Ely State Prison

Ely, Nevada
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Ely State Prison opened in July 1989 and is the designated maximum-security prison for the State of Nevada. The facility is located approximately nine miles north of Ely in White Pine County. The prison was built in two phases: Phase I was completed and opened in August 1989, and Phase II was completed in November 1990. The original design was for 1,054 inmates, but the capacity has subsequently been increased to 1,183 inmates.


Ely State Prison currently has 406 employee positions. The institution is considered a major employer in the region, and staff are significantly involved in community activities. Staff are proud of having a safe, secure, and sanitary institution and strive every day to complete the mission of the Nevada Department of Corrections: NDOC will improve public safety by ensuring a safe and humane environment that incorporates proven rehabilitation initiatives that prepare individuals for successful reintegration into our communities.

Ely, Nevada

Ely, Nevada is an attraction-packed mountain town along the Loneliest Road in America. What began as a Pony Express outpost and 1900s copper mining center, Ely is now home to loads of art, historical sites, and outdoor recreation galore. With its scenic railway, walkable mural tours, and close proximity to a number of parks—including Great Basin National Park—Ely, Nevada is an ideal HQ for exploring this part of the state.


Ely Nevada is one of those towns that truly offers something for every kind of visitor. History buffs go bonkers for the area’s Wild West and mining-era history, seasonally accessible ghost towns, and frozen-in-time museums. Art lovers adore ogling murals and perusing the local gallery. While outdoor recreationalists flock here for its exploding mountain biking scene, fishing and hunting hotspots, and easy access to unique parks—especially Great Basin National Park.


Amateur rockhounds should head for Garnet Hill, a Weird Nevada wonder where gemstones can be found sitting on the ground above a dormant volcano, especially when a recent rain unearths new caches. If you’d rather pick up an already polished one, or peruse plenty of other gems and jewelry, get yourself to Garnet Mercantile, located in the heart of downtown Ely.


Mountain bikers have their choice of epic rides in Ely. Dozens of miles of trails beckon riders right from downtown or a short drive away, ranging from perfectly groomed singletrack, old mining routes, all-day ridge rides, and serious long-bomb downhills at Ward Mountain Recreation Area, Cave Lake State Park, and more. If you prefer cruising on four wheels, check out the Success Loop Scenic Drive—a vista-packed, aspen-lined dirt road that rises from Cave Lake—or the more challenging interconnected OHV trails that make up the Ward Mountain Adventure Loop.

And then there’s Great Basin National Park. Located just over an hour east, this natural wonderland is home to 5,000-year-old bristlecone pines—the world’s oldest trees—dotting the slopes of 13,065’ Wheeler Peak, as well as stunning formations line the walls of Lehman Caves. Whether you spend your time hiking, fishing pristine backcountry streams, or scoping out thousands of stars in some of the nation’s darkest skies, Ely makes a perfect base camp for exploring this lesser-visited park.

Events in Ely, Nevada

The town of Ely Nevada goes all out with some pretty interesting and exciting annual events, starting with January’s Fire & Ice Winter Festival, where ice sculpting competitions, ice fishing, and daytime parties conclude with fireworks launched from a moving steam train and the burning of wooden art sculptures.

Living up to its role as a modern-day mountain bike mecca, Ely hosts the Fears Tears & Beers Mountain Enduro Race, the oldest race of its kind in the entire nation, founded in 2004 and flocked to by pro and amateur riders from all over the country. As well as Race the Rails, where cyclists attempt to get up the canyon west of town before an NNR steam locomotive pulling train cars packed with cheering fans.

Families are fond of the NNR’s many annual themed train rides—including Santa’s Reindeer Flyer, the Haunted Ghost Train, the Wild West Limited (complete with bandits), and a number of stargazing trains (some with complimentary champagne). The recently-created Ely Film, Art & Music Festival showcases modern and classic films around town, including at the historic, Art Deco-adorned, 1930s-era Central Theater.

Adrenaline enthusiasts can take their pick of the White Pine County Fair & Horse Races, and the Silver State Classic Challenge—the latter of which is an open-road race where any driver can burn rubber down a 90-mile stretch of State Route 318 as fast as their vehicle will carry them.

New to the scene in 2022 is the Schellraiser Music Festival, a 4-day fest bringing tons of revelers to McGill to camp, glamp, and rock out to 31 nationally touring bands in a beautiful setting—all helping to fund restoration of McGill’s historic sites and the ongoing development of the Nevada Northern Railway.

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