Nevada : Safety by City
- Battle Mountain
- Blue Diamond
- Boulder City
- Burning Man in Black Rock City
- Carson City
- Incline Village
- Las Vegas
- Moapa Valley
- Mount Charleston
- North Las Vegas
- Virginia City
- West Wendover
Fernley, Nevada, was never concerned with the bright lights of gaming that made so many other Nevada cities pop on the map.
It was a working town dedicated to farming the land and mining the mountains while welcoming the railroad.
Fernley is now poised to once again stand out on its own accord.
Sitting just 30 minutes east of Reno, with Fallon another 30 minutes to the east, Fernley is an industrial Mecca.
It housed one of the first Amazon warehouses until recently but still continues to thrive with plans that could change the map of this historic town.
One of the biggest feats of Fernley is the Truckee Canal which flows through the south side of town.
The construction of the canal was a massive engineering feat, requiring the excavation of over 20 miles of earth and rock.
The canal diverts the water to farm the land.
Today, the Truckee Canal is still used to distribute water to farmers and ranchers in the area.
In the 1840s, it also became the welcome end of “the most dreaded section of the California Emigrant Trail,” the Forty Mile Desert, a “barren stretch of waterless alkali wasteland” where “starvation for men and animals stalked every mile.”
All that is to say, it’s not the most dynamic town at first glance.
It’s a place where people come to work or to get to the nearest outdoor adventure.
Whether you’re considering a job in Fernley or looking for a less expensive place to visit while being close to Reno, Carson City, and Lake Tahoe, you should know the details of this important city.
It’s the fastest-growing city in the state and could have more attractions in the near future.
Warnings & Dangers in Fernley
OVERALL RISK : LOW
There's a low risk here, but the crime statistics aren't 100% perfect. Since Lyon County Sheriff's Office provides law enforcement for the city and the whole county, the data is countywide, not city-specific.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
Lyon County Human Services provides the closest thing to public transportation here, geared toward seniors with mobility issues. Taxis and rideshares are available but might require some waiting time. A rental car is your best bet, but any option is a low risk.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
I can tell you that Fernley is one of several cities in Northern Nevada that has about half a dozen pickpockets or purse snatchings each year. It's a low risk, but it stands out to me as a researcher who usually sees small towns like this with no pickpockets year after year. Seven were reported across Lyon County in 2022.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
The medium risk is for many reasons, including flash flooding, ongoing flooding, wildfires, winter storms, extreme heat, and bitter cold. Severe thunderstorms are possible in the summer, but tornadoes are very rare. You could also feel an earthquake rumble occasionally.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
Fifteen robberies were reported countywide in 2022, and three of those were in public places, considered "Highway Robbery." That's a low risk, but still worth keeping your guard up.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
This is a low risk, but the nearby Naval Air Station in Fallon could be a potential target. However, since the greatest fighter pilots of the Navy are trained there, you get a lot of extra security. Just know if you see military planes scrambling overhead, it's likely a training exercise.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
Here's another low-risk, but it helps to review the Lyon County Sheriff's social media sites to see if any new scams are popping up.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
Women should feel safe visiting here, but it's a rather remote town with few amenities. Usually, Fernley is a "stop for gas" location unless you're here for work or house hunting. You'll also have a lot of semi-trucks coming through. I know that makes some women nervous, so it is worth mentioning, though there is no inherent risk.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
Groundwater serves as drinking water here, which can come with its own risks. The 2021 Water Quality Report shows no violations and full compliance, but you can always check the city's website for the most updated report or ask specific questions.
Safest Places to Visit in Fernley
Fernley doesn’t have its own travel website, but you can find information on the Travel Nevada website.
The nearest cities to consider researching are Fallon, Reno, and Sparks.
You can also use the Loneliest Road website to find things to do along Highway 50, known as the Loneliest Road in America.
This city is also along several other scenic and tourism-rich byways:
- Burner Byway (people going to and from the Burning Man Festival in the Black Rock Desert)
- Cowboy Corridor (look at Elko, Winnemucca, and West Wendover for more info)
- Free-Range Art Highway
One of the biggest draws to Fernley is the 95A Speedway.
National Spring Car, midget racing, go-kart racing, and other racing activities happen throughout the year.
This is a dirt track, so wear clothing that can get dirty.
Fernley is also just 30 minutes from the popular Pyramid Lake that locals enjoy, but many tourists miss because they’re hellbent on getting to Lake Tahoe.
(As a former local there, both lakes are worth the road trip.)
Anglers love this lake for the large and rare Lahontan Cutthroat Trout.
Pyramid Lake is on Tribal Land, and you’ll be under the law enforcement, rules, and regulations of the tribe.
There’s a welcome center and exhibit when you arrive to learn more about this sovereign nation.
Lahontan State Recreation Area is named after a pre-historic lake that covered this entire state.
Nearly 70 miles of shoreline offer boating, fishing, water sports, and sunbathing.
You can also see a slew of airborne and land-based wildlife.
For family-friendly indoor activities in Fernley, check out the Frontier Fun Center.
It’s a bowling alley, arcade, indoor playground, and restaurant with something for every family member.
There’s a sports bar for those 21 and older.
Veterans and military supporters can visit the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery on the north side of town.
The city also runs 10 other parks in the area, including a dog park for those traveling with pets.
