Thursday, December 18, 2014

Highway 101 - Winnemucca to the Sea Highway - Nevada Hwy 140...

Day 6 - two days after Thanksgiving and our trip back to Central Utah...

From getting the sheep in Days Creek, OR - we rushed like the wind to make it to Lakeview, OR for the night. I had rented a room at the "Hunter Hot Springs Resort" in Lakeview.  It was AWFUL and not very clean. Anyway - from Days Creek to Lakeview is quite a drive. It's even worse in bad weather.

From Central Point, OR to Klamath Falls we ran into snow on and off and it was dark by the time we got to Klamath Falls. From Klamath to Lakeview seemed to be a lower elevation because we got out of the hard snow, thank goodness and into the rain. Maybe, not a great thing because we almost hit a 2 point deer. It was a really close call - Yikes...

We rolled into Lakeview,OR about 10:30 pm to a really nasty motel room - yuck~!

Do not stay at the Hunter Hot Springs Resort in Lakeview, OR - Ever~!

The next morning - the 6th day of our trip, we made our push to Central Utah. We had about a 750 mile drive ahead of us. About 13 to 14 hours to go. Lakeview, OR is about the last town before Winnemucca. There are a few little, small, farming communities along the route and that's all. 

From Lakeview, OR to Winnemucca, NV is 215 miles and 4.5 hours of desert. 

The Nevada part of the Winnemucca to the Sea Highway is Nevada desolation at its finest...

We seen 7 vehicles on the whole route... 

And, for those wondering - it's restricted to 65' units. That's because of all of the twisty turns in places along the route. For the most part, it's just desert. It's a good road, nothing to worry about regarding the surface. It's 2 lanes in good condition. It's just desolate.

As a word of caution - there are extensions on the delineator poles in places on this section of Highway 140. If you're not from this area, I would not recommend you travel it in bad weather. There's a reason they put these big extensions on. It's  for the snow plows to stay on the road when they're plowing and my suspicion is that this road isn't well maintained in in-climate weather. It's probably one of the last to see a snow plow, so just don't do it. Make sure it's clear before you traverse it in the winter...

There are a few online forums and blogs that talk about this area of Highway 140 being scary. There are 2 areas that might intimidate some. I'm scared of heights and I would drive this portion of Highway 140 alone. I would drive it towing a trailer and not be too worried. To me it seems like a whole lot of 'hype' online, but I'm from Utah and drive through major elevation changes all the time.

This road is nothing to be scared of, aside from its desolation...

Coming from Oregon toward Nevada, when you get to the first 'dugway' (Doherty Slide,) there is no guard rail - as is stated on some other blogs. It's a bit 'windy,' but it's not 'straight off' the edge. At least I didn't think so. You can see the Dougherty Slide dugway in the pic below. It's just an elevation change, not a major deal.

There is no guard rail on this dugway, but the road has a good shoulder on the outside edge. It's so rural, you could use both lanes if you're scared. I didn't find it to be intimidating and I was on the outside edge...

The next dugway some find 'scary' is a ways down the road, closer toward Winnemucca.. It is a bit intimidating. Again, going toward Winnmemucca from Oregon, you will be in the outside lane, but it's a desolate highway, use the whole road~!

Going down this 8% grade did make me tense up a bit, I'll admit, but there's a nice guard rail. It is straight down in places - yes, just don't look if you're scared of heights. Perhaps, this is the one stated online as "scary?" Neither dugway is a reason NOT to travel this road. There's nothing dangerous about it. It's just a couple elevation changes - no need to panic...

Don't take this route in a semi~!

I'm a truck dispatcher and Highway 140 comes up as a primary route on motor carrier mileage software from NV to OR - don't believe the software. 
Highway 140 from Winnemucca to Lakeview, OR is a restricted route for a reason. 
It's because of all of the tight corners!

Aside from 2, 8% grades (the 2 dugways) the road is pretty much non-dramatic. It's very, very rural, so make sure you have a full tank of gas. There is nothing between Lakeview, OR and Denio Junction, NV and the pump in Denio looks questionable - I'm not sure it even works. The 'Man-Child' did go in and get us a cup of coffee. He said the restaurant and shop look much better inside, than outside. From the exterior, the amenity at Denio looks kind of like the Bates Motel - (=

Once you get to Denio, you'll start seeing more traffic. From Denio to Winnemucca you start to feel like you're getting back to civilization.

Personally, I think this route is more desolate than Highway 50 in Nevada. And, there is no cell service along the route with AT&T. Just make sure you have enough fuel and water and get rolling. Nothing to fear. It's actually awesome to know there are places like this still in America. I enjoyed this part of the trip and it was good to get back to Nevada - back to dry weather from all the rain we experienced in Oregon.

There is some good information at This Link about the Winnemucca to the Sea - Highway 140.

We used Highway 140 to get home, not as a scenic byway. We used it to get back to Utah because there isn't any other 'quicker' way out of Oregon to Nevada.  We're from rural central Utah, so desert desolate driving in Nevada is like being home for us, so it was no big deal...

We had a wonderful trip~!


  1. Enjoyed this "tour" of the back roads. Speaking of 50, my brother Russ and his wife own an old stage coach stop along the way (just south of civilization) called Middle Gate Station. It's the middle of nowhere, but the people are the friendliest I've ever met and there's something about living in the desert that seems to grow on people quickly.

    1. Wow, about Middle Gate Station...
      I didn't see this until today, but we were over by there right after Christmas. Over to Round Mountain, NV.
      If I ever get to Austin, I'll pop in and say hi~!
      That would be a fun place to be...
      I always wanted to be some place green, where it rained. Everytime I go somewhere green, where it rains, I'm in a hurry to get back to my desert lizzard life ~ go figure...

    2. I agree with 8/23 unknown.

      I'm traveling that direction this weekend, but I'll add a couple hours of driving to bypass Doherty Slide.

      There's snow in the forecast, but I hate the slide anyway.

      I've driven it a couple of times over the years; the last time by accident- I didn't realize it until I was irrevocably committed to the narrow little strip of asphalt.

      You'll read and be told it's named a slide due to geology, nonetheless I'm convinced the name commemorates all the people that've slid and plunged off the mountain...The first being some poor bastard named Doherty.

  2. First things first: your pictures are impressive, and your blog is inspirational. I found it by searching for 'OR-140 Doherty Rim'. I recently drove that stretch of road (for the second time in two years). It is difficult for me to understand why there are not more warnings about that section of OR-140 ... it is extremely dangerous on the outside lane, and the shoulder is minimal to nonexistent in many places. For others who may (like myself) happen upon this blog while searching for further information about the road leading to Doherty Rim Summit, check out:

    Be blessed!


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