Interstate 80 in Nevada

Interstate 80 in Nevada

Interstate 80 marker

Interstate 80
Red line spanning northern Nevada with a blue line spanning southern Nevada.
Map of Nevada with I-80 in red
Route information
Maintained by NDOT
Length: 410.674 mi[2] (660.916 km)
Existed: June 29, 1956[1] – present
Major junctions
West end: I-80 at California state line
  US 395 (I-580) in Reno

US 95 Alt. to US 50 Alt. in Fernley
US 95 near Lovelock
US 95 in Winnemucca
US 93 in Wells

US 93 Alt. in West Wendover
East end: I-80 at Utah state line
Highway system

Main route of the Interstate Highway System
Main • Auxiliary • Business

Nevada highways

US 50 SR 88

In the U.S. state of Nevada, Interstate 80 (I-80) traverses the northern portion of the state. The freeway serves the Reno-Sparks metropolitan area, and also goes through the towns of Fernley, Lovelock, Winnemucca, Battle Mountain, Elko, Wells and West Wendover on its way through the state.

I-80 follows the historical routes of the California Trail, First Transcontinental Railroad, and Feather River Route throughout portions of Nevada. Throughout the entire state I-80 follows the historical routes of the Victory Highway, State Route 1, and U.S. Route 40 (US 40). The freeway corridor follows the paths of the Truckee and Humboldt Rivers. These rivers have been used as a transportation corridor since the California Gold Rush of the 1840s.


Route description

Truckee River

I-80 enters Nevada in the canyon of the Truckee River, paralleling the California Trail and the First Transcontinental Railroad. Upon exiting the canyon the freeway serves the Truckee Meadows, a name for the urban area consisting of Verdi, Reno and Sparks. The freeway passes north of Downtown Reno in a depressed alignment before intersecting U.S. Route 395 (unsigned Interstate 580). The intersection with US 395 is the busiest portion, averaging 122,000 vehicles per day in 2006.[3] The freeway passes through downtown Sparks via a viaduct over the casino floor of John Ascuaga's Nugget Casino Resort. After leaving the Reno/Sparks metropolitan area the freeway resumes following the Truckee River in a canyon to Fernley. Traffic volumes drop to 26,600 vehicles per day by Fernley and continue dropping 8,400 by the time the freeway reaches the center of the state.[3] The freeway exits the Truckee River corridor near Wadsworth.[4]

Lahontan Valley/Forty Mile Desert

Dusk view of a freeway descending into a neon lit cityscape.
I-80 descending into Reno from the Sierra Nevada

Past Wadsworth, the freeway cuts across the Lahontan Valley. The Lahontan Valley is a barren desert, sometimes called the Forty Mile Desert, from the era of the California Trail. The name comes from the California Gold Rush where the emigrants who came into the Lahontan Valley via the Humboldt River. The travelers would have then to endure 40 miles (64 km) without usable water while crossing the valley, regardless of which of the two routes across the valley the travelers followed.[5] I-80 closely approximates the path of the emigrants between the Humboldt and Truckee Rivers.

A 6-lane freeway passing under a series of underpasses
I-80 in Downtown Reno

A marker stands at a rest area on the eastern edge of the valley, near the junction of I-80 and US 95, that honors travelers who suffered crossing the valley, thousands of whom abandoned possessions, animals, and even loved ones in the desert. Per the marker, this portion was the most dreaded portion of the California Trail.[4][5][6]

Humboldt River

Freeway passing and rail line running in parallel across a desert valley
I-80 near Wells
A divided highway passing through a hilly desert landscape. There is a rock outcrop on the right and a tree in the middle of the highway.
West of Elko

For the next 246 miles (396 km), I-80 follows the Humboldt River.[7][8] Along the way the freeway passes through the towns of Lovelock, Winnemucca, Battle Mountain, Carlin, Elko and Wells. At Winnemucca, I-80 is joined by the Feather River Route; I-80 runs parallel to this railroad until the Utah state line.[4] The freeway is within visual distance of the river for most of this run. However, there are portions where the freeway bypasses bends by cutting across or tunneling under mountains along the canyon walls. Between Winnemucca and Battle Mountain, the freeway bypasses bends via side canyons and Golconda Summit, 5,159 feet (1,572 m).[4] The highway also bypasses Palisade Canyon (between Beowawe and Carlin) via Emigrant Pass 6,114 feet (1,864 m).[4] Just east of Carlin I-80 passes through the Carlin Tunnel to bypass curves in the river.[9]

Eastern Nevada

gantry sign stating "Exit 410 – US-93 Alt – West Wendover – Ely" as a freeway descends into a town with salt flats in the background.
Approaching West Wendover.

