Dayton is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in Lyon County, Nevada, United States. The population was 8,964 at the 2010 census. The micronation of Molossia is located in Dayton.
Dayton is at the western end of the Twenty-Six Mile Desert at a bend in the Carson River. Immigrants stopping there for water would decide whether to follow the river south or continue west, giving the location its first name, Ponderers Rest. In 1849, Abner Blackburn, while heading for California, discovered a gold nugget in nearby Gold Creek, a tributary of the Carson River.
By 1850, placer miners settled at the mouth of Gold Cañon, working sand bars deposited over the millennia along the path of the creek. At first the settlement was just called "Gold Cañon" or "Gold Cañon Flat". Throughout the 1850s, Dayton served as the commercial hub for miners working in the canyon. In 1857 many Chinese miners came to the area to avoid mining taxes directed at the Chinese in California.