This website uses Cookies to offer you an enhanced browsing experience. Find out more about how we use Cookies.

x
OK
USA Radio
Elko, Nevada

Nevada: Living the Cowboy Life

By Fatima Von


Did you ever dream of being a cowboy as a child, galloping on a powerful stallion through endless wide open spaces? Perhaps you even dressed up as one. In Nevada, I was not only reminded of my childhood dreams, but finally got the chance to realise them: mountains, wonderful nature, and of course, real horses and even real cowboys!

High on the Lamoille Canyon

Not far from the town of Elko in northeast Nevada, I visited Lamoille Canyon, the largest glacial valley in the Ruby Mountains. A spectacular 11-mile winding Scenic Byway wraps around the highest peak, the 11,388-foot-high Ruby Dome. In addition, there are several short and interesting trails which are easily accessible from the road. Again and again, I stopped to photograph the idyllic scenes of what many call the "Grand Canyon of Nevada".

A Cowboy Saddlery and a Cowboy Gathering

My next stop was downtown Elko, where Joseph Capriola founded his J.M. Capriola Co. saddle shop in 1929, and the saddles are still handmade today. A narrow steep staircase going upward leads to the workshop and a museum, where the scent of leather permeates the room. I watched a craftsman carve the leather for a while, admiring the patience and care behind this art.

Just opposite the saddle shop is the Western Folklife Center, which promotes traditional rural life. The centre’s signature event is the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, with lots of music, art and literature. I was particularly impressed by the exhibition presenting and preserving the artwork of young cowboys. Equally inviting is the lovely gift shop, offering selected literature, music, jewellery and pottery.

Authentic Local Cuisine in Elko

Before I left downtown Elko, I discovered the diner 2 Dames & a Deli and realised how hungry I was. Its sandwiches and paninis hit the spot. My panini was very tasty and fresh, and the two “dames” are very warm and funny.

For supper, I chose the popular Star Hotel, which is famous for its Basque cuisine. There is a large Basque community in Nevada, from the Spanish-French border region in Europe, which established itself in the beginning of the 20th century. The mood was lively and joyful at the restaurant, thanks to the many locals who eat here. The delicious meals are served family style on platters, so that everyone in your party gets a little taste of various dishes.

America’s History of Westward Migration

My next stop, The California Trail Interpretive Center, just outside of Elko, is a very informative museum. Interactive exhibits present the Westward migration of America, from 1841 to 1869, until the completion of the transcontinental railroad. The arduous and uncertain journey of pioneers who wanted to try their luck in California, and their interaction with Native Indians, is brilliantly simulated here. The friendly staff makes time for you and you can immediately feel their enthusiasm and dedication to the museum.

I always imagined the cowboy life to be much easier and more romantic. I never even considered the weather conditions they endured. Well, at some point, I guess you just grow up. However, the vast open space and spectacular scenery of Nevada exceeded my childhood dreams by far.

For more information, please visit us

Nevada Commission on Tourism

Welcome to Discover America!

Now that you have registered, you can save trip ideas to your suitcase.

Start exploring

Enter your email address and we’ll send you a link to reset your password.

Please check your email.

Start exploring

The password on your account has successfully been changed. Please use your new password to login.

Start exploring

This website is set to 'allow all cookies' for the best user experience. By continuing without changing this setting, you are consenting to this. You may change your settings at any time at the bottom of this page.

More information about cookies

Cookies are very small text files that are stored on your computer when you visit some websites.

We use cookies to make our website easier for you to use. You can remove any cookies already stored on your computer, but these may prevent you from using parts of our website.

If you choose to disable non-essential cookies, the website will:

  • Allow you to log in and remember you are logged in, while in session
  • Determine your country of origin in order to serve you the most relevant version of the site

This website will not:

  • Restrict welcome messaging to the first time you visit the site
  • Track any activity on the site for analytics purposes

More information about cookies