If you had to make time, you made the right decision to take NV 318 up to US 6. It saves a half-hour or so off the time to Ely compared to old US 93–but that’s also why all the big rigs go that way, and have done so ever since NV 318 was paved in the early 70s!
For considerably less traffic, stay on US 93 thru Caliente and by Pioche (pee-OHSH, btw). You also go right by Cathedral Gorge State Park, an interesting badlands.
Pioche itself is an old mining town with lots of history. As you head north, before intersecting US 6 east of Ely you’ll see massive Wheeler Peak, high point (13,065′) of the Snake Range and centerpiece of Great Basin National Park.
After crossing the Schell Creek Range on US 6-50-93 at Connors Pass, you’ll pass the turnoff for Cave Lake State Park.
The Schell Creek Range is the high snowcapped range you saw east of US-93, with peaks near 12K feet and a large wilderness area (the High Schells Wilderness). So there are also interesting sidetrips along here!