NAS Fallon, NV Image 1
    NAS Fallon, NV Image 2

    NAS Fallon, NV Museums

    Churchill County Museum - This museum has preserved much of what life was like in Fallon around the turn of the 20th century. Some of the archives include a gallery of over 30,000 photos of ranches, farms, pioneer and Native American life from the Churchill County area throughout its history. Exhibits include the Woodliff Novelty store, one of the oldest buildings in Fallon; the Pioneer Kitchen; and fashionable women's clothing and hats from the 1920's.

    Project Shoal Nuclear Test Site
    : This site, about 30 miles southeast of Fallon, is one of the few nuclear test sites outside the Nevada test range. The actual explosion was underground. The project was part of a series of long range earthquake and explosion detecting tests. There is very little to see, but the site is available to the public, if someone wants to say they have been to a nuclear explosion site. Radiation levels are relatively low, for a nuclear site. Do not dig.

    The Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park is a combination preserved ghost town, fossil bed site, and former mine site. Most of the site can be toured. Berlin was a gold mining town near Austin, abandoned in the second decade of the 20th Century. The Berlin Mine and Diana Mine have been closed for years, but the Diana Mine can be toured. The fossil beds just happen to be very nearby, and revealed some of the largest ichthyosaur fossils ever discovered. Ichthyosaurs were large ocean reptiles who lived in the earliest era of dinosaurs; back then, this area was under the ocean. Camping and picnicking are allowed on site; there is a park fee.

    Grimes Point
    is a prehistoric site boasting the largest remaining dried-up lake bed full of petroglyphs, or rocks that have been carved out to make art, in the United States. These rocks are more than 8,000 years old and are thought to have been created as maps or astronomical markers. Though it is a 720-acre park, a trail with markers ensures you won't miss some of the best rock art around. Guided tours are also available.

    Churchill County Fossil Beds allows visitors a rare chance to see dozens of plant fossils that are around 12.6 million years old! The flora, including white fir and giant sequoia, were found to have once thrived in wooded areas more similar to California than the complete desert environment it is now.

    Austin Living Ghost Town - After a Pony Express horse unearthed silver in 1862, the tiny population of Austin, Nevada, swelled to include 10,000 people by the next year. Like the many ghost towns of Nevada, the silver rush was short-lived; it was over by 1887. Currently the population of this living ghost town is around 340 and boasts small but high quality turquoise mines.

    Highway 50 - "The Loneliest Road in America" according to Life magazine, runs through Fallon. Some of the distances between towns in central Nevada, east of Fallon, can be well over a hundred miles. If you like driving long stretches of open road, this is the place. Make sure to fuel up.

    Stokes Castle, just outside Austin, is a ruined but mostly standing stone tower house. It was built by a mine owner, lived in for a short time, then left behind; it's still a pretty cool looking building, and looks a lot like a medieval castle tower.

    Sand Springs Pony Express Marker - The legendary Pony Express riders' use was short compared to its well-known place in history, lasting only from 1860-1861. The hardy rider and horse duo could travel 2,000 miles in only 12-14 days, riding across barren and often dangerous territories just to deliver the mail. Archaeologists re-discovered Sand Springs Station, just east of Fallon, in 1976. Previously untouched and covered in sand, it is now open and the public can look around each room and read about its function.

    Silver Springs is one of the towns in Lyon County conveniently located near Fort Churchill, Pony Express stations, and the Lahontan Reservoir and Recreation Area. With a population around 5,000, it is a quiet place now but has its share of history. In 1859, Samuel S. Buckland came from California and built Buckland's Station consisting of a cabin and saloon. In a somewhat controversial move, he also built a toll bridge over the Carson River, charging $2.00 for a heavy wagon, $1.50 for light wagons, $1.00 for buggies, and $0.25 per passenger. Eventually Buckland's cabin was used as a Pony Express station and housed men on their way to battle before Fort Churchill was constructed. It is said that one of the most famous Pony Express riders, "Pony Bob" Haslam, who rode 120 miles in just over 8 hours carrying President Lincoln's Inaugural Address, was a regular through Buckland's Station.

    Fort Churchill State Historic Park was once an active US Army fort built in 1861 to protect the settlers of the boomtown era while Native American and settler relations were strained. However, after the population boom died down, the fort was abandoned by 1870; the adobe buildings were auctioned off and the soldiers buried there were relocated to Carson City. The famous Buckland Station, a Pony Express station at one time, was built by Samuel S. Buckland using the salvaged remains of the fort. The fort changed hands many times over the years, but the Daughters of the American Revolution in Nevada eventually saved it from being left to completely disintegrate and some artifacts can be seen at the visitors' center. The park today is popular for many outdoors activities including canoeing, hiking, wildlife and camping and is connected to Lahontan State Recreation Area and the Carson River Ranches wildlife corridor.

    Nevada State Museum - located in what used to be a US Mint, displays include a life-size mammoth, a mine visitors can walk through, and the original mint which stamped gold and silver coming out of the famous Comstock Lode of 1859. Guided tours are available at the Nevada State Capitol Building built in 1870, just years after city founder Abraham Curry's dream of the city becoming the capital had come true. Visitors can follow the authentic gold and silver mining route aboard the V&T Railroad travelling from Carson City to Virginia City in just 3 hours roundtrip. Look for old mining spots, wild horses, and enjoy the historic landscape just like the first settlers. The Kit Carson Trail winds 2.5 miles through town, with a painted blue line and bronze markers pointing out Victorian homes, churches, and over 60 feature landmarks. The Brewery Arts Center, built in 1865, was at one time a brewery but now is home to theatre and musical performances and classes on everything from creative writing to basket making.

    Vikingsholm Castle, built in 1929, has outstanding views of one of the most photographed bays in the world, Emerald Bay. Modeled after Scandinavian architecture, the castle can be toured year-round. Visit the Lake Tahoe Society Museum to see an authentic tollbooth from 1859, walk through a 1930s style summer cabin, or view other local artifacts. Kings Beach State Park on the North Shore offers the largest public beach and the only dog-friendly one on that side of the lake. A courtyard offers summertime events and there are many options for water activities including parasailing, paddle boats, jet skis, and even private lake tours. Tributary Whitewater Tours has a rafting experience for all skill levels, ranging from a half-day to a 3-day trip. One of the most popular hiking spots on the south side of Lake Tahoe is Eagle Falls and offers a short, easier hike to scenic Eagle Lake or a difficult level descent into Desolation Wilderness for even more scenic views of the Sierra Nevadas.

    Fernley is one of the most recent towns in Nevada to actually become a town; before 1904, Fernley did not exist. It is conveniently located near a Pony Express station, the ancient petroglyph rock art at Grimes Point, many historic ghost towns, Lake Tahoe and rich fishing/hunting areas. However, before the Southern Pacific Railroad rerouted through Fernley there was virtually nothing in the town. After a telegraph station was established, thanks to James A. Galbraith moving into town with his family in 1906, a depot was finally created in 1914 for the Fernley and Lassen Railway, which made it possible for the eventual passage of the Transcontinental Lincoln/Victory Highways. Around the same time was the beginning of the Truckee Canal, a part of the Newlands Irrigation Project of 1905, meant to bring 1500 cubic feet of water to the Lahontan Reservoir, which allowed for the success of ranching and farming in the surrounding area. How the town got its name is still a bit of a mystery; Hereford, England, at one time was known as Fernley, but now there is no other place besides Nevada with a town of that name.