U.S. Route 50 - Atlas Obscura

U.S. Route 50

Officially named the "Loneliest Road in America," this barren stretch of Nevada road offers almost nothing but sky and open fields. 

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While the length of the U.S. Route 50 highway stretches from Sacramento, California, in the west to Ocean City, Maryland, in the east, the portion crossing through Nevada was scathingly dubbed the “Loneliest Road in America,” a title which surprisingly caught on and was adopted by the state tourism board.

According to a 1986 article in Life magazine, the length of U.S. 50 running straight through the middle of Nevada was described as follows, “It’s totally empty. There are no points of interest. We don’t recommend it. We warn all motorists not to drive there unless they’re confident of their survival skills.” This unpleasant description was included in a story called, “The Loneliest Road,” prompting the route to be dubbed the “Loneliest Road in America.”

However, instead of taking umbrage with the review, the powers that be in the Nevada Tourism Department embraced the moniker, going so far as to put the name on road signs and print up free “survival guides” for drivers attempting to conquer the desolate stretch of road.

To be fair, the unbroken road has only a few small towns along its length to break up the seemingly endless straight road, creating a true feeling of being isolated among the expanse. However this loneliest road could also be considered the most serene or tranquil—it all depends on your perspective.

Know Before You Go

You can pick up an "I survived the loneliest road in America" passport book at surrounding small businesses, and collect stamps along the drive.

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