This Presidents Day weekend (Sunday night-Monday morning, 2016) we went camping at Fort Churchill State Historic Park. Originally, we were going to camp in northwestern Nevada, near the Fox Range, but it turned out we had an early event on Monday evening.and needed to be back in the Reno area by 3:30 pm. So we decided to hunt for options closer to Reno. We thought about camping along the Carson River and the idea of checking out Fort Churchill came up. We weren't really planning at camping at the park, but when we drove through, the campground looked really nice and quiet so we decided to do it.
We were pleasantly surprised by the campground (we tend not to like the crowds and noise that comes with established campgrounds). It was fairly busy, but people were friendly, polite and quiet. The bathrooms were clean and there were a variety of small hikes you could take right from the campground.
We explored the ruins first thing. The old adobe buildings were built in 1860 for the protection of settlers. The adobes were made from material found in the river flood plains and the rocks for the foundations were gathered in the nearby hills. Lumber was hauled in from the sierras and other materials were shipped in from Sang Francisco. The Civil War made the fort an important supply depot for the Nevada Military District and as a base for troops patrolling the overland routes. The fort was named in honor of Sylvester Churchill, the Inspector General of the U.S. Army.. The fort was abandoned in less than a decade and by January 1870 not many people were left. You can find out a lot more about the history of Fort Churchill here: http://parks.nv.gov/parks/fort-churchill-state-historic-park/
After we explored the ruins, we picked out our campsite and took a little walk over to the Carson River. It was a short walk because I was planning on cooking dinner in the Dutch Oven and wanted to get started fairly early. For dinner I did a really simple wild rice, bean and chicken dish, it was simple and tasty. For breakfast, I did a very easy and simple chorizo and egg bake--I'll post that recipe soon,it was soooooo delicious!
We woke up early on Monday morning and ran over to the ruins to get some "golden light" pictures of the ruins. It was a beautiful, springlike morning. We then hiked from the campground east to the Carson River Ranches which is also a part of the Fort Churchill State Historic Park. It was a really nice little hike along the Carson River and it's a nature trail so there are signs along the way explaining about different plants and animals you can find in the area.
It was a really nice and unexpected weekend getaway. I recommend it, especially for folks in the Reno/Carson area that are looking for a close, easy camping spot. A day pass for the park is $7 and it's $10 for camping totaling $17 for one night of camping.. They sell firewood there for $4.00.
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