After Wells, I-80 departs the Humboldt River, First Transcontinental Railroad, and the California Trail.[4] From this point east the freeway follows the routes of Hastings Cutoff, Feather River Route, former U.S. Route 40 and State Route 1. The freeway cuts across two mountain ranges before arriving at the Great Salt Lake Desert. The first is the Pequop Mountains via Pequop Summit, elevation 6,967 feet (2,124 m). The second is the Toano Range via Silver Zone Pass at 5,955 feet (1,815 m). Pequop Summit is the highest point on Interstate 80 in Nevada. After crossing these mountains the freeway arrives at West Wendover where the freeway enters both Utah and the Great Salt Lake Desert at the Bonneville Salt Flats.[4]


Portions of I-80 run concurrently with three U.S. Highways in Nevada:[8]


State Route 1 shield
State Route 1 - The first designation for what is now I-80 across Nevada, from approx. 1929-1939[10]
US 40 shield
Until 1975, the route of I-80 was designated U.S. Route 40.

California Trail

The route of Interstate 80 was first used by California-bound travelers and was called the California Trail. From the Utah State line until modern Wells, I-80 follows a lesser used branch of the trail called Hastings Cutoff. The cutoff rejoins the main route of the trail near Wells. The main route of the California Trail is approximated by modern State Route 233 in eastern Nevada.

From Wells west to Lovelock, I-80 faithfully follows the California Trail. West of Lovelock, in the middle of the Humboldt Sink, the California Trail again splits into two branches. These branches, the Carson River route and the Truckee River route, are named for the waterways that guide each branch up the Sierra Nevada mountains. I-80 follows the Truckee route, the Carson route is approximated by U.S. Route 95, U.S. Route 50, U.S. Route 395 and State Route 88/California State Route 88.[4]

Transcontinental railroads

The route of modern I-80 was also previously used for the construction of two transcontinental railroads. The First Transcontinental Railroad, completed in 1869, closely followed the main line of the California Trail, and I-80 west of Wells. The Feather River Route was constructed in 1909, and generally follows the Hastings Cutoff through eastern Nevada. It also runs parallel to I-80 in Nevada east of Winnemucca.[4]


The first paved road across this portion of Nevada was the Victory Highway, designated in Nevada as State Route 1. With the formation of the U.S. Highway system, this route was numbered U.S. Route 40. From the formation of the Interstate Highway System the highway was gradually upgraded to Interstate Highway standards and signed Interstate 80. In 1974, officials in Utah initiated meetings with officials in Nevada and California to truncate the route of U.S. Route 91. By that time US 91 was mostly redundant with Interstate 15. Nevada officials agreed and further suggested that both US 91 and US 40 be truncated. Nevada officials recommended the changes occur in 1975, when the last Nevada piece of I-15 was expected to be complete.[11] The 1976 edition of the Official Highway map for Nevada was the first not showing the US 40 designation.[10] Even though the US Highway designation was removed, the freeway was not yet complete.[10] The last piece of I-80 in Nevada to be finished was the Lovelock bypass that started in 1981.[12] The 1982 Official Nevada Highway Map was the first to note I-80 as a contiguous freeway across the state. All of the business loops for I-80 in Nevada use the historical route of US 40.[10]

Interstate 80 is also known in Nevada as the Dwight D. Eisenhower Highway and Purple Heart Trail.[10]

