Fort Churchill, Nevada, was built to protect the early settlers. Construction on the fort began in July 1860 and was completed the following year. The fort was a supply depot for the Union Army during the American Civil War, with 200 soldiers stationed at the fort.
Most of Fort Churchill was abandoned by the late 1860s, and the buildings were sold at an auction for $750. A once important military outpost and pony express station was left to decay in the hot desert sun.
In 1961 the fort was once again acquired by the state and proclaimed a Nevada state historic site.
Visiting Fort Churchill Nevada
Today the Fort ruins are kept in a state of arrested decay. Visitors can walk through the old fort and imagine what life was like back in its hay day.
Fort Churchill has a visitor center that has exhibits on the history of Fort Churchill and twice a year, and the Nevada Civil War volunteers put on a civil war encampment at Fort Churchill. Fort Churchill State historic park includes trails, a campground, a picnic area, and a group-use area.
The Pony Express and the Overland Telegraph once passed through this area, and nearby Buckland Station was a Pony Express stop. Facilities include trails, a campground, picnic area, group use area, and access areas to the Carson River.
Visitors enjoy hiking, historical and environmental education, camping, picnicking, photography, horseback riding, and canoeing.
Northeast of the fort, the Carson River Ranches was purchased in 1995 by Nevada State Parks. This area was once privately owned working ranches.
Fort Churchill Nevada Visitor Center has exhibits on the history of Fort Churchill, Native Americans that inhabited the area, and natural features of the surrounding countryside.
Within the grounds is a 20-site campground is situated along the Carson River within a grove of cottonwood trees with an adjacent group camp and day-use picnic area. There is a primitive camp further along the Carson River in the Carson River Ranches unit.
Hiking trails include a self-guided trail around the fort ruins with interpretive signs explaining each of the buildings. The Orchard Trail runs along the Carson River from the campground to Buckland Station. A trail runs the length of the Carson River in the Carson River Ranches unit.
Where is Fort Churchill Nevada
Fort Churchill is located along the Carson River, eight miles south of Silver Springs on US 95A. The park is situated 40 miles east of Carson City and 36 miles west of Fallon.
Summers at the fort are hot, with daytime highs of 94°F and nighttime lows of 58°F in July. Winters are cold with occasional snow. Fort Churchill is out in the middle of nowhere, but if you have the time, it’s defiantly worth the drive.
Plan on spending a full day if you are coming from the Reno – Carson City area of Nevada.
Fort Churchill State Historical Park 1000 Highway 95 Silver Springs, Nevada. An entrance fee is charged to enter the park, with additional camping fees. Current fees are posted at the park entrance.