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
If you want to get from Idaho to Nevada the fastest way possible, you’ll have to go through Jackpot, Nevada.
The town’s name comes after its founders fled the gambling ban in Idaho and set up shop just across the state line.
It’s a small town of 1,100 people, with tourism and outdoor activities being the main draws.
Most tourists will never know Jackpot even exists, as it’s on a lone road in a vast expanse of seemingly endless high desert mountains.
Jackpot is a great home base for bi-state outdoor events and is also one of the most scenic drivers in northeastern Nevada.
It’s part of Elko County, but the city of Elko is 117 miles away.
Twin Falls, Idaho, is 47 miles north.
Some of Jackpot’s wilderness wonders are the best-kept secrets of local tour guides.
It’s a good idea to make some friends in town or join some social media groups to find out about these special places.
You likely will never run into a crowd and always have a unique experience to talk about.
Things to ask about:
- Ghost towns
- Hot springs
- Historic sites in the wild
Warnings & Dangers in Jackpot
OVERALL RISK : LOW
There's a low overall risk here, but to be transparent, I can't give you crime data to back that up. Since the Elko County Sheriff's Department provides crime data, the only information would cover a very large county. I have dug through several years of news stories in Jackpot, and the risk is low based on that, mixed with the number of things to do.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
You'll need a car to get here and get around, though some tour guides might offer transportation. There's no train or public transportation and just a few taxis. You wouldn't like the taxi or rideshare fare total for a trip to the "nearest" city anyway.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
The risk is low overall, but use a lot of caution around the casinos. Don't leave your purse out of sight when gambling. I would always bring a long-strapped purse and wrap it around my foot or arm while it sat on my lap or between my feet.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : LOW
Snow, wind, wildfire, flash flooding, and severe thunderstorms make up the risks here. You can also get extreme heat or cold. All risks will come with plenty of warning, even if a wildfire flares up quickly. Use Inciweb to check wildfire conditions on both sides of the state line.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
This is another low risk, but you should always be on high alert if you've won money at the casino. Don't brag about it or tell people at the bar you want to buy a drink because you "won big." Anything that draws attention to your valuables or money is dangerous in any city, including small desert mountain towns.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
This is another low-risk, with no hard targets and nothing but wilderness for miles in every direction.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
Check the sheriff's social media sites for common scams happening closer to your visit, but there's a low risk of it happening to you. You might get some people at gas stations or in casinos panhandling or asking for money, but you should say "No" firmly and keep moving.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
This is another low-risk, but make sure you're educated on wilderness safety. This isn't the kind of area where you want to travel solo on hikes or kayak trips. Always let someone know where you're going, whether it's on a trail or the roadway, and when they should call for help if you haven't checked in.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
The risk is low, with no water violations on record over the past few years. As with any city, check with the utility company before you go to confirm there are no issues. You should be carrying clean water with you anyway for the road trip.
Safest Places to Visit in Jackpot
The “Town of Jackpot” website has a “Visitor” section to explore.
It’s a great starting place.
If you’re heading toward Elko or want to see more things to do in the county, visit ExploreElko.com.
There’s also Visit Southern Idaho’s website to learn things to see and do on that side of the state line.
You have several casinos and hotels to choose from in Jackpot.
Some are small and intimate (and older), while there are more modern ones.
All offer their own unique vibe.
The gambling and drinking age in Nevada is 21.
People under the age of 21 will not be allowed in the casinos or bars but can get into the common areas and pools.
The Jackpot Golf Club is open to the public with an 18-hole Par 72 course.
The desert views can’t be beaten, and with low humidity, you won’t sweat your way through the course.
Stay hydrated, however, with water and electrolytes.
You *are sweating; it’s just evaporating quickly.
Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir is run by the Bureau of Land Management and covers both states.
You can find fishing holes, white water rafting, winter trails, hiking, camping, and so much more.
You can call for more information at (208)677-6600.
Download the Recreation.gov app to make reservations and learn more about the reservoir.
Charlie’s Park is a local option with stunning desert views and an off-leash dog park for those traveling with pets.
You can also check the visitor rates at the Jackpot Aquatic Center with an indoor pool and full fitness facility.
Places to Avoid in Jackpot
Jackpot is way too small to have bad parts of town so that you can explore all the tourist attractions without worry.
If you’re going into the wilderness, get a tour guide if you aren’t sure about your skill levels.
Even if you want to do one tour before trying it solo, that’s going to help you (and the economy).
Since Jackpot is so remote, there’s a great opportunity for stargazing here.
