“It shook pretty good,” Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve said, according to the Reno Gazette-Journal.
The temblor hit about 84 miles south of the Nevada city in sparsely populated Walker, California, in the northern part of the state.
No major damage was immediately reported, although a section Highway 395 near Walker was temporarily closed because of boulders on the roadway after the earthquake, the newspaper reported.
Dozens of aftershocks were felt after the initial quake and were expected to continue for days.
“This would be the largest one [in the area] in almost two and a half decades,” Graham Kent, director of the Nevada Seismological Laboratory, said, according to the Gazette-Journal. “It’s 5.9 and some change – to the average person, it’s a magnitude 6.0.”
The earthquake was felt as far away as San Francisco and Las Vegas.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.