Highway 50 Revisited: America's Loneliest Road

Waittress Rouena Leonard cleans up inside T+D's Restaurant in Baker on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2011.

Photo by Leila Navidi / Las Vegas Sun

Waittress Rouena Leonard cleans up inside T+D's Restaurant in Baker on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2011.

Twenty-five years ago this summer, Life magazine named U.S. Highway 50, as it crosses Central Nevada, the loneliest road in America. A photo of a straight stretch of empty highway fixed it in the national imagination as a symbol of the state's vast emptiness. To mark the anniversary of the Life photo, columnist Patrick Coolican and photographer Leila Navidi drove the length of U.S. 50 in Nevada to examine issues important in the rural communities along the highway, meet its people and explore loneliness in the hyper-connected age.

All stories

After Moapa Valley got its wake-up call, Pirates handle Hurricane of Utah

Fri, Sep 2, 2016

Moapa Valley scored on its next possession and didn’t look back in a 25-13 victory against Hurricane of Utah. Jacob Leavitt had ...

Friday Night Roundup: Green Valley defeats Coronado, proves Southeast supremacy

Fri, Oct 10, 2014

Green Valley versus Coronado is one of the Las Vegas area's marquee matchups tonight. The Sun will keep you posted all night as scores become final ...

An introspective travelogue across Nevada's obscurity

Tue, Aug 23, 2011

I drive at only-in-Nevada high rates of speed on U.S. 93 so we can make a midafternoon appointment, and I’m thinking about the road, a central metaphor of all American ...

Who's the loneliest? Isolated highway leaves question unanswered

Mon, Aug 22, 2011

Before we embarked on our trip across U.S. Highway 50, which Life magazine declared 25 years ago to be America’s loneliest road, I decided to learn what I could about ...

Lake Tahoe's crystal clear water threatened

Sun, Aug 21, 2011

We drive on U.S. Highway 50 toward Lake Tahoe, its surface shimmering with sunlight, the hillsides dense with trees. I’m a little confused by all the hippies roaming about, until ...

Kindness of America reveals itself on loneliest road

Sat, Aug 20, 2011

When we began our journey across America’s loneliest road in Baker, on the Utah border, we encountered two woman cyclists who looked exhausted. We called them the joyless, sullen cyclists. ...

Already isolated, folks in Ely fear loss of air service

Fri, Aug 19, 2011

As far away as anyplace you can possibly be and still be in the United States, but it’s right in the middle of everywhere. That was the saying of a ...

In rural Nevada, everyone worries about the pipeline

Thu, Aug 18, 2011

BAKER — At T&D’s restaurant in this hamlet near the Utah border, the talk turns to water almost immediately. “What about our water problems — Las Vegas trying to steal ...


Columns by J. Patrick Coolican

August 17, 2011 · Enlarge »

August 17, 2011 · Enlarge »

August 17, 2011 · Enlarge »

Audio Clip

Loneliest Highway