Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
35.00 ft (10.67 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
0.75 mi (1.21 km)
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.

The Rock Point Mill Trail is a short trail - approximately 0.75 miles round trip - within the Dayton State Park area. 

There are actually several trails that lead from different areas of the park to the mill site, though the most direct route is noted here. 

Beginning behind the bathroom building at the center of the state park, the trail follows a generally level sandy dirt path lined by stones toward the highway and up to the mill site. One downside of this hike is that the trails are poorly signed and maintained. Though some signs exist, several forks are unmarked, leaving hikers to guess as to the correct direction; it is usually possible to guess the correct direction because the mill is in view and the trail is short. Also, the trail becomes severely overgrown with sage brush in parts, forcing hikers to head off trail or push through sage bushels.

Reaching the mill site also requires crossing Highway 50. While a pedestrian tunnel has been built allowing underhighway access, this tunnel is frequently flooded, even in the dry months, forcing hikers to either slush through water or cross the highway (It is possible to park alongside the road shoulder and walk directly to the mill site).

Rock Point Mill is the ruins of a large mill built in 1861 that at one time had five batteries, each possessing eight stamps. At its peak, it could process 40 tons of ore a day, which was brought to the mill by aerial tram from the area of Gold Hill near Virginia City. Its capacity was large enough that, at one point, it was also working ore shipped in from the Nevada town of Tonopah. In 1882, fires destroyed the original mill. In 1920, the rebuilt mill was dismantled and shipped to Silver City, while the mill site began being used as a dump.

Today it is possible to walk and climb around some of the mill ruins. A recent wildfire, however, has scorched much of the area surrounding the mill and torched anything at the site not made of metal or stone. From the mill, hikers can return to the park on the same trail. Additionally, it is possible to hike a different trail to the mill site by entering through Mary's Garden to the left of the bathroom building behind the park pavilion area.

Flush toilets, water and picnic benches are available at the bathroom at the trailhead.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Winter
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

Park entrance fee

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Historical feature access.

Cons

Trails are badly maintained. Tunnel often flooded.

Trailhead Elevation

4,300.00 ft (1,310.64 m)

Highest point

4,310.00 ft (1,313.69 m)

Net Elevation Gain

15.00 ft (4.57 m)

Features

Near lake or river
Historically significant
Flushing toilets

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

Field Guide

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