Lyon County is located southeast of Reno with a portion of its lands running across the western border of the state. Lyon is home to mountain ranges, lakes, rivers and a population of 55,808 (NACo, 2020). The county’s largest cities, Yerington and Silver Springs, can be found along the US-95, one of few routes running from Mexico to Canada. Just south of Yerington is Lyon’s highest peak, Bald Mountain, sitting at 9,549 feet. To the north is Lahontan State Recreation Area, bordering neighboring Churchill County.
Lyon County, created in 1861, was one of Nevada’s nine original counties. It was named after General Nathaniel Lyon who died in the Civil War. Its first county seat was Dayton, but in 1911, the seat was moved to Yerington where it has sat since (“Lyon County Courthouse,” n.d.).
Nevada’s first gold discovery was in Lyon in 1849. This discovery in the Silver City district trickled into the Comstock Lode district ten years later, and both Lyon districts went on to produce sizable amounts of gold ore (Koschmann, 1968). Total gold production for Lyon from 1903 to 1959 was 254,722 ounces. Today, Lyon has 343 mines, and three major ones, mining over 390,000 tons of gypsum and 116,000 tons of limestone in 2018 (Major Mines, 2019).
In 1967, Nevada Legislature started a program to mark 266 roadside points of historical interest in the state, including 17 in Lyon County (Nevada’s History Markers, 2017). Some of these markers highlight Lyon’s well-known mining history, while other markers point to lesser-known but interesting facts, such as the use of leftover military-imported camels to haul mining material. Desert Well Station, which had a well used exclusively by camels, was wrote about by Mark Twain in his book, "Roughing it." Nearby in Dayton, the Dayton schoolhouse built in 1865 still stands today as the second-oldest building in Nevada (Las Vegas Old Mormon Fort is the oldest).
Whether you are a resident looking for a local event or tourist looking for activities to fill the day, Lyon County and its communities offer plenty of excitement. At Dayton Valley Days, which generally run in September, one can experience a chili cook-off and the Kid Zone, which is full of games, face painting and a photo booth. Also located near Dayton, one can take a train ride on the V&T Railway with scenic views of the Comstock.
For three days in July, Yerington hosts the Night In The County event, which is a large country concert that brings in folks from all over Nevada and surrounding areas. Also in Yerington, one may find an event at the Yerington Theater for the Arts, which operates the Jeanne Dini Center. This center holds events throughout the year in the performing arts, visual art exhibitions, art education programs, and cultural heritage.
One of the biggest events each year is the Lyon County Fair and Rodeo held in August. This a great family event that includes a rodeo, carnival, tractor pulls, a parade and multiple other events over four days.