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Fort Churchill State Historic Park Exploration Guide

Fort Churchill State Historic Park

Fort Churchill State Historic Park Overview

An integral part of the history of Nevada and the American West, Fort Churchill was built in 1861 to provide protection for early settlers and guard Pony Express mail runs. Today the ruins are preserved in a state of arrested decay within the Fort Churchill State Historic Park, and visitors can walk designated trails to study the ruins.

The park also features the renovated Buckland Station, an important way station in the 1800s for pioneer travelers on the Overland Route.

With 3,200 acres along the Carson River, a park is an idyllic place for campers, hikers, bird watchers, canoeists, and equestrians.

Fort Churchill Nevada History

Historic Resource Study Pony Express National Historic Trail

Sources generally agree on the identity of Fort Churchill as a Pony Express stop. 

Built during the summer of 1860 by Captain Joseph Stewart and his men, the adobe fort housed the Pony Express station in its headquarters building.

Construction on the fort began on July 20, 1860, approximately twenty-five miles from Comstock, Nevada, along the edge of the Carson River.

When Richard Burton arrived at Fort Churchill on October 19, 1860, he gave it a positive review in his journal and named Captain F.F. Flint as the commander.

Since the Pony Express used Buckland’s as a home station, Fort Churchill probably assumed a similar function when the Pony Express transferred its station from Buckland’s to the fort.

The Fort Churchill’s ruins existed as late as 1979, including the headquarters building, and it is a Nevada state park.

Fort Churchill State Historic ParkKelapstick / CC BY


  • 10000 Hwy 95A – Silver Springs, NV 89429
  • 775-577-2345

How to Get to Fort Churchill State Historic Park

Fort Churchill State Historic Park sits on the Carson stream, east of the state capital, and solely some miles south of Silver Springs’ village. Directly off U.S. 95A, or the Free vary Art route, a 95A upshot leading on to Park Headquarters is the easiest method to enter the park. The trail from U.S. fifty on the Carson stream is scenic however it’s sixteen long, caliche-topped miles long.

Hours Open

Open seven days a week, 365 days a year.


Day use entrance fee:  $5.00 per vehicle (Non-NV Vehicles $10.00 per vehicle)


The American Discovery Trail is a great way to experience Nevada’s beautiful and rugged backcountry. The Nevada portion of this 6,800+ mile trail covers 500 miles of Nevada’s remarkable landscape, traversing 14 mountain ranges and challenging its explorers to a total climb of 34,000 feet! Six of Nevada’s State Parks can be accessed by way of this route, including Fort Churchill State Historic Park. Stay with Nevada State Parks while exploring the American Discovery Trail!


Camping:  $15.00 per vehicle, per night (Non-NV Vehicles: $20.00 per vehicle, per night)

The main campground has 20 sites suitable for travel trailers, motorhomes, or tents. Campsites include a table and fire ring, and all are shaded by large cottonwood trees. Sites cannot be reserved and there are no hook-ups, but an RV dump station is nearby.

A camping limit of 7 days in a 30-day period is enforced.

Scout Camp is located on the Carson River Ranch section of Fort Churchill, adjacent to the Carson River. It is large, dispersed camping or day-use area that includes picnic tables, fire rings with grill tops, one vault toilet, and multiple horse corrals. Scout Camp is a carry-in, carry-out trash area. Horse manure needs to be picked up and carried out, or disposed of in the designated manure dump. There is no electricity or water available here. Sites cannot be reserved.

The group area will accommodate up to 60 persons for group camping or picnicking on a reservation-only basis. No electricity is available. No RVs, please. For reservations, contact the park office.


Bike in:  $2.00 per bike


Tree-shaded picnic sites on the banks of the Carson River offer tables, grills, and restrooms.


Visit the Nevada Department of Wildlife for information on hunting in Nevada. View the Fort Churchill Hunting Boundary Map.


Pets are welcome, but they must be kept on a leash of not more than six feet in length.


Fires are permitted only in designated fire rings, barbecues, or approved portable stoves. Visitors should supply their own firewood.


Those with developmental and/or physical limitations are invited to enjoy all of the recreational activities of Nevada State Parks. If you would like to request additional support or accommodations, please call the Nevada State Parks division office. 

Resources Used

Fort Churchill State Historic Park