Places to Visit: Hawthorne Nevada

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Hawthorne NV

An historic crossroads during mining boom days, Hawthorne, NV, still functions as a perfect waystation on your route to great adventures in Lake Tahoe and other scenic Sierra Nevada destinations. Read More

  • See Hawthorne, NV, on a roadtrip from Lake Tahoe to Las Vegas or en route to Yosemite; Bishop, CA; Death Valley; or any nearby adventure-lands.
  • First incorporated as a mining town, during the Civil War era, Hawthorne is also rich in United States military history.
  • Visit beautiful Walker Lake (23miles in length) for medal-worthy trout fishing.
  • Located only 130 miles from South Lake Tahoe (via the towns of Yerrington/Topaz Lake/Minden). Consult map for road directions.


The town of Hawthorne, NV, was created to serve as a railroad station terminus for gold and silver lodes traveling from the area's many mines via Carson & Colorado Railroad Company lines. Considering the many precious metals and minerals harvested from this western Great Basin borderland, it's not surprising that Hawthorne is the county seat of Mineral County, being located near towns called Basalt, Coaldale and Goldfield.

In addition to a rich mining history, Hawthorne, more recently, has a significant military history and culture. Hawthorne Army Depot, a Naval Ammunitions Depot, covers 400 square miles surrounding the town. At the turn of the century, after the mining boom, the town population may have waned, but World War II brought tremendous growth with massive production activity at the depot. The U.S. military continues to have a strong local presence.

For more information, call Mineral County Chamber of Commerce at (775) 945-2507.


Located about 150 miles southeast of Lake Tahoe on U.S. 95, in Nevada's Great Basin desert, the town of Hawthorne is butressed by Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest to the south/southwest and numerous mountain ranges in all directions. Located in the heart of historic mining country, Hawthorne lies in close proximity to Carson City and Reno, as well as Yosemite National Park via Lee Vining/Tioga Pass entrance.


While you would hardly call this town a hotspot with tourists, no one can deny its modest, local flavor, being home to restaurants with names like Jack's and Maggie's. Lodging is confined mostly to rather pedestrian motels and the local El Capitan Resort & Casino. But, of course, the real allure of Hawthorne comes from the beauty of the surrounding lands, the site of many great hiking, boating and fishing adventures. It's prime location en route to Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, Bishop, Mammoth Lakes (among so many other prime destinations), makes Hawthorne a great place to take a breather.


Talk about ancient history! According to scientists, Walker Lake, located 12 miles north of Hawthorne on US-95, exists as the final remains of a vast lake, or inland sea, that once covered much of Nevada about 10,000 years ago. Today, Walker Lake State Park provides a remote site for fishing, boating, swimming and picnicking. In fact, the Paiute tribe considered Walker Lake a sacred homeplace and called themselves "trout people" in their native tongue.  Call (775) 867-3001 for more information.

For those interested in spectacular hiking, Hawthorne is situated in close proximity to Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. Explore the Sawtooth Range in Hoover Wilderness. Call Bridgeport Ranger Station at (760) 932-7070 for more information on trails and peaks.

For those interested in American history, Hawthorne offers a rare glimpse at two facets of its local culture. Visit Mineral County Museum to explore the county's mining past, through a narrative of artifacts and relics. Also, visit historic Mineral County Court House and Old Rawhide Jail, all conveniently located in town. For those interested in United States military history, be sure to visit Veteran's Memorial Park, located on US-95 outside of town, and Hawthorne Ordnance Museum to witness the remarkable collection of military munitions from WWII and beyond.

Getting Here

Getting to South Lake Tahoe from Hawthorne, NV, is easy. (And there is more than one route.) For the route through Yerrington, NV: Head north on US-95 past Lake Walker. After 30-plus miles, turn left US-95 Alt N/ Yerrington Cutoff. Go about 25 miles, take exit for NV-339 S. Stay on NV-208 and look for US-395 N. Follow signs to South Lake Tahoe.