Exit list

County Location Mile[8] Exit Destinations Notes
Washoe 1 Verdi (I-80 Bus. east) Westbound exit and entrance
2.8 2 Verdi (I-80 Bus. east / To SR 425) No westbound entrance
3.2 3 Verdi Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
4.8 4 Boomtown Garson Road
5.7 5 East Verdi (I-80 Bus. west, SR 425) Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
7.0 7 Mogul
7.7 8 West 4th Street (SR 647) Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
Reno 9.2 9 Robb Drive
10.7 10 McCarran Boulevard West (SR 659)
12.5 12 Keystone Avenue (to I-80 Bus.)
13.3 13 Virginia Street – Downtown Reno serves University of Nevada, Reno
14.1 14 Wells Avenue serves Reno Livestock-Events Center
14.9 15 US 395 (I-580 south) – Carson City, Susanville
Sparks 15.4 16 Victorian Avenue, East 4th Street (SR 647)
16.1 17 Rock Boulevard (SR 668), Nugget Avenue serves Victorian Square; eastbound exit only for Nugget Avenue
16.8 18 SR 445 (Pyramid Way) serves Victorian Square
17.6 19 McCarran Boulevard East (SR 659, to I-80 Bus. west)
18.9 20 Sparks Boulevard serves Sparks Marina
19.7 21 Vista Boulevard, Greg Street
22.6 22 Lockwood
24.0 23 Mustang
28.2 28 Patrick
32.1 32 USA Parkway replaced former Tracy, Clark Station exit as of 1/21/2008; serves Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center
36.9 36 Derby Dam
39.0 38 Orchard
40.2 40 Painted Rock
Wadsworth 44.0 43 Wadsworth, Pyramid Lake (I-80 Bus. east, SR 427)
Lyon Fernley 46.4 46 West Fernley (I-80 Bus., SR 427)
48.9 48
US 95 Alt. south (I-80 Bus. west) to US 50 Alt. – Fernley
West end of US 95 Alt. overlap
Churchill 65.2 65 Nightingale Hot Springs
78.9 78 Jessup
83.3 83 US 95 south – Fallon, Las Vegas East end of US 95 Alt. overlap; west end of US 95 overlap
Pershing 93.5 93 Toulon
Lovelock 105.5 105 Lovelock (I-80 Bus. east / SR 396) Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
106.4 106 Lovelock (SR 398)
107.2 107 Lovelock (I-80 Bus. west / SR 856) Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
112.9 112 Coal Canyon (SR 396)
120.2 119 Oreana, Rochester (SR 858)
129.6 129 Rye Patch Dam (SR 401)
138.7 138 Humboldt
146.0 145 Imlay
150.3 149 SR 400 – Mill City, Unionville
152.1 151 Mill City, Dun Glen
158.7 158 Cosgrave
Humboldt 168.4 168 Rose Creek
173.4 173 West Winnemucca Boulevard (I-80 Bus. east)
Winnemucca 176.7 176 US 95 north – Winnemucca, Boise East end of US 95 overlap
179.0 178 SR 289 – Winnemucca
180.8 180 SR 794 (East Winnemucca Boulevard, I-80 Bus. west)
187.7 187 Button Point
194.5 194 Golconda, Midas (SR 789)
200.5 200 Golconda Summit
204.1 203 Iron Point
205.6 205 Pumpernickel Valley
212.5 212 Stone House
217.2 216 Valmy
222.7 222 Mote
Lander Battle Mountain 230.2 229 SR 304 (I-80 Bus. east) – Battle Mountain
231.7 231 SR 305 – Battle Mountain
233.6 233 SR 304 (I-80 Bus. west) – Battle Mountain
244.7 244 Argenta
Eureka 254.5 254 Dunphy
261.4 261 SR 306 – Beowawe, Crescent Valley
269.2 268 Emigrant
271.6 271 Palisade
Elko Carlin 280.0 279 SR 278 (I-80 Bus. east / SR 221) – Carlin, Eureka Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
281.4 280 SR 766 – Carlin, Eureka
282.7 282 SR 221 (I-80 Bus. west) – Carlin
293.3 292 Hunter
Elko 299.2 298 Elko (I-80 Bus. east / SR 535)
301.9 301 SR 225 – Elko Downtown
304.4 303 Elko (I-80 Bus. west)
311.5 310 Osino
315.5 314 Ryndon, Devils Gate
317.7 317 Elburz
322.2 321 SR 229 – Halleck, Ruby Valley
329.0 328 River Ranch
334.5 333 Deeth, Starr Valley (SR 230)
344.4 343 Welcome, Starr Valley (SR 230)
348.2 348 Beverly Hills
Wells 351.6 351 Wells (I-80 Bus. east / SR 223 / SR 231)
352.5 352A US 93 – East Wells West end of US 93 Alt. overlap; signed as exit 352 eastbound
352B Wells (I-80 Bus. west) Westbound exit only
360.7 360 Moor
365.9 365 Independence Valley
373.8 373 Summit
376.5 376 Pequop
379.4 378 SR 233 – Oasis, Montello
388.1 387 Shafter
399.2 398 Pilot Peak
West Wendover 407.2 407 Ola
410.4 410
US 93 Alt. south (I-80 Bus. east) – West Wendover, Ely
East end of US 93 Alt. overlap
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


