Nye County
  38.94962, -117.5852

"Yes. His name is Fly. The owner of the Ore House Saloon. And what a name it is. He actually arrived in Ione a few years ago from Virginia City, seeking even more "peace and quiet." He fell in love with Ione during a visit and decided to find his way back here. VC's described as having "too much flare," a nice tap to the arm in semblance to the Comstock's bawdiness and overly touristy fluff. It takes a special breed of person to live in Ione. Hell. It takes a special kind of person to visit Ione. Until next year, little town." -- Journal Entry, August 2008

Ione County Park in Ione

Original Date Visited: 8/18/08

Signed: No

Trip to Ione

Be prepared for a long way off the beaten path! [159] is one of the most remote markers in the system that requires a long drive from almost every direction. Fortunately, the marker can also be readily accessed from almost any town. Expect to travel an average ...

1 1/2 hours from Tonopah
1 hour from Austin
1 hour, 15 minutes from Fallon
1 hour, 5 minutes from Hawthorne.

Despite its isolation, Ione can be accessed by three good routes - the most popular of which comes from the Reese River Valley by way of unpaved County Road 21. CR 21 leads south from Austin and crosses over the Monitor Range through Ione Canyon, delivering you directly at the east entrance to town. The second route (also unpaved) is via Union Canyon leading west from SR 376 in Big Smoky Valley. This good two-lane dirt road leads to Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park where it connects to CR 21 in Ione Valley just south of Ione.

The most convenient route will be on pavement by way of SR 361, the Gabbs Valley Highway. This long two-laner makes a long beeline up the valley linking US 95 near Luning (east of Hawthorne) to US 50 at Middlegate (east of Fallon). Again one man's treasure can be another man's monotony and SR 361 will not disappoint in either case. From US 50, travel south on SR 361 for twenty miles when this sign beckons you ...

There are only a few reasons why a person finds his way onto lonely State Route 844: Berlin-Ichthyosaur S.P. and Ione. In fact according to NDOT its only purpose is linking Berlin-Ichthyosaur S.P. and Ione to the rest of society and even during the peak tourist season (June-August), SR 844 is lucky to receive an average of 50 cars a day. According to Nevada State Parks, Berlin-Ichthyosaur also receives the least amount of visitors of any Nevada state park. In other words, if you seek solitude with your state park experiences Berlin-Ichthyosaur will always deliver.

After climbing over the last mountain range, SR 844 drops into Ione Valley for its last mile of pavement. At the end of the valley, we are greeted with this sign. Now the fun begins!

Don't let the lack of mileage signs at this intersection worry you. Apparently, NDOT and the Nye County Road Department figured people would find their way out here. It would've been nice to see though at least one mileage sign marking the way to areas of interest or control points.Upon arriving at this sign, you have three very important choices to make ...

  • Union Canyon Road -- Straight
    The road straight ahead (climbing up the bajada) is "Union Canyon Road," our second route into Ione. This well-maintained ribbon of road leads right into Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park. This small park preserves the old mining town of Berlin and even its older remains of ancient "fish lizards" branded "Ichthyosaurs," The ghost town of Berlin (faintly visible on the hillside) is a nice step back in time where visitors can marvel at some of Nevada's earliest forms of life. The Union Canyon Road is graded every season by the county and state and although it's a bit bumpy at times, this road is fully traversable by the family sedan eventually crossing the Paradise Range to end at SR 376 in Big Smoky Valley. This one makes a great choice if you're headed east to conquer the northern Nye markers in Big Smoky Valley or bag three old mining camps in one day -- Berlin, Manhattan, and Belmont!

  • Gabbs-Pole Line Road -- Right
    The right turn from the sign is the "Gabbs-Pole Line Road," a long and lonely sixty miles to US 95. Few people travel this way, but for convenience purposes the Pole Line Road drops you off about 5 miles outside of Tonopah. This is a popular route for locals who use this shorter alternative to get to Tonopah rather than have to drive all the way to SR 361.

  • County Route 21 --Left
    ... And, it's the left turn we want. Our destination lies only 7 miles up this road also known as County Road 21. This backcountry highway eventually connects back to US 50 by way of the Reese River Valley a few miles shy of Austin. CR 21 is well-maintained and for buzzing down at 40mph. Passenger car worthy ... We ride!

    After 62 miles, we finally arrived at one of Nevada's still-beating hearts: the tiny town of Ione. "The town that refused to die." Ione's stubbornness is also it's best trait. What you're seeing is practically the entire town, but what a stately one it is. The biggest event to hit Ione in the past century was the arrival of pavement. A rural Nevada oddity.

    • [159] Welcome to Ione, Nevada
    • [159] The SHPO decided to place this marker in the center of town at the Little Gold Diggers Claim, a small and county park maintained by the residents of Ione and Nye County Parks.
    • [159] The Ore House Saloon in Ione
    • [159] This one-room ramshackle is rumored to be the first ever Nye County Courthouse built in 1863.  If this is true, Ione could be home to a great Nevada superlative ... the oldest still-standing courthouse in Nevada!
    • [159] Marker 159 plaque

    Exact Description:
    Ione Valley had a dense and permanent aboriginal population, dating back about 5,000 years. Unusual property arrangements and agricultural methods were practiced later by the Shoshone and Northern Paiute Indians.

    Silver was discovered in 1863, and in 1864 Ione City was named first county seat of newly created Nye County. Over 600 people worked in this prosperous town until Belmont wealth attracted most of the miners in 1865, and the county seat in 1867.

    Alternately prosperous and poor, yet never completely deserted, Ione suffered mining depressions, milling difficulties and the loss of miners to richer strikes throughout its history.

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