The focus area of the Desert Explorer
website is southern Utah and the Four Corners Region. But it would be impossible for me, being from Nevada and having such a deep bond with nature, the people, and the desert there, to not include information about the state. On this page I will outline some of the possibilities for exploration in the area where I grew up.
Near Fallon- The Great Basin
Since Fallon is my home town, this will be my starting point. The infamous Highway 50, "The Loneliest Road in America", runs right through the center of town. Fallon is within easy reach of Interstate 80, which is just 45 minutes drive to the north. Some of the sites I would recommend seeing are listed below. First I cover the necessities in the town of Fallon:
Food and Coffee
The town of Fallon offers the usual fast food restaurants. Beyond those, there are a number of Mexican restaurants that are worth visiting, my favorite being Panaderia Azteca, located at 1740 West Williams Avenue (Williams Avenue is Highway 50, the main east-west road running through town). They have an extensive menu, two cases full of various pan dulce, serve breakfast and have great prices. Try the flauta plate and a horchata. If you are "downtown", just off Main Street at 60 West Center Street is La Fiesta Mexican Restaurant. With a full wait staff, they are a bit more expensive, but the food is very good.
Across the street and just west of Panaderia Azteca is The Daily Grind Coffee Lounge, my favorite coffee shop in town. Their address is 1805 West Williams Avenue. They have great coffee and dependable and fast wireless. A cup of coffee in a ceramic cup costs one dollar, refills are 25 cents! They also have a drive-through window if you are in a hurry.
For breakfast try the Maine Street Cafe, at 810 South Maine Street. They have great breakfasts, homemade breads, and make great coffee drinks. THey are only about a block from the Churchill County Museum.
Sites to See in or Near Fallon:
Grimes Point Petroglyph Trail and Hidden Cave-near Fallon
Salt Cave/ Petroglyph Cave- near Fallon
Hickison Petroglyph Site- near Austin
Lovelock Cave- near Lovelock
Churchill County Museum- The museum is located at 1050 South Main Street. They open at 1000 Monday through Saturday. The phone number for the museum is 775-423-3677. Visit their website for more information on the museum. Be sure to visit the museum if you are interested in the history and prehistory of Fallon and the Lahontan Valley.
Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge- Accessed from the town of Fallon, the Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge is home to more than 290 species of birds. It is truly a birders paradise. Located about 15 miles northeast of Fallon, Stillwater can be easily visited as a day trip. Although if you are truly interested in wildlife viewing, an overnight in one of the two designated camping areas in the Refuge, or on BLM land just outside, will give you the opportunity to see wildlife when it is most active, in late day and early morning. Maps, guides and directions to the refuge can be obtained at many location in the town of Fallon, including the Churchill County Museum and Archives.
Fort Churchill State Historic Park- Built in 1860 to help protect settlers and as a stop for the Pony Express, this U.S. Army fort was in use for only nine years. The fort was built for 70,000 dollars and sold nine years later at auction for 750 dollars! The ruins are preserved in a "state of arrested decay". The park has a visitor's center, camping, hiking, picnic areas and access to the Carson River. The park is located eight miles south of the town of Silver Springs on Alternate Highway U.S. 95 (95A).
Other sites to see that I will write more about some day:
The Extraterrestrial Highway, Rachel and Area 51-
Diatomite pits near Fernley-
Berlin Ichthyosaur State Park-
Fairview Earthquake Fault-
Carson City (state capital)- state museum and Carson City Mint
Virginia City- Comstock mining district
Photo of road across alkali flat north of the town of Fallon.