  1. ^ Weingroff, Richard F. "Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956: Creating the Interstate System". Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved 2008-05-11. 
  2. ^ "Nevada State Maintained Highways: Descriptions, Index and Maps". Nevada Department of Transportation. January 2008. Retrieved 2009-11-05. 
  3. ^ a b "2006 Annual Traffic Report". Nevada Department of Transportation. Retrieved 2008-05-11. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Benchmark Maps (2003). Nevada Road and Recreation Atlas (Map). 1:250000. p. 47. ISBN 0-929591-81-X. 
  5. ^ a b "Forty-Mile Desert: Nevada Historical Marker 26". State Historic Preservation. Nevada Department of Cultural Affairs. 2008. Retrieved 2009-11-06. 
  6. ^ Brock, Dick. "Photos and transcription of markers along the Forty Mile Desert, placed by the Oregon/California Trails Association". Trails West Inc.. 
  7. ^ Using distance between Lovelock and Wells
  8. ^ a b c Nevada Department of Transportation (2009). 2009-2010 Official Highway Map (Map). Retrieved 2009-11-05. 
  9. ^ Turner, Dan. "Carlin Canyon, Elko County, Nevada". Elko Rose Garden Association. 
  10. ^ a b c d e "Historical Maps". Nevada Department of Transportation. 
  11. ^ "Highway Resolution route 91". Utah Department of Transportation. Retrieved 2008-03-08. 
  12. ^ "NDOT News Spring 2006". Nevada Department of Transportation. 2006. Retrieved 2008-02-26. 

External links

Portal icon Nevada portal
Portal icon U.S. Roads portal
Interstate 80
Previous state:
Nevada Next state:

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Interstate 15 in Nevada — This article is about the section of highway in Nevada. For the entire length of highway, see Interstate 15. Interstate 15 …   Wikipedia

  • Interstate 80 Business (Nevada–Utah) — Interstate 80 Business  Nevada y …   Wikipedia Español

  • Liste der State-, U.S.- und Interstate-Highways in Nevada — Dies ist eine Aufstellung von State Routes, U.S. Highways und Interstates im US Bundesstaat Nevada, nach Nummern. Blankoschild ohne Nummer Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Interstate 80 Business (West Wendover, Nevada — Interstate 80 Business Wendover Boulevard …   Wikipedia

  • Interstate 580 (Nevada) — Interstate 580 Route information …   Wikipedia

  • Interstate 80 — Route information Length …   Wikipedia

  • Interstate 515 — Route information …   Wikipedia

  • Nevada State Route 15 — Two highways in the U.S. state of Nevada have been signed as Route 15: Interstate 15 in Nevada, part of the Interstate Highway System Nevada State Route 15 (1929), which existed until the 1970s renumbering …   Wikipedia

  • Nevada State Route 80 — Two highways in the U.S. state of Nevada have been signed as Route 80: Interstate 80 in Nevada, part of the Interstate Highway System Nevada State Route 80 (1940s), which existed until the 1970s renumbering …   Wikipedia

  • Nevada State Route 396 — State Route 396 Cornell Avenue, Upper Valley Road Route information Maintained by NDOT Length …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”