Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Guided tours
Backcountry camping
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Established in 1860 in order to provide protection to the Pony Express route as well as mounting numbers of emigrants heading west along the Overland Route, Fort Churchill has a storied history of instances of preservation attempts and abandonments, and it was ultimately transferred from a ranching family into the Nevada State Parks system in 1957.

Samuel Buckland, the rancher who once owned the land and took materials from the old fort buildings to help construct his ranch buildings, lived in nearby Buckland Station, a building that was also later acquired by the state parks system

Today there are several distinct areas that make up the 3,200-acre park, and they offer a variety of recreational opportunities including equestrian trails, canoeing, camping, hiking, bird watching, picnicking and viewing areas of historical significance. Buckland Station sits at the site of a bridge, and it once provided boarding for Pony Express horses. Bathrooms and a kiosk with maps of trails along the adjacent Carson River are also located here.

Across the street from Buckland Station is the Orchard Day Use Area, which has historic ranch buildings and equipment along with a fenced area with picnic tables and access to the nature trail that follows the banks of the Carson River in either direction. Orchard Day Use Area is subject to $5 park day-use fees.

Set slightly downriver from here is Scout Campground, a low-frills campground that caters to equestrians.

Upriver from Buckland Station is the historic core area of Fort Churchill State Historic Park. Upon entering, the old fort cemetery remains on one side of the road, while the park visitor center is on the other. Beside the visitor center is the McDermott Museum, which has information and historical artifacts relating to the fort's construction and early uses.

The most iconic area of the park includes the ruins of the old fort buildings that lie along a large square with a trail that traces the inside path between each of them. There are a couple of parking areas that provide access to the ruins.

Additionally, a reservable group-use area, a day-use picnic area, and several hiking trails, including the Joseph Stewart Trail, the Buckland Loop Trail, and the riverside Nature Trail provide optional activities inside the park.

The 20-site Samuel Buckland Campground gives visitors the opportunity to camp beneath large cottonwood trees a short walk from all park features.

Fort Churchill State Historic Park is open throughout the year. A $5 entrance fee is required. For additional information, see the park's website or call 775.577.2345.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Park entrance fee

Open Year-round



Picturesque ruins. Variety of nature trails.




ADA accessible
Vault toilet
Historically significant
Rental facilities
Flushing toilets
Family friendly
Dump stations
Picnic tables
Near lake or river
Guided tours
Potable water


Nearby Adventures

Fort Churchill State Historic Park
Fort Churchill State Historic Park
Fort Churchill State Historic Park

Nearby Lodging + Camping


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