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Austin Nevada

Austin Nevada, 2-10 days, June   More Pictures  |  Map  |  N39° 27.498'  W116° 59.755'  |  Elev 7,209

Austin sits in the high mountain desert region at the north end of the Toiyabe Humbolt Mountains. It is in the middle of the state of Nevada and three hours east of Reno. There is plenty of wilderness providing uncrowded outdoor opportunities for backpacking, rock hunting, photography, fishing, hunting, hiking and biking. Absolutely perfect place to Vanabode. Super cheap campgrounds including hundreds of thousands of acres of pristine high desert, rocky hills, snow covered mountains, deep pine forests and endless prairie. The city of Austin is comprised of less than 5,000 people and there are the typical small town limitations. Two gas stations, 3 convenience stores and a few gift shop and diner type dives. Great food at $8 a plate most places.

austin nevada place to eat picture on a vanabode trip


Don't forget to ask how to get to the awesome Spencer hot springs sprinkled throughout the area. To keep the secret places clean and not too crowded the locals discourage the installation of signs. So it is better to ask around especially if the weather is getting cold.

Some locals use the hot springs sans clothes so if you are put off by public nudity scout out the area first before indulging. We went in on a Monday morning so we had our privacy.

austin nevada camping picture

Remember when camping in the west it is very dry. Bring lots of water and drink it! This climate makes hiking and camping perfect though. You rarely sweat even when it is hot and at night you don't need air conditioning or climate control of any kind. Their are very few insects here and no biting bugs that we ran into. Most of the ground is covered by 50% grass and 50% sandy gravel. This is nice because you can here someone approach your area from 100 feet away and plan accordingly.

This area and the hundreds of thousands of completely accessible acres of wild country are what make Nevada truly spectacular. You can literally drive off Highway 50 nearly any place you want on some 200+ paved and dirt/gravel roads that take you 20, 30 and sometimes 100 miles into the wilderness. Here you have complete privacy, seclusion and can truly escape normal life. Vanaboding here you can easily stay a week at a time, move 20 miles each day, camp a week more, move again and work yourself North or South depending on the weather conditions.

sotkes castle in austin nevada  picture

Make sure and stop and see the Stokes castle. It was hand made from 800 tons of hand hewn native granite and is now partially restored. They used 17,000 feet of wood to make the interior and balconies so at the time it was the grandest place in the state. They installed city water and electricity and was built by a railroad and mining kingpin. As the rich tend to do, they never actually lived in the castle and it fell into disrepair later on. It is now under the protection of the National Historical Registry. It was completed in 1897. It is three full stories high.

It was an easy but winding and tight drive up "castle road" to the castle near the intersection of highways 50 and 305. The sign leading up to the castle is installed at a convenience stores parking lot. There are also great views across the outlying pastures and farms and forests below.


In the John Scott campground there is running water, bathrooms, and trash bins plus clean organized camp sites complete with huge picnic tables and benches close to large steel in ground fire pits for camp fires and grilling. As with most "free" campgrounds out here there is a 14 day limit, but it is rarely enforced. Unless it is crowded you can simply leave for a day then come back and stay longer if you choose to.

resting in the free super heated hot springs tub in the desert outside Austin Nevada.

Vanabode Special Notes: If you do travel during the very warmest months please do some weather checks because sleeping in the desert above 100 degrees is not fun. We got here in early June and the temperatures were a perfect 70 during the day and 50ish at night. I love this place and could stay here camping at elevation in the forest and running down to use the hot springs every day forever. This is an awesome Vanabode outpost near Austin Nevada.

Click Austin Nevada camping details for more information and pictures.

This page is part of a 20 day, 2,866 mile, Vanabode trip.
See van camping Nevada Washington Oregon Canada for an overview of this particular trip.
Visit travel destinations for our master list of 100's of cool places visited that we have reviews on.
Vanabode travel and live anywhere in America on $20 a day including food, lodging and transportation.

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