You do need to watch out for snakes if you’re heading into the wild at night.
Use a flashlight with a red filter to see around you without causing your eyes to adjust to a brighter light.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Jackpot
- Jackpot doesn’t have its own police department but is served by the Elko County Sheriff’s Department and Nevada Highway Patrol. Twin Falls County Sheriff takes over the law enforcement on the Idaho side.
- You can sign up for notifications on the Jackpot city website and choose which notifications you want. It’s smart to take a NOAA weather radio with you into the wilderness to stay on top of developing weather, too. You can follow Jackpot on Facebook @Jackpot.NV or on Instagram @townofjackpot.
- Use Nevada 511 and Idaho 511 to track highway and road conditions. You can look at the live cameras, see color-coded road conditions, prepare for construction, or check traffic delays.
- Nevada is in the Pacific Time Zone, and Idaho is in the Mountain Time Zone. Pacific time is an hour behind Mountain Time. If it’s noon when you leave Jackpot, it will be 1:00 pm when you cross the border. If you’re coming back from Twin Falls at 4:00 pm, it will be 3:00 pm when you cross the state line. That said, Jackpot unofficially adheres to Mountain Time, so if you have events like golf tee times or other time-sensitive bookings, clarify what time zone that’s in.
- The Jackpot website has a great list of “Wildlife & Photography” details, but it also tells you what kind of animals you’ll see in the wild to prepare. For example, you won’t run into a bear here, but you need to know rattlesnakes and mountain lion safety (just as two examples).
- If you’re going to Salmon Falls, you’ll be required to wear a helmet if you’re in a kayak or canoe. You should also have a Coast Guard-approved lifejacket whenever you are on the water.
- Never go into a random mine or cave you find in the wilderness. Mines are littered across the Nevada desert, and some are not properly marked off. This is an area where if you go missing, there’s little chance they’ll find you.
- If you are close enough to hear thunder, you are close enough to get hit by lightning. Even though storms might seem to be a good distance away, they can move quickly and spark fast-moving wildfires.
- Anglers and hunters need a license from each state if they plan on partaking in their preferred activity on both sides of the state line. You can check to see if there’s a reciprocity agreement in place, but there isn’t as of this publication.
- U.S. 93 is a two-lane road anywhere near Jackpot, and you’ll be sharing the road with large semi-trucks. Always give them plenty of room and pass only when it is safe to do so. The dotted lines on the road will tell you when you are allowed to pass, but you have to use your best judgment with oncoming traffic. Tailgating a semi will get no you nowhere.
So... How Safe Is Jackpot Really?
Exact crime statistics for Jackpot aren’t easy to find, and even news reports of criminal or suspicious activity are among the odd—a woman who peed in a deputy’s vehicle after being arrested at a casino and a man accused of exposing himself to a child at the hotel/casino hot tub.
You should still use standard precautions, especially in a cash-driven environment where real jackpots can happen and draw unnecessary attention.
The wilderness has its risks, too, so use the Nevada Department of Wildlife and the Department of Transportation website to learn about wilderness and road safety.
Never try to “beat” a storm approaching or think your driving skills are stronger than the power of nature.
There are worse places to be trapped than the 24-hour town of Jackpot if you really think about it.
Your safety also largely depends on how you prepare for the road trip.
Nobody ever thinks anything will go wrong, but this is about the last place you want something to go wrong, where the weather is temperamental and mobile service is spotty.
Use the car safety checklists and have a paper map or GPS system to help.
True outdoor lovers will relish this atmosphere.
Here’s hoping you win a jackpot in Jackpot, but always set a gambling limit and don’t exceed it.
How Does Jackpot Compare?
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- Visas - The same visa and passport standards apply here as they do for all international travelers into America. You don't need identification to cross state lines, but you will need a legal ID if you win a jackpot over $1200.
- Currency - The U.S. Dollar is the only currency you'll be able to use here. In a rural area like this, it's smart to keep some cash hidden away in case of emergencies or small, cash-only businesses. Casino machines only accept cash, and you'll need to exchange U.S. currency for chips to play table games.
- Weather - Plan for a rugged four-season destination with intense winters and warm, dry summers. Comfortable walking shoes and hiking boots are necessary. Don't forget a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen.
- Airports - The closest commercial airport is in Twin Falls, Idaho, with direct flights to Salt Lake City. Elko's regional airport is a two-hour drive.
- Travel Insurance - Travel insurance for your flight and rental car will be helpful since you'll spend a lot of time in the air and on the road.
Jackpot Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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