RV parks are available in Austin and more camping facilities are available in the nearby national forest.
In the twenty-five years between 1862, with the discovery of rich veins of silver, and 1887, approximately $20 million worth of silver was mined in the Pony Canyon area where the town of Austin, Nevada, sprang up. This abrupt and enormous strike resulted in the quick establishment of a thriving city with 6,000 inhabitants, almost 400 houses, three churches, doctors, lawyers, bankers and squatters. The Austin of the present time is a small unincorporated community with a climate moderated by its sheltered location in a state known for its unrelieved stretches of desert and the accompanying blistering heat.
By 1911 the silver had run out. Austin today is the unofficial Turquoise Capital of Nevada, sitting almost centrally in a region rich in turquoise mines. Some local shops even have their own mines which contribute their treasures to the local industry. Different types of turquoise are found in a twelve-mile radius surrounding Austin, among them a high altitude variety from the Blue Gem mine which is difficult to mine in the cold weather and all the more precious as a result. Lander Blue, named for the county in which Austin is located, is a famous variety known for its rich deep blue colour and dark spiderweb veining. It is said to be the rarest type in the world.
For these and other reasons, Austin is an important tourist attraction. Its status as a living ghost town with many buildings which linger in various stages of repair or ruin, along with modern motels and restaurants, make it a fascinating place to visit.
- natural hot springs
- Hickison Petroglyph Recreational Area
- Stokes Castle
- living ghost town with many buildings built during the silver rush
- restoration of original buildings to benefit local needs and tourist industry
- Arc Dome Wilderness: trails, wildlife, mountains
- Alta Toquima Wilderness: mountains, canyons, tablelands, desert-alpine plants
- Table Mountain: trail riding, hiking, birds, grazing herds, wildflowers
- two golf courses, Round Mountain and Mountain View