Take These Trails Through A Living Ghost Town In Nevada For A Unique Experience
Quaintly nestled in the Toiyabe Mountain Range along the Loneliest Road in America (Highway 50), there’s a colorful town discovered in 1862 by a Pony Express Horse. The most excellent equine kicked over a rock during a silver rush, revealing ore worth mining. Thus, Austin (named for the popular Texas city) was born. Now that’s horsepower!
Austin is now considered a living ghost town with less than 200 residents, but the town is very much alive with lodging, dining, shopping, and historic churches and buildings. It’s also home to the quirky three-story Stokes Castle and the nearby Toquima Cave.
Along with peace, quiet and practically panoramic mountain views, there’s another major advantage to having a mountain range as your backyard. Rugged and scenic biking trails—lots of them! There are seven Austin-Toiyabe Mountain Bike Trails surrounding this serene town and offering awesome opportunities for bike riders of all levels.
Whether you’re a beginning biker or you’ve been riding for years, you’re bound to find a trail worth exploring among these Austin bike trails. Go fast, go slow, uphill and down; the trail courses offer a ton of variety. Here’s a brief overview of all seven courses:
Distance: 4.5 miles
Who should try it: Beginners and young riders
This easy trail begins and ends at Austin park, keeping you close to the amenities of town.
Cahill Canyon Run
Distance: 11.5 miles
Who should try it: Those who want a moderate challenge
Start off strong with a climb toward the Austin Summit, then head south along the ridge of the Toiyabe Range. Highlights include a creek, a woodland of juniper, and scattered aspen groves.
Bob Scott Slide
Distance: 8.5 miles
Who should try it: Those seeking a challenge
The trail, which starts at Austin Summit and climbs toward the radio tower, can also be reversed.
Gold Venture Loop
Who should try it: Experienced riders who have plenty of time
The trail follows the Toiyabe Ridge to the top, then drops to Birch Creek and goes back up through the canyon. Highlights include a mine with a winding road, Stoke’s Castle, and a huge descent from a canyon full of junipers, aspen, and springs.
Distance: 24 miles
Who should try it: Experienced riders seeking a long and difficult challenge
A detour from the Gold Venture Loop, this trail is among the most challenging of the Austin bike trails. It is steep and technical with several summits and obstacles.
Pony Express Loop
Level: Beginner to Intermediate
Distance: 10 miles
Who should try it: Strong, confident beginners and above; history buffs
Beginning in downtown Austin, this loop provides a taste of history by following a section of the old Pony Express mail route through Emigrant Pass.
The Pony Canyon Down Hill Trail
Level: Beginner to Expert
Distance: 1 mile
Who should try it: Those who want to go fast
A very fast down run with jumps and curves, the Pony Canyon Down Hill Trail is located one mile south of Austin Summit.
Interested in learning even more about these Austin bike trails? Be sure to visit the Austin Chamber of Commerce for detailed descriptions. You can also check out the Austin-Toiyabe Mountain Bike Trail Guide for a detailed map.