15 Best Things to Do in Elko, NV

Elko, NV
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Iconic, diverse, and picturesque—these are words that come to mind when trying to pinpoint what makes the charming city of Elko special.

Nestled in the northeast of Nevada is a gateway to American West culture and scenic natural lands, with diverse offerings in the arts, cultural enrichment, outdoor recreation, world-class entertainment, history, and more!

Immerse yourself in American West's rich cultural heritage, explore Nevada's untamed wilderness, and enjoy world-class entertainment in the city of Elko.

Are you planning to visit this eclectic community soon?

If so, here are the 15 best things to do on your trip to Elko:

Hike the Trails of Ruby Mountains

The scenic view of the Ruby mountains with green trees.
Kit Leong / Shutterstock.com

Are you planning to spend your time in Elko out on an exciting nature adventure?

If so, you should pack your outdoor gear and essentials before you head out for a hike at the Ruby Mountains!

The Ruby Mountains is named after the large number of garnets found by early explorers of the area.

A backpacker hiking the Ruby mountains, with the blue liberty lake on the left side.
Kit Leong / Shutterstock.com

Explore the rich flora and fauna of the mountains, see alpine lakes, and marvel at the stunning craggy peaks of the Ruby Mountains.

Escape the hustle and bustle of your daily cares, and get lost in the calming atmosphere of nature on a hiking trip to the Ruby Mountains.

Clear water of the lake where you can see rocks underneath.
Kit Leong / Shutterstock.com

Appreciate Arts, Natural Sciences, and History at the Northeastern Nevada Museum

Delight yourself with the fascinating displays of the Northeastern Nevada Museum in Elko!

This expansive museum features unique works of art, the history of the region, and wildlife dioramas in their habitat.

The Northeastern Nevada Museum is a must-visit on your trip to Elko for an interesting experience that will take you through the realms of arts, culture, history, and natural sciences.

You can explore the museum for hours because there's so much to discover with the well-curated exhibits that will surely pique your interest.

A trip to Northeastern Nevada Museum will surely delight the young and the young at heart, so make sure to stop by to spend hours of discovery and exploration.

Immerse in the Culture of the Region at the Western Folklife Center

Delve into the culture of the American West and have a glimpse of the region’s rich history at the Western Folklife Center.

This cultural center in Elko has been an abode for interesting stories in the region, artistic expression, and cultural enrichment.

The Western Folklife Center is chock-full of culture that's been spawned in the small city of Elko.

Get a comprehensive tour in their quaint museum, join events that enrich the American West culture, and support the city's rich arts scene.

You can also join the annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering at the Western Folklife Center, where you can enjoy the signature Nevada event filled with the lyrical blend of Wild West in poetry, songs, arts, and so much more!

Spend a Day of Shopping and Dining at Downtown Elko

Street view of Downtown Elko
Famartin, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A trip to Elko won't be complete without strolling through the vibrant downtown of the city.

Downtown Elko serves as the shopping and community hub of the city, where you can scour through shops for unique, trendy, or vintage items.

Aside from a shopping spree in downtown Elko, there are plenty of restaurants you can stop by for some grubs and relax in the cozy coffee shops.

Statue at Downtown Elko
Chanilim714, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you are looking to fascinate yourself with artworks, you can tour downtown Elko where you'll see a multitude of colors in numerous murals scattered in the city.

Events and gatherings are also organized in downtown Elko, so make sure to participate if you have the time to get acquainted with the welcoming community of the city.

Ski Down the Hill at Elko SnoBowl and Bike Park

Do you enjoy skiing down steep hills during the winter?

If so, the Elko SnoBowl Ski and Bike Park is the perfect destination in the city!

Enjoy a fun day skiing down the snow in this seasonal ski hill in Elko without having to leave too far from the city.

You can also take skiing and snowboarding lessons at the Elko SnoBowl Ski and Bike Park, guided by professional ski instructors.

This place is great for hiking and biking for an exciting outdoor adventure during the summer.

Make sure to include the Elko SnoBowl Ski and Bike Park on your itinerary for exciting activities, whatever the weather may be!

Discover Cowboy Traditions and Heritage at the Cowboy Arts and Gear Museum

If the cowboy culture in the American West fascinates you, then you shouldn't miss out on an interesting trip to the Cowboy Arts and Gear Museum.

This quaint museum in Elko showcases ranching and cowboy lifestyles' rich traditions and heritage.

Discover the origins of cowboys in the American West and learn about how they became influential in the region.

The Cowboy Arts and Gear Museum houses cowboy artifacts and crafts; they also organize programs to educate locals and visitors.

Make sure to visit this historic gem in Elko and be fascinated with the museum's educational displays.

Test Your Lucky Stars at the Gold Dust West Elko Casino

Night view of Gold Dust West Elko Casino
Famartin, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A trip to Nevada won't be complete without spending a night of games and drinks at the casino.

The Gold Dust West is the perfect pit stop in the city if you're looking for world-class entertainment.

Enjoy endless excitement in the casino, where you can try your luck in the variety of games they offer.

Pair your night of games with great foods and delightful beverages from their restaurant that serves top-notch cuisine.

If you are looking for a place to crash without missing out on the action, the Gold Dust West also accommodates overnight stays for guests.

