and concerts. A farmers market is added on Saturdays beginning in late August.
Several old mining camps and ghost towns still can be found in the Ely vicinity; they include Cherry Creek, Fort Schellbourne, Hamilton, Lane City, Osceola, Taylor and Ward. Ely also is the western terminus of a scenic route consisting of US 93, US 50/6 and SR 487. Crossing the Schell Creek and Snake ranges, the route leads to the Utah border and Great Basin National Park.
Visitor InfoWhite Pine County Tourism and Recreation Board 150 Sixth St. ELY, NV 89301. Phone:(775)289-3720 or (800)496-9350
Things to SeeNevada Northern Railway Museum