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What is there to do in Nevada?

Sunday, October 02, 2022

If you've ever wondered what there is to do in Nevada, let me ask you another question:

What Do Trains, Lakes, Charcoal Ovens, Nerf Gun Battles and Giants Have in Common?(It's Nevada!)

Hello, From Nevada!

We hadn’t planned to spend as much time in Nevada as we have on this trip, but it is such a varied and diverse state with so much to see and explore!

As we headed north to Idaho, we made our way to some unexpected places to learn, explore, and appreciate.

If you get a chance to visit any of these, they are worth the drive.


Wyatt Gunzel and Abbie Gunzel at the Nevada Northern Railway Museum Sign

One of the things we got excited about was the Nevada Northern Railway Museum.

The Gunzel Family at the Nevada Northern Railway Museum with green train passenger cars in the background

If you’re a train enthusiast, you’ll love the access to the trains, information, and opportunities to explore this museum provides.

Wyat Gunzel and Abbie Gunzel playing with toy trains at the Nevada Northern Railway Museum Visitor's Center

There’s a cute gift shop, movie you can watch to learn the history of the area, and some train pieces to build with.

The Gunzel Family in the train yard at the Nevada Northern Railway Museum

Outside, you are free to roam the train yard, tour the exhibits, and can even watch real trains in action.

Jon Gunzel Wyatt Gunzel and Abbie Gunzel in the locomotive train workshop at the Nevada Northern Railway Musuem
Jon Gunzel Wyatt Gunzel and Abbie Gunzel viewing a locomotive restoration project at the Nevada Northern Railway Museum
Rotary Snow Plow locomotive at the Nevada Northern Railway Museum

One of our favorite memories here was exploring the machine shop, seeing the historic displays, and watching the restoration in progress.

The Gunzel Family train yard tour at the Nevada Northern Railway Museum

There were people working there who were happy to answer our questions and it really felt like we stepped into a living history book, with all the steam, bells and whistles included.

Foundry Patterns and Tools at the Nevada Northern Railway Museum

The size of the trains, tools, and machinery was amazing and something you can’t really grasp unless you see it in person.

If you enjoy trains, learning, and exploring, this is worth the stop!


Forest Service Garnet Hill Sign - Nevada
The Gunzel Family hunting Garnets at Garnet Hill in Nevada

Now, if you are up for a four wheeling adventure, there’s a hidden gem called Garnet Hill that you can locate on your GPS and go out for some real life “treasure hunting.”

Wyatt Gunzel at Garnet Hill in Nevada hunting Garnets

The view is beautiful and you can take shovels, gloves, and dig into the rocks to find garnets, or you might just get lucky like we did and find some in the washes, driving and walking along.

A large garnet found by Wyatt Gunzel at Garnet Hill in Nevada

Either way, it’s pretty cool to have a sparkly keepsake from the trip and feel the rush that must have struck gold miners and treasure seekers out west

The Gunzel Family at the Ely, Nevada KOA campground in the Nerf Gun Battle Of The Century!

But, if you find garnets, when you get back to camp…your children might want to play “old west” and have NERF GUN BATTLES.

Wyatt Gunzel and Abbie Gunzel - Two casualties of the Ely, Nevada Nerf Gun Battle

And after they’ve enjoyed battling with nerf guns, they will probably be hot and hungry and ask you to take them to the lake for a picnic.


Jon Gunzel and Wyatt Gunzel at Comins Lake State Park near Ely, Nevada

But after they see the first lake they will decide the water is too cold so they want to go check out the nearby things that look like bee hives.


The Gunzel Family at the Ely, Nevada Charcoal Ovens
Wyatt Gunzel and Abbie Gunzel at the entrance to an Ely, Nevada Charcoal Oven

After you get closer they will learn they are Charcoal Ovens and enjoy exploring and reading about them.

Ely, Nevada Charcoal Ovens Sign - Charcoal Oven To Bandit Hideout

After reading about them, they will decide they are finally ready for their lunch.


Nothing Beats The Nevada Heat Like A Refreshing Trip To Comis Lake - Boats and Water
Abbie Gunzel at Comis Lake Near Ely, Nevada

So you’ll drive them to a beautiful lake with water so clear they will want to dip their toes in.


Yellow wildflowers and green trees on the mountain on Success Loop Drive Near Ely, Nevada
Abbie Gunzel looking out the truck window on Success Loop Drive near Ely, Nevada

Then they will be tired so they will want to rest in the truck as you take a scenic tour back to camp.

Great Basin National Park

The Gunzel Family at the Great Basin National Park Sign

And, before you leave camp, they will be reminded of the Giants who live in Great Basin National Park so they will just have to see them for themselves.

Bristlecone Pine Tree Description Sign at Great Basin National Park
Jon Gunzel and Trina Gunzel at Great Basin National Park with the Bristlecone Pine Trees
Wyatt Gunzel relaxing at Great Basin National Park on a Bristlecone Pine Tree

After a hike to the top of the mountain to see the 5000 year old Giant Bristlecone Pines, they will be ready for another state to explore.

Trina Gunzel and Abbie Gunzel at Great Basin National Park

So, you will hike back down together and plan your next adventure.

Please leave your comments and questions by joining our Family Fundamentals Community below.

Much Love, 

The Gunzels

The Gunzel Family with their 5th wheel and Truck at the start of their 50 in 50 Trip

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Talk to you soon! Exciting things to come!

Love, The Gunzel Family