Lahontan Reservoir, with 69 miles of shoreline, covers 12,000 surface acres when full and features fishing, boating and water skiing, as well as camping, picnicking, boat launches, restrooms with showers and RV dump stations. Horseback riding and wildlife viewing are best in spring. Canoeing from Fort Churchill to the lake makes for a great day trip when conditions allow. Lahontan is located on the Carson River, 18 miles west of Fallon and 45 miles east of Carson City via U.S. 50. The park is open year-round and can be accessed from several entrances off U.S. 50 east of Silver Springs, and from an entrance off U.S. 95A, south of Silver Springs via Fir Avenue.
Fort Churchill was once an active U.S. Army fort. Built in 1861 to provide protection for early settlers, it was abandoned nine years later. Today the ruins are preserved in a state of arrested decay. A visitor center displays information and artifacts of the fort’s history. The Pony Express and the Overland Telegraph once passed through this area. Nearby is Buckland Station, a Pony Express stop, supply center, and former hotel built in 1870. Facilities at Fort Churchill State Historic Park include trails, a campground, picnic area, group-use area and access to the Carson River. Visitors can enjoy hiking, historic and environmental education, camping, picnicking, photography and canoeing. The park is located eight miles south of Silver Springs on Alternate U.S. 95, and one mile on Fort Churchill Road.
Dayton State Park consists of 160 acres with typical Great Basin desert topography. Cotton wood, desert sage, rabbitbrush and willows are prominent. The lower park borders the Carson River. The upper park includes the remains of old Highway 50 and the Rock Mill site and looks out over Dayton valley at the foot of the Virginia mountain range. Cottontails and ground squirrels are plentiful. An observant visitor will see a hawk, coyote, fox, mule deer or porcupine. Dayton summer temperatures range from 80-100 degrees F with lows around 40-50 degrees F. The park is 12 miles east of Carson City on U.S. 50
Mason Valley Wildlife Management Area
The Mason Valley Wildlife Management Area (MVWMA) is located in Mason Valley in Lyon County, about 75 miles southeast of Reno via Interstate 80 and U. S. Alternate 95. The WMA area now totals 16,635 acres.
From desert shrub lands to wet meadows, the habitats of MVWMA support an abundance of fish and wildlife that contribute significantly to the biological diversity of western Nevada. The Walker River floodplain meanders through MVWMA, providing food, cover and water for a vast array of wildlife. Numerous wet meadows and ponds dot the landscape, attracting ducks, geese, swan, songbirds and wading birds. The deep-water habitat of the newly constructed North Pond reservoir is home to fish, osprey and pelicans. Alkali desert scrub, an upland plant community, covers an extensive area on MVWMA and gives shelter to many mammals including raccoon and mule deer.
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Mason Valley Wildlife Management Area
Over the past ten years Wilson Canyon has become as a place to camp, fish, hike, picnic and ride off-highway vehicles (OHV). With this increased use has come increased pressure on the natural resources of the area, particularly the Walker River corridor. Vegetation has been destroyed and soils have eroded and washed into the river.
United States Forest Service
The Humbolt-Toiyabe Forest in south Lyon County provides excellent outdoor opportunities for camping, hunting, fishing, hiking and sight seeing in areas such as Desert Creek and the Sweet Water mountain range.
This section of forest is manged by the Bridgeport Ranger District. Please check out their web page for up to date activities and usage information.
Bureau of Land Management
The Carson City District of BLM manages BLM lands within Lyon County. This vast area is ripe for the outdoor enthusiast. Please check their web page for activities and usage information.