Denio, Nevada (Denio Junction)

Name: Denio (Denio Junction)
Class: D1&2
GPS: 41.990599, -118.634945
Directions: Denio is 140 miles east of Lakeview, Oregon along Highway 140/Warner Highway. Or it is 100 miles north of Winnemucca, Nevada along the same highway. Or it is 133 miles south of Burns, Oregon on Highway 205/Frenchglen Highway, and 20 miles south of another ghost town, Fields, Oregon.

Denio is both a town that time has forgotten, and yet an important link to the local community and a much needed rest stop for travelers as can be seen from the directions above. It’s literally, 100 miles from anywhere.

Denio is named after Aaron Denio who settled in the area in 1885 and built a sod and mud house on the Oregon side of the border. He built a station here to provide a place to sleep and supplies to miners traveling between gold strikes in Oregon and Nevada. [zotpressInText item=”{WNP8V6D6}”] This station became the post office on September 26, 1888, but only lasted two years until May 2, 1890. A second post office with the same name opened on June 9th, 1897 and managed to stay open until December 30th, 1950 when it was moved across the border to the Nevada side of town. [zotpressInText item=”{USXUUJFK}”]

In April 1889 a farm hand (noted as a half-breed, meaning his mother was likely a Paiute Indian,) on the Sisson ranch named Ben Jones stabbed and killed a man named Cooper. Ben Jones fled to Denio where he was captured. He killed himself before being brought to trial though. [zotpressInText item=”{PFS557VE}”]

On February 9, 1945, eleven men lost their lives when their B-24 Liberator Bomber crashed into the Pueblo Mountains North of Denio during training. This is apparently now a huge destination for off road travelers.

In 1948 Harrison Grove moved his hotel and general store into Nevada to take advantage of the cheaper liquor, cheaper taxes, and legalized gambling. Most of the rest of the town’s businesses soon followed and the post office was soon moved the 200 yards to be in Nevada also. They were attempting to capture tourists heading to Reno, but this never quite happened.

Aaron Denio lived the rest of his life here, dying in 1907. But his town continues on to this day. The opal mines in the nearby Virgin Valley provide a small but steady stream of tourists to the area, many of whom fill up at the Airport/Hotel/Bar/Gas Station called Denio Junction on the corner of where Highway 140 and Highway 292 merge. Many of the businesses in town have since closed though, leaving a colorful collection of abandoned buildings.


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