Off Main Street, you’ll find a great Instagram moment at the Bottlecap Gazebo, made of recycled bottle caps and other materials.
At the Flying J Travel Center, look for a spot marked “California Trail.”
This gets you access to the trail that emigrants took to get out West.
You can still see the tracks in the desert marked by the covered wagons of people like the ill-fated Donner Party.
All along the desert road from the very start even the wayside was strewed with the dead bodies of oxen, mules & horses & the stench was horrible.
All our traveling experience furnishes no parallel for all this.” – Dr. Samuel J. Tutt, August 2, 1849
Places to Avoid in Fernley
You won’t find dangerous parts of town in Fernley, but avoid the industrial area unless you have a reason to be there.
There’s a lot of traffic, construction, and security in this area, as major companies have a strong presence.
Fernley is going to be in a state of evolving (read: a lot of construction) for the next several years, if not the next several decades.
If you search news stories about Fernley’s industrial growth, you’ll be amazed at what’s to come.
In a small town that’s already having a hard time navigating cars and trucks around semi-trucks, traffic is only going to get worse.
That also means the town is only going to get better.
Just be patient with traffic, construction, and detours.
The Nevada 511 app will have all the updated information about travel routes to help.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Fernley
- Since law enforcement comes from Lyon County Sheriff’s Office, you should follow @LyonCoSheriff (make sure you’re at the right Lyon County since there are several in America, but that’s the right handle) and @CityofFernley to get updated information.
- Most of the outdoor attractions here won’t have tour guides, so you’ll be on your own to educate yourself. Don’t take careless risks. In 2023, a woman who was looking for her dogs was found in a ravine after several days of being exposed to the elements. Never adventure alone or stick with another group, so you have people nearby.
- If you are considering moving here, you should know the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office is taking a Zero Tolerance stance against school violence. K9s will be patrolling the hallways and sniffing lockers looking for drugs or weapons.
- Look for the “Message of the Week” on the sheriff’s Facebook page. They do a great wrap-up of safety issues, criminal activity, and community updates.
- Don’t jaywalk on the roads here, and even if you’re in a crosswalk, look both ways before going. Semi-trucks cannot stop quickly. Don’t try to “beat the truck” as you cross the road. If you’re driving, always be on the lookout for pedestrians.
- Speeding is a big problem in Fernley and Lyon County. The open roads make people more comfortable speeding but don’t consider it in Lyon County. They run radar often and know great hiding spots.
- Sign up for alerts through the Alert Center on the city’s website. You should also have a weather app of your choosing with weather notifications enabled. Be sure you have location tracking turned on.
- Living With Fire is the name of a website that helps people understand the risks and prevention steps of wildfire regions. You can also learn how to pack a quick evacuation bag.
- Flooding is another risk along the irrigation channel, which can swell from the mountain snow that melts and makes its way to the lowest part of the valley. Even on a clear day, the water from the Sierra Nevada can surge through. The city and local law enforcement will post alerts on social media.
- You’ll need a fishing license from the Nevada Department of Wildlife if you’re fishing on state, regional, or local land. There’s a different permit needed at Pyramid Lake since it’s on tribal land.
So... How Safe Is Fernley Really?
Lyon County has a violent crime rate that’s 30% less than the national average.
Most incidents are related to domestic issues, but you should still keep your guard up.
With this being such a transient town full of interstate traffic, the safest thing you can do is respect the rules of the road and the vehicles you are sharing the road with.
Road rage can turn deadly.
Distracted driving can lead to a pedestrian accident.
There are just a lot of “common sense” risks that happen here as this small town grows beyond its current borders.
You should also use caution at the large gas stations here.
Always try to get a pump closest to the door since that’s the place least likely to have a card skimmer on the pump.
Lock your car, even when at a gas pump, and carry your purse with you while you pump.
41% of all thefts were related to car break-ins or accessory thefts.
Don’t take any risks when you park your vehicle overnight or at a recreational area.
Leave nothing in plain sight. Even if a car is locked, thieves will break a window to grab something of high value (like a GPS system).
Educating yourself about Nevada wilderness, wildlife, traffic laws, and safety precautions is paramount to having a safe experience here.
If you’re taking one of the byways, bring an emergency road kit.
If you break down, you’ll likely be in an empty stretch of desert with no mobile service.
How Does Fernley Compare?
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- Visas - The same rules apply here for international visitors. You need a passport and visa or visa waiver. Try to work the process to avoid an in-person interview, which really slows down the process. New rules in 2023 make the steps more efficient and lenient without sacrificing security.
- Currency - The U.S. Dollar is the only currency you can use here. Exchange currency at home to get the lowest fees. You might be surprised to see that every gas station, grocery store, and bar has slot machines or video poker machines. These will require cash to play.
- Weather - Dress for four seasons of wintery, dusty, and extreme temperatures. Even in spring, the high temperatures can range from below-freezing to hot afternoons and back down again. Bring sunglasses, sunscreen, and a hat. The sun here can make visibility challenging if it's right in your eyes, and it's intense any time of year.
- Airports - The Reno/Tahoe International Airport is about 30 minutes west. It's the closest and largest option.
- Travel Insurance - Travel insurance is critical to having a safe vacation. Even if you're hesitant to spend the extra money, when you see the coverage you get for emergencies, flight delays/cancelations, or rental car damages, you'll see it's well worth the investment.
Fernley Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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