6 winners announced in Nevada tourism campaign

Part of the Last Supper sculpture in Gold Well Open Air Museum in Rhyolite Ghost Town, Nevada.

Part of the Last Supper sculpture in Gold Well Open Air Museum in Rhyolite Ghost Town, Nevada.  (Gold Well Open Air Museum)


Nevada officials have crowned the six winners of a tourism campaign aimed at identifying the state's top "treasures" — and getting Nevada residents on the open road to visit them.

The Nevada Commission on Tourism announced the winners Monday, after several rounds of online voting this spring that narrowed down a pool of nearly 600 unique nominations.

In the Las Vegas area, Valley of Fire State Park won over the voters. The park was founded in 1935, making it the oldest in the state. It's famous for red sandstone formations rising from the brown desert, and features petroglyphs left by ancient inhabitants.

Near Reno, Minden's Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park took top honors. The 4,000-square-foot, 15-room ranch was built by German immigrant Heinrich Dangberg in 1857, and now operates as a museum and special events center.

More On This...

In rural northern Nevada, the Star Hotel-Restaurant in Elko won the contest. The family-style restaurant was established in 1910 and features lamb, steak, and other cuisine from Basque country — a region straddling France and Spain.

In rural southern Nevada, the Goldwell Open Air Museum in Beatty made the final cut. The park features large-scale sculptures, including Belgian artist Albert Szukalski's reproduction of Leonardo da Vinci's "The Last Supper."

Along the U.S. Route 50 corridor, dubbed "Pony Express Territory," the Nevada Northern Railway in Ely won out. The railroad was established in 1905 by the Nevada Consolidated Copper Company, which built the 150-mile line to move copper ore. Locomotives offer train rides most weekends throughout the year, and on weekdays in the summer.

In Indian country, Pyramid Lake took the prize. Located within the Paiute reservation about 40 miles northeast of Reno, the lake is one of the largest natural lakes in Nevada and is the biggest remnant of ancient Lake Lahontan.

The campaign, which featured Gov. Brian Sandoval taking several road trips around the state, aims to stimulate tourism — the state's top industry.