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Pahrump is a dry dusty town in the middle of nowhere, one of those places that you wonder 'why is this place here'.

These days, with a good road to Las Vegas, it has become almost a distant off-shoot of Vegas, but without the glitz and glitter.

 
 
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Where to Stay and What to Eat in Pahrump

Few choices, but reasonably priced
 

The Best Western Pahrump Station, our preferred hotel choice in Pahrump NV.

Part of a series on the Front Sight Firearms Training Institute; what it does, how it does it, and its relevance for you.  Please click the links on the right hand side for other parts of the series.

 

 

Pahrump is a surprisingly prosperous and growing community, but when it comes to places to stay and places to eat, it is clear there is still a lot of catching up to do.

Although the unincorporated township has a population of about 38,000, there are just three hotels, and only one restaurant of note.

Fortunately, although there's nowhere brilliantly outstanding to eat/dine, there are a range of moderately priced and reasonable options open to you.

But if you really want to treat yourself, the best advice is to look east 60 miles to Las Vegas.  Maybe that is why the township has never developed anything special itself.

A Quick Introduction to Pahrump, Nevada

Pahrump is an unincorporated township located on Hwy 160, about 60 miles west northwest of Las Vegas.

It has an estimated population of about 38,000 and is slowly growing.

It was initially settled due to the easy access to artesian water; more recently spill-over development moving outwards from Las Vegas has brought further growth, while water is no longer as readily accessible as it once was.

These days it is best known for the Spring Mountain Motor Sports Ranch and the Front Sight Firearms Training Institute.  It is also a convenient stopping point for people traveling between Vegas and Death Valley, Yosemite, and beyond, and has a few brothels too, in particular due to its proximity to Las Vegas, claiming to be the closest source of brothels from Las Vegas (Sheri's Ranch and the Chicken Ranch for example).

Its proximity to California also draws Californians seeking a convenient close gambling destination.

Getting to Pahrump

Most people who want to go to Pahrump will fly into Las Vegas (the nearest major airport) and then drive the approximately 60 miles from Vegas to Pahrump.

It is an easy and scenic drive on Hwy 160, which most of the way is dual-lane highway with a 70 mph limit and many cars going faster (although we understand it is also fairly aggressively patrolled by the state police so be careful).  You go up over the Mountain Springs Summit (5490 ft - just over a mile high) on the way (commonly referred to as 'the hump').  Pahrump itself is about 2700 ft above sea level.

This is perhaps just as well, because there are no other airports of note for several hundred miles, and other than driving, no other convenient and affordable ways of getting from Las Vegas to Pahrump.

Where to Stay in Pahrump

There are three hotels in Pahrump.  The Best Western Pahrump Station, the Pahrump Nugget Hotel and Gambling Hall, and Saddle West Hotel, Casino and RV Resort.

All three are located on Highway 160; Saddle West and the Best Western are more or less opposite each other on the Las Vegas side of town, and the Nugget is about a mile further west down the road.  So from a location point of view, they are all very similar.

I've only stayed at the Best Western so don't have first hand knowledge of the rooms at the other two (although I have eaten at them).

Best Western Pahrump Station

I can commend the Best Western in all respects.  Their rooms are spacious and clean, and have both a refrigerator and free wired internet (possibly Wi-fi too), and they provide free buffet breakfasts from about 6am.  Staff are friendly, and parking is free.

They are also a firearms friendly hotel (you're welcome to wear your weapon everywhere in the hotel), and you can ship ammunition to the hotel and they will hold it for your arrival.

Their breakfasts were basic rather than elaborate, but they were also free, so no complaints.  Dinner was a very basic/limited menu, basically burgers and such like rather than a la carte haute cuisine.

They also offer reasonably priced lunches you can order and take to Front Sight with you each day.

Rates are very reasonable, and they give discounts to AAA members, AARP members, and to Front Sight attendees.  It is also the top rated of the three hotels at Tripadvisor.com.

More details on their website.

The Pahrump Nugget

This seems like a reasonable hotel too, and is also firearms friendly, allowing you to ship ammo ahead to be waiting for you on arrival.

Rooms have free Wi-fi and are reasonably recently refurbished.  Discounts are offered to Front Sight attendees.

The hotel is a mile further away from Front Sight than the other two properties, but that only adds a couple of minutes to your drive time each way.

The Pahrump Nugget gets a higher AAA rating, but is rated second of the three properties at Tripadvisor.com.

More details on their website.

Saddle West Hotel/Casino

Saddle West is the least firearms friendly of the three properties (you can't ship ammunition to them and have them hold it for you, and you need to sign a special waiver before they'll allow firearms in the rooms).

On the other hand, they give discounts to Front Sight attendees and more generous discounts to First Family members, and they also have a boxed lunch program that is slightly less expensive than the one offered through Front Sight's caterer.  I haven't seen a Saddle West boxed lunch so can't compare them in quality.

They have several different room categories, and be aware that standard rooms do not have fridges in them.  It further seems (as of May 2010) they have no internet in any of their rooms, a complete deal breaker for many of us.  Reportedly the rooms have poor sound-proofing.

The hotel is the bottom rated of the three hotels at Tripadvisor.com.  We don't recommend this property, particularly due to its definitely firearms unfriendly policies.

