Management of Subterranean Ecosystems in Extreme Environments
Goldfield, Nevada

Ely, Nevada is about as far as you can get from an Interstate or a major airport in the continental United States. Located about 240 miles from both Salt Lake City and Las Vegas, Ely's rural location is most certainly part of its charm, but getting here does require some advance planning. While Ely may be a difficult place to get to, Las Vegas is certainly one of the easiest.

Air Travel

Harry Reid International Airport

Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas is served by over 30 airlines and is an operating base for Allegiant Air, Avelo Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and Spirit Airlines. Southwest became its dominant carrier in the 1990s. In 2022, 52.7 million passengers passed through the airport, the most in its history. Reid has international flights to cities in Asia, Europe, and North America.

The nearest major airports are in Las Vegas and Salt Lake City.

Alternatively, the Elko Regional Airport (about 180 miles north of Ely) has daily commercial flights to Salt Lake City. The flights are timed to provide maximum connection opportunities on inbound traffic to Salt Lake City. Elko also offers multiple car rental services including Enterprise, Hertz and Avis.

Although Ely has a small municipal airport, it currently offers no commercial flight service.

Ground Travel

From any direction, the drive into White Pine County, Nevada takes you through some ruggedly beautiful parts of the American West. Be advised though, services can be many miles apart here. There's a stretch of Highway 50 where you can drive for over an hour without passing any towns or gas stations. These roads traverse some amazing scenery, but you need to be prepared.

Highway 93

If you're travelling to the symposium from the pacific northwest, southwest, Texas or TAG areas, you'll most likely travel to Ely on Nevada Highway 93 - the Great Basin Highway. Several points along this scenic route will be included in our geology field trips. Be prepared for warm weather in the southern part of the state, but don't worry - it cools off dramatically as you move north into the Great Basin.

Highway 50

If you're travelling to the symposium from central California, Reno or most points in the mid-west, the Loneliest Road in America, Nevada Highway 50, will be your path. This road through the Great Basin is one of the best ways to truly experience wild Nevada. It roughly parallels the Pony Express Trail, and remnants of the trail are visible for much of the way. Stretching the width of Nevada, the Loneliest Road is a fascinating scenic and historic corridor through a land seemingly untouched by humans. It travels through snow-mantled mountains that reach summits of more than 11,000 feet.

Ride & Room Sharing

As we get closer to our symposium dates, there will be a page on this site that allows cavers to post ride and room share information. We'll make an announcement on our mailing list once that system is ready for use.

Shipping Address

We'd prefer you use your own hotel address for shippping and receiving materials to/from Ely for the symposium. If this isn't possible, please give our team a heads-up so we can arrange an address for local deliveries.

Words of Caution

Most of Nevada's rural highways are open range areas. At any given time, you might be sharing the road with large farm animals, wild horses or any variety of wildlife. Stay alert. Also, pay attention to the speed limit signs. It's not uncommon, especially in smaller towns, to have 3 or 4 speed limit changes over less than a mile. They take those seriously out here. You should too.

We'd also like to remind travellers that mobile service is spotty at best in the rural areas. Your cellphone may not have service for extended stretches of your trip. Finally, please don't give rides to hitchhiking extraterrestrials. We won't refund your registration fees if you are abducted by aliens.

Free Stuff

Need some good ghost stories to download and play on your trip? Be sure to check out the "fun stuff" section of our website. You can also download audio tour CDs for both Highway 50 and Highway 93.

Toquima Cave Pictographs

Toquima Cave pictographs

Burrowed in the Toquima Range in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, Toquima Cave holds massive cultural importance to Native Americans. This sacred site was utilized by the Western Shoshone tribes as a temporary dwelling between 3,000 and 1,500 years ago.

A large number of pictographs adorn the north and south walls of the cave. As one of many pictograph sites in Nevada, Toquima Cave and the surrounding 40 acres were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.

Symposium Merchandise

h2go Essen Vacuum Food Container

It's a double-wall, stainless steel, 17 oz capacity thermos from h2go®. This thing is more rugged than your cave pack! We've been trying to beat up the manufacturer's sample, but it keeps winning. Hot things stayed hot, cold things stayed cold... and ours will have cool cave art printed on it.


JUNE 29, 2023
NCKMS Steering Committee Chooses Ely, Nevada as Host City for 2025 Symposium
Read More


Advance registration for the 2025 symposium is expected to open in mid-2024. We will send an email to past attendees when that system comes online.

Feel free to join our mailing list if you would like to receive occasional updates on our plans.

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