Spend the Night Watching Thrilling Car Races at the Summit Raceway

If the sound of roaring gears excites you, then you should definitely get a ticket for a car racing show at the Summit Raceway!

This raceway is located along Errecart Boulevard in Elko, where you can enjoy the thrill of watching racing shows.

Spend the night choosing a car of your favorite and see if your favorite car wins the race.

Aside from the racing shows, you can pair your fun with great foods and drinks for a filling experience at the raceway.

Don't forget to spend a night at Summit Raceway during the racing season for a cheap, fun way to spend your time in Elko.

Tee Off at Ruby View Golf Course

If you can't go on a weekend getaway without spending tee time at a golf course, check out the Ruby View Golf Course in Elko!

This expansive golf course boasts well-manicured fairways and a strategically-planned course that will challenge your golfing skills.

The Ruby View Golf Course is a scenic course that overlooks the Ruby Mountains combined with picturesque elements like serene ponds, meandering creeks, and lush greens.

You won't have to worry if you're a beginner, because the course is perfect for all skill levels and you’ll surely feel rewarded with the panoramic view of the mountains as you tee off for a score.

After a game of golf, make sure to have an energy boost from their restaurant and grill.

The Ruby View Golf Course has a restaurant and grill where you can enjoy hearty foods for an energy boost after your tiring game of golf.

Take a Trip Back in Time at the California Trail Interpretive Center

A red coloured wheel and a white chest box.
Danita Delimont / Shutterstock.com

Enrich yourself with an educational and interactive experience at the California Trail Interpretive Center.

The trail center is dedicated to preserving historical and cultural sites throughout the eastern Nevada region.

The California Trail Interpretive Center offers a great window to the past with educational and cultural enrichment programs offered for the visitors.

The center features engaging dioramas, fascinating exhibits, and historical memorabilia that showcase the trail's history.

A visit to the California Trail Interpretive Center is free, yet you'll be leaving with lots of discoveries.

Enjoy a Game of Bowling at the Telescope Lanes

Nothing beats the classic family bonding experience spent playing games in the bowling alley!

Stop by for uninterrupted fun in this indoor entertainment space in Elko.

The Telescope Lanes is located on Silver St., a one-stop location for family fun where you can enjoy bowling in their eight-lane alley.

Aside from bowling, you'll also have fun playing arcade games and testing your aim in their pool tables for packed family entertainment!

Pair your fun experience with the classic pizza from Blind Onion Pizzeria and delight yourself with a cold treat from the creamery!

Spend a Fun-filled Day at the Angel Park

Do you define a well-spent day to be out under the sun while having the best time with the family?

Then you should spend a sunny afternoon at Angel Park in Elko!

This expansive park features a 5-acre green space with picnic shelters perfect for families who want to have a picnic at the park.

You can also play on the tennis courts, take a casual stroll through the park, or let the youngsters spend time in the play area.

Angel Park is also a winter wonderland where you can sled down the hill during cold seasons that will delight both the young and the young at heart.

Pitch Your Tent at the Wild Horse Reservoir State Recreation Area

View of Wild Horse Reservoir State Recreation Area
Famartin, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you are looking for more exploration opportunities in the scenic natural areas in Elko, don't forget to visit the Wild Horse State Recreation Area.

This natural area in the city makes for a memorable outdoor exploration surrounded by the scenic sight of lush greeneries, glistening waters, and mountain views.

The Wild Horse State Recreation Area is popular for camping, fishing, hiking, and wildlife viewing.

You can camp out under the starry skies, go fishing in the lake, hike the area's trails, and have a picnic with your loved ones.

Be sure to pack your outdoor essentials and head out for a nature escapade on your trip to Elko.

Book Your Stay at Red Lion Hotel and Casino

Are you looking for a place where you can enjoy the comforts of a homey feel on your trip to Elko without leaving out the fun of Nevada entertainment?

Then make sure to book your stay at Red Lion Hotel and Casino, which offers resort-style lodging where you can relax and have fun.

This amenity-packed hotel in Elko offers all the amenities you might need to ensure a comfortable stay for you and your loved ones.

You can have a dip in their pool if you want to cool off, enjoy the Nevada nightlife in their casino and club, and delight yourself with hearty foods paired with drinks in their restaurant and bar.

The Red Lion Hotel and Casino has been a landmark in Elko for 30 years, and it is an abode for travelers looking for the comforts of a cozy place combined with world-class entertainment.

Take the Ride of Your Life at the Cowboy Corridor

If you want to experience the real-deal American West experience, then take the Cowboy Corridor on the way to the city of Elko!

Gear up and rocket your way across I-80 Nevada for the most memorable road tripping that will take you through the towns with rich Western roots.

A scenic drive through Cowboy Corridor will lead you to interesting roadside attractions and a remarkable array of museums and cultural centers.

You can also stop by for some grubs to enjoy in classic Basque restaurants, spend the night in ghost town B&Bs, and traverse through the scenic sight of the Ruby Mountains.

Amp up your American West experience on your trip to Nevada by going on a road trip through the Cowboy Corridor!

Final Thoughts

The quaint city of Elko is the perfect getaway destination to fill your trip with exciting outdoor adventures, cultural enrichment, and world-class entertainment.

If you’re planning a trip to this city in Nevada soon, make sure to reference this list so you won’t miss out on the best things to do in Elko!