Staying in Vegas

Pahrump is not quite 60 miles and not quite 60 minutes from Vegas.  As such, it makes little sense to break your journey in Pahrump if you are traveling between Las Vegas and somewhere else.

If you're attending a Front Sight class, Vegas (most notably the Silverton casino) is a minimum of 45 minutes away (time/distance increasing the further into Vegas you go) and Pahrump is about 30 minutes away, so there's not a huge time differential between staying in either place, although we have to say that with the very long and very tiring days, we did appreciate being able to save 30 minutes off each roundtrip by staying in Pahrump.  That time was much better spent, ie, sleeping!

Where to Eat in Pahrump

The best place to eat in Pahrump is, well, Las Vegas.  Truly, with one notable exception, there is nowhere of particular note in Pahrump when it comes to restaurants.

On the other hand, food prices are also very reasonable.

Pahrump Valley Winery Symphony's Restaurant

This is the one fine dining place in Pahrump, and is located a mile or so off Hwy 160 on the Vegas side of town.

The Symphony's restaurant is open for lunch daily, and for dinner Wednesday through Sunday only.  A 'business casual' dress code means you should probably dress up a bit if you're going there, and you should probably reserve a table in advance to be sure of getting in.

Prices are surprisingly reasonable, and the food, service and ambience are all good.

Stockman's Steakhouse, Pahrump Nugget

This restaurant is one of three dining locations within the Pahrump Nugget (the other two being a buffet and a generic cafe, although the latter is open 24 hrs a day) and claims to be Pahrump's best steakhouse.  It probably is indeed the best in Pahrump, if for no other reason than we're unaware of any other steakhouses in town.

Food is moderately expensive ($20 - 35 for a steak in Oct 2010) and they have the annoying practice of charging extra for vegetables, potato, or even for blackening a steak.  The steaks were okay, but nothing brilliant, and the ambiance was mid-market rather than up-market.

Sadly, being Pahrump's finest steakhouse doesn't actually promise you much.  Better to drive to the Silverton Casino on the western edge of Las Vegas for a truly good steak, at comparable prices and in a much nicer ambience.

Saddle West Buffet

At a price of only $9.65 (Sept 2010) the dinner buffet at Saddle West is definitely not over-priced.  It didn't have a great deal of notable food, although the five us of who visited unanimously raved about a creamy style tomato and basil soup, the Jamaican meat pasties, and some very nice Prime Rib.  A return visit in October saw a much more lackluster soup, no Jamaican meat pasties, and some tough dry pork butt rather than lovely prime rib.

The vegetables looked like they came out of a can, the day before, and the salads didn't excite much either, while the Key Lime pie was alarmingly neon in color.

However, for a fast meal, in a cafeteria style setting, it made a nice change of pace.

On the other hand, some people have attributed a bout of food poisoning to having eaten at Saddle West previously, although short of a formal finding of culpability, it is hard to know how much relevance to attach to such reports.

Terrible's Bougainvillea Café, Rotisserie & Buffet

That's a very fancy name for a very ordinary cafe and disappointing buffet at this casino conveniently located on Hwy 160.

Unless you're desperate for a change of dining experience, we can't think of much reason to choose to visit Terrible's.  Downmarket ambience and very ordinary service, plus when we ordered drinks at the table we had to pay for them separately rather than have them added to our bill.

Website here.

El Jefe Mexican Restaurant

Amazingly, there are three restaurants in this mini-chain in Pahrump.  We ate twice at the location on Hwy 160, and found the service friendly and the food good on both occasions.

The food was fresh, the menu was extensive, and the prices were good.  When we needed it, service was fast.  Oh yes, they make a nice margarita too.

Tommasino's Fine Italian Dining

Italian food in Pahrump?  Yes, and surprisingly good, in a nice setting with good service and good live entertainment (including Tommasino himself).  Most entrees are under $20 (Oct 2010).  Well regarded by all.

Website here.

(Another moderately decent Italian place recommended by one person is Nicco's, at Postal and Loop, and within walking distance of the Best Western).

Red Sky BBQ

This is a generally well reviewed BBQ restaurant, at 90 Emery St (just down from E Basin Ave, and one block off Hwy 160).

Its phone number is (775)727-9898, and it is believed to be open for lunch and dinner from Wednesday through Sunday of each week; but our attempt to visit in October got a recorded phone message saying they were closed indefinitely until further notice.  You should definitely call before visiting.

Gisela's Cafe & Deli

Another surprise - this time, German food.  Again, surprisingly good, especially if you enjoy wurst.  Located about 1 mile west of Hwy 160 on E Calvada Blvd.

Part of a multi-part series

Please click the links at the top right of this page to read through other parts of this extensive series on Front Sight and the training they offer.

 

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Originally published 13 Sep 2010, last update 28 Nov 2012

You may freely reproduce or distribute this article for noncommercial purposes as long as you give credit to me as original writer.

 
 
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Join the Travel Insider at Front Sight, November 2011
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What to Bring to a Front Sight Course - Pistol
What to Bring to a Front Sight Course - Essential Extras
What to Bring to a Front Sight Course - Other Valuable Equipment
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Where to Stay and What to Eat in Pahrump, NV
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