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Reno Stihl National Championship Air Races and Show 2018

Weekend trip Las Vegas - Reno Air Races 2018 & Virginia City

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Gear Up for G-Force! A Weekend Escape to the Reno Air Races 2018 and Virginia City

Reno Air Races 2018 – A dream come true!
Have you ever dreamt of witnessing the raw power and adrenaline-pumping action of the Reno Air Races?

Well, buckle up, because this blog will be your ultimate guide to transforming that dream into a reality!

The Reno Air Races were always high on our bucket list and living in Las Vegas made it possible for us.

We also ventured off to explore the historic Wild West town of Virginia City, adding another layer of adventure to our unforgettable weekend.

Virgina City is an old west town that’s famous for 1859’s Comstock Lode silver ore discovery, also famous because of the TV Show “Bonanza” that was filmed there. We’ll talk more about this fantastic old west town in our next blog 😉

Get ready to join us as we share our unforgettable weekend escape to the Reno Air Races and historic Virginia City!

Reno Stihl National Championship Air Races & Air Show
DIRECTIONS General Info Airport Map A few Impressions (video)

# DIRECTIONS: A Smooth Ride from Vegas to Reno

The drive from Vegas to Reno takes about 7.5 hours. To make your trip as smooth as possible, we’ve mapped out the route for you – be sure to plan ahead, especially for those long stretches through the desert!

Click HERE (or on the map) for more detailed driving instructions.

On our way back to Las Vegas, we took a short detour to Virginia City via I-580 S to NV-341 E in Virginia City.

While online maps are handy, cell service in the desert can be patchy. After all, you’re on an adventure! To ensure a smooth ride, we recommend packing the NEVADA ROAD AND RECREATION MAP – it’s one of our favorites!

This way, you can navigate with confidence, no matter the signal strength.


Cruisin’ from Vegas to Reno on a road trip is an adventure in itself, especially when tackling the vast desert stretches. Our route, primarily via US-95, offered stunning scenery, but also limited gas stations and amenities. So, planning pit stops for fuel (or electric car charging!), meals, and restroom breaks became an essential part of the journey. Remember, preparation is key for a smooth and unforgettable desert adventure!


Terrible Herbst Casino Gas and Burgers – Indian Springs, Eddie World Gasoline – Beatty, Valero Gas – Tonopah, Golden Gate Truck Stop – Hawthorne, Walker Lake (for stretching the legs) and Chevron – Silver Springs

Please click on the links above for more detailed information. NOTE : These are all little towns in the desert and most places were okay, but don’t expect anything extremely fancy 😉

# A SCENIC STRETCH: Unveiling Lake Walker

Our desert adventure offered a hidden gem – a chance to stretch our legs at Lake Walker.

This natural wonder is a massive lake fed by the Walker River, with stunning mountain backdrops. While swimming isn’t recommended due to its mineral content, it’s a fascinating spot steeped in history.

The area held significance for the Northern Paiute people, who called it “Agai Pah” or “trout lake,” and relied on its abundant fish populations.

We recommend a quick stop to soak up the scenery and learn a bit about the region’s rich cultural heritage.

Play Video about Lake Walker Nevada Day Trip Las Vegas Reno Air Races 2018


# Essential Tips for Attending the Reno Air Races

TICKETS: We bought our tickets for the Air Races in Reno online on the official website Airrace.org
To get a guaranteed Grandstand Seating, we booked the “Reserved Grandstand Tickets”, but, if you bring your own chair the General Admission Tickets are just as good. 

MEETING THE PILOTS: Head to the pit area on weekdays for a chance to meet the pilots and get a closer look at the incredible aircrafts. Weekday pit passes are also typically cheaper!

PARKING : Free parking is available, but be prepared to arrive very early. Alternatively, consider the convenient shuttle service from the Eldorado Hotel & Nugget Casino Resort. RV parking is also available.

  • TIP: There are shuttles from the Eldorado Hotel & Nugget Casino Resort, more info here: Parking and more

Bring cash (many ATMs are unreliable), comfortable walking shoes, and layers of clothing – it can get chilly!

  • There are many souvenirs and food stands, all of them outdoors, as well as the porta potties.




We found our seats – bleachers, not the comfy stadium chairs we wished we’d packed! But hey, the anticipation was electric! While waiting for the races to kick off, we wandered around the buzzing grounds.

The pit area was a feast for the eyes – a dazzling display of sleek race planes and vintage performers. Military jets, screaming fast jets, and quirky STOL (Short Takeoff and Landing) aircraft – the variety was incredible!

We even spotted a few pilots hanging out by their planes – some chatty, some laser-focused on the upcoming competition. (It’s all part of the pilot’s mystique, right?)

Beyond the awesome aircrafts, souvenir stands offered a tempting selection of merchandise – shirts, paintings, pins, and unique aviation-themed sculptures. Our tip? If hunger pangs strike, avoid the food lines during race breaks – they get long fast! And remember to bring cash – those desert ATMs can be fickle!


# Unexpected Bloggers: Winging it at the Reno Air Races!

Believe it or not, capturing every detail of the Reno Air Races wasn’t part of the plan for our 2018 visit! (Hey, sometimes life adventures take you by surprise.)

But wait, we do have a little more for you! Please check out the video below. It features some of the incredible planes we saw soaring through the skies, aerobatic flights, heart-pounding footage of the Air Races, the heritage flight and even a glimpse of the Patriots Team!

Future blogs will take a deep dive into the incredible aircrafts showcased at the Air Races and unveil the rich history of Wild West towns like Virginia City.

Stay tuned for part two: VIRGINIA CITY and prepare to have your wanderlust ignited!

# Book Recommendations & Souvenirs Reno Air Races 2018

Delving deeper into the world of the Reno Air Races can fuel your pre-race anticipation or become a treasured post-race souvenir. If you’re looking to geek out on the technical specs of these incredible flying machines or relive the daring history of the races, here are a couple of book recommendations to check out:


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