Elko District BLM in Nevada
Camp Nevada: I’m talking with Blane and Leslie today. We’re talking about camping in Nevada, specifically one of the Bureau of Land Management areas known as the Elko District. Blane and Leslie, how’s it going today?
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Blane: Doing well.
Camp Nevada: So, can you tell our listeners what Northeast Nevada is like? If I want to come camping there, let’s talk first about the kinds of things I can expect in terms of topography and hiking, and what the general experience of that area is like.
Blane: Well, Northeast Nevada is a typical basin, very basin topography. A lot of sage. Inner with various mountain ranges running north and south typically, especially in this area. Wide, flat valleys with alkaline-based scrub to them. Usually populated by greasewood or some other salt resistant species there.
Leslie: I would say if you’re not familiar with Nevada, that the Northeastern part of Nevada where we’re located is very mountainous. It is not what most people would think of Nevada, as being a desert, but out here near Elko it’s very mountainous. All of our campgrounds are rustic and they all have bolted toilets, but pretty much only one campground has water. The rest of them you need to bring in your own water, packing your own supplies and please pack out your own trash.
Camp Nevada: Okay.
Blane: Yeah, we don’t have any trash collection in any of the campgrounds.
Camp Nevada: Okay.
Leslie: If you want to get a feel for Northeastern Nevada, this is the place to do it. Get away from it all. View the stars. No interruptions and you probably won’t see many people.
Camp Nevada: I love that. That’s generally the kind of camping that I gravitate toward. I like to be a little bit more secluded. What kind of wildlife would I expect to see in that area?
Blane: At both of the reservoirs, or all three of the reservoirs, there’s a lot of riparian-based wildlife. Ducks, geese. Have a few cranes. Stuff like that. Some fish. And then obviously your basin like antelope, a lot of elks and deer – things of that nature. So, it’s a pretty diverse landscape out here.
Camp Nevada: Okay. And what are the most popular activities for campers in Northeast Nevada?
Leslie: Hunting is a big one. Most often, during the hunting season, our campgrounds do fill up with hunters that off-road vehicles. Mountain biking. Hiking.
Camp Nevada: Okay. And let’s talk a little bit about the campgrounds. Now, you manage Taber Campground, Wilson Wildhurst, and Zunino. We’ll just say I’m close enough on all those pronunciations. Why don’t you walk us through each one of those campgrounds and sort of what they’re like and what the area around them is like?
Blane: Okay, I’ll start with Taber because that’s the one I’m most closely affiliated with. Taber Creek Campground has 14 fee sites in the area. The highlights of Taber Creek is the creek itself, which is home to various fish species, and beaver. Seasonal there’s some rafters that nest in the trees along the creek there. We have three vault toilets to serve the public, and then various fire rings and picnic tables scattered up and down the road that actually is the campground.
Camp Nevada: Okay. How about Wilson Campground?
Leslie: Wilson is our northern most campground, and that’s located up in our northwestern corner. It’s off a gravel road and it’s usually not accessible during the winter unless you have a snow plow, but I think it’s one of our most beautiful camp spots. It’s on a reservoir and it’s only — day use fees are two dollars per vehicle. Camping fees are four dollars per night.
Camp Nevada: Not going to break the bank.
Leslie: No. There’s vaulted toilets. There are picnic areas. Camping areas with fire rings. