Virginia and Truckee Railroad

The Virginia and Truckee Railroad is a historic railway in Nevada, renowned for its role in transporting ore during the Comstock Lode mining boom of the late 19th century. The railroad connects Reno to Carson City and up to Virginia City and the mines of the Comstock Load, and down to the city of Minden, Nevada. The standard gauge rail consisted of about 60 miles and track. Today, much of the track is removed with a small railway offering passengers a historic experience between Carson City and Virginia City.

Built in 1872, the Virginia & Truckee No. 11, the “Reno” was the V&T’s first true passenger engine. It was the pride of the fleet, and was assigned to the pull the “Lightning Express,” the V&T’s premier train in the 1800s. The engine was damaged by a fire in 1995, and is currently undergoing restoration by the V&T.


Established in 1869, the V&T initially served as a means to transport silver ore from the mines of the Comstock Lode, located near Virginia City, to stamp mills in Carson City for processing. Its construction was driven by the need for efficient transportation of the abundant ore extracted from the rich silver mines of the region.

Under the direction of engineers like William Sharon and Theodore Judah, the V&T rapidly expanded its operations, stretching its lines to reach other mining towns such as Gold Hill and Dayton. The railroad’s success not only facilitated the transport of precious ore but also stimulated the growth of settlements along its route and provided essential passenger and freight services to the burgeoning communities of the Comstock.

The Crown Point Trestle crossed the Crown Point Ravine in Gold Hill. It was finished in November 1869, and stayed up until 1936. Here a Virginia City-bound train crosses the trestle in the 1880s.
The Crown Point Trestle crossed the Crown Point Ravine in Gold Hill. It was finished in November 1869, and stayed up until 1936. Here a Virginia City-bound train crosses the trestle in the 1880s.

The V&T gained renown for its engineering feats, including its crossing of the daunting Carson Range via the scenic and challenging Carson Pass route. The railroad’s iconic trestles, such as the 75-foot-high Crown Point Trestle, became symbols of the daring construction projects undertaken to connect Nevada’s mining districts.

Throughout its operational years, the V&T weathered various challenges, including economic downturns, labor disputes, and the decline of mining activities in the area. However, it continued to adapt and diversify its services, expanding into tourism and freight transportation beyond the mining industry.

The railroad faced a significant setback with the decline of the Comstock Lode and the subsequent closure of many mines in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. However, it found new life through tourism, offering scenic excursions through the picturesque landscapes of the Carson River Canyon and the Virginia City foothills.

In the mid-20th century, the V&T ceased its regular operations due to changing economic conditions and the rise of automobile travel. However, its legacy was preserved through the efforts of preservationists and enthusiasts who worked tirelessly to restore and maintain its historic routes, locomotives, and rolling stock.

The Railroad Today

Today, the Virginia and Truckee Railroad stands as a beloved historic attraction, offering visitors a glimpse into Nevada’s rich mining heritage and the golden age of railroading in the American West. Its meticulously restored steam locomotives, vintage passenger cars, and scenic journeys continue to captivate passengers, preserving the spirit of adventure and enterprise that defined the railroad’s illustrious past.

Virginia and Truckee Historic Route

Railroad Summary

NameVirginia and Truckee Railroad
LocationWashoe County,
Carson City,
Douglas County
LengthApproximately 60 miles
GaugeStandard Gauge – 4 feet 8.5 inches (1,435 mm)
Years of Operation1870 – 1950
1976 – Current


Devil’s Gate – Nevada State Historic Marker 223

Devil’s Gate, located in Lyon County, Nevada, is a striking natural landmark renowned for its rugged and otherworldly beauty. The geologic landmark is recognized as Nevada State Historic Marker number 223. Devil’s Gate is an impressive rock formation located along Nevada State Route 342 outside of Silver City, Nevada. The gate to Gold Canyon was carved by the forces of nature over thousands of years.

Devil's Gate near Silver City. This was a toll road on the way to Virginia City.
Devil’s Gate near Silver City. This was a toll road on the way to Virginia City.

Nevada State Historic Marker 223

Nevada State Historical Markers identify significant places of interest in Nevada’s history. The Nevada State Legislature started the program in 1967 to bring the state’s heritage to the public’s attention with on-site markers. These roadside markers bring attention to the places, people, and events that make up Nevada’s heritage. They are as diverse as the counties they are located within and range from the typical mining boom and bust town to the largest and most accessible petroglyph sites in Northern Nevada Budget cuts to the program caused the program to become dormant in 2009. Many of the markers are lost or damaged.

It gives … “a forcible impression of the unhallowed character of the place.” J. Ross Browne . 1860

This rugged reef of metamorphic rock was once one of the famous landmarks of the Nevada Territory.  In June of 1850, John Orr and Nicholas Kelly unearthed a gold nugget nearby, the first ever found in Gold Canyon.  For the next ten years, the can was the scene of placer mining and one of the first stamp mills in the Territory was erected just to the south of Devil’s Gate during the summer of 1860.

During the brief Paiute War of May, 1860, the people of Silver City built a stone battlement atop the eastern summit and constructed a wooden cannon for protection.

Devil’s Gate marks the boundary line between Storey and Lyon Counties.  Through this narrow gorge paraded thousands of the most adventurous souls of the mining West as they made their way to the gold and silver mines of the Comstock Lode.






Devil’s Gate Historic Marker Map

Nevada State Historic Marker number two hundred twenty three is location on the western side of Nevada State Route near the geologic feature. The marker is just north of Silver City, Nevada.

Devil's Gate as seen from the townsite of Silver City. State Route 342 goes through the "gate" on its way to Virginia City. Original view is circa 1866
Devil’s Gate as seen from the townsite of Silver City. State Route 342 goes through the “gate” on its way to Virginia City. Original view is circa 1866

Nevada State Historic Marker Summary

NameDevil’s Gate
LocationLyon County, Nevada
Latitude, Longitude39.2667, -119.6419
Nevada State Historic Marker 223


Ludwig Nevada

Ludwig Nevada is a ghost Town is a historic site located in Lyon County, Nevada. The town was founded in the late 1800s by John Ludwig, a German immigrant who came to the area in search of fortune during the mining boom that swept across the western United States.

Ludwig was originally a hub of commerce for the surrounding area. The town was strategically located at the junction of several important transportation routes, making it a popular stopover point for travelers and a center of trade for local farmers and ranchers. The town’s economy was driven by the mining industry, which brought many people to the area in search of work and opportunity.

At its peak, the town own was a bustling community with several hundred residents. The town had a number of businesses, including a general store, a post office, a hotel, and a saloon. The town also had a school, a church, and several residences.

However, as the mining industry declined and the region’s population dwindled, Ludwig began to fade into obscurity. By the early 20th century, the town was largely abandoned, and many of its buildings had fallen into disrepair.

In the decades that followed, the town became a popular destination for ghost hunters and history buffs. The Ludwig Historical Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the town’s heritage, was founded in the 1980s. Since then, the society has worked tirelessly to restore the town’s buildings and promote its history and culture.

Today, the Ludwig ghost town is a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors from around the world who come to explore its historic buildings and learn about the town’s colorful past. The town’s schoolhouse and church have been restored and are open to the public, providing a glimpse into the daily lives of the town’s residents.

Visitors to Ludwig can also explore a number of other historic buildings, including the old general store, the post office, and several residences. The town’s saloon, which was partially destroyed by fire in the 1990s, has also been partially restored and is a popular attraction.

In addition to its historic buildings, Ludwig Ghost Town is also home to a number of events and activities throughout the year. The town hosts an annual Ghost Town Days festival, which features live music, food vendors, and a variety of historical exhibits and demonstrations. Visitors can also take guided tours of the town and learn about its history and heritage from knowledgeable local guides.

Overall, Ludwig Ghost Town is a fascinating and unique destination that offers a glimpse into the history and culture of Nevada’s mining towns. Its well-preserved buildings, educational exhibits, and lively events make it a must-see destination for history buffs and anyone interested in exploring the rich heritage of the American West.

Ludwig Ghost Town Summary

NameLudwig Nevada
Also Known AsMorning Star, Morningstar
LocationDouglas County
Latitude, Longitude38.9551, -119.2758
Elevation5,169 Feet
Years Active1907-1930
Post OfficeMorningstar Post Office June 1908 – November 1911,
Ludwig Post Office November 1911 – July 1932

Ludwig Trail Map

Dayton Station – Pony Express

Dayton, Nevada is a small unincorporated community, and the location of the Dayton Station Pony Express stop in Lyon County, Nevada. The little town of Dayton is also Nevada State Historic Marker #7.

Union Hotel, Dayton, built in the early 1870s - Chester Barton collection
Union Hotel, Dayton, built in the early 1870s – Chester Barton collection

Many historical sources generally agree on the identity of Dayton as a Pony Express stop. In 1859 the Comstock Lode attracted 2,500 people to Dayton and made it a prosperous small town. Dayton had two Pony Express stations. The first existed in a building known as Spafford’s Hall Station, which had opened in 1851. Soon after the Pony Express began, the station moved to a new building that also housed stage activities.

When Richard Burton visited Dayton on October 19, 1860, he described a town that had already lost the gold-rush excitement of the previous year. A gravel pit now occupies the site of Spafford’s Hall Station, and the Union Hotel stands at the second Pony Express station site.

Dayton, Nevada courthouse built in 1864. - Chester Barton collection
Dayton, Nevada courthouse built in 1864. – Chester Barton collection

Dayton Map

Dayton Town Summary

NameDayton Station
LocationLyon County, Nevada
Latitude, Longitude39.2363, -119.5874
NPS Station Number163
Next Westbound StationCarson City Station
Next Eastbound StationMiller’s / Reed Station

Nevada State Historic Marker Text

Dayton, one of the earliest settlements in Nevada, was first known as a stopping place on the river for California–bound pioneers.  Coming in from the desert, they rested here before continuing westward.

In 1849, Abner Blackburn found a gold nugget at the mouth of Gold Canyon and prospecting began in the canyon to the north.  Ten years later, this led to the discovery of the fabulous ore deposits at Gold Hill and Virginia City.

Called by several different names in its early years, the place became Dayton in 1861, named in honor of John Day who laid out the town.

For many decades Dayton prospered as a mill and trading center. It remained the county seat for Lyon County until 1911.



Carson City Station – Pony Express Station

Carson City Station was a pony express station located between on Carson Street between Forth and Fifth Street in Carson City, Nevada. Founded in 1858, Carson City was was named for frontiersman, Kit Carson. The town operated as a social and supply center for the nearby mining settlements of the Comstock Lode in the mid-1800’s. In 1864 it was designated the state capital. The station is designated as a home station, where extra horses, firearms, men and provision are kept.

King Street, General View, 1880, Carson City, Carson City, NV
King Street, General View, 1880, Carson City, Carson City, NV

In 1860. the town only had one street, which is lined with a double row of saloons, a few assay offices, a general store, and the hotel. The pony express station operated out of a hotel that located between 4th and 5th Streets, near the original Ormsby House.

Pony Express

Sources generally agree on the identity of Carson City as a pony express stop. Little information is available about the Carson City Station site, which was located on what is now Carson Street between Fourth and Fifth. Bolivar Roberts, division superintendent, used site as a base in March 1860 to hire riders and station keepers. Since he worked as part of a team to build or acquire other stations along the route, Roberts also probably helped established the location.

Carson City, Nevada - 1880
Carson City, Nevada – 1880

NameCarson City Station
LocationCarson City, Nevada
Latitude, Longitude
NPS Statopm Number164
Next Westbound StationGenoa
Next Eastbound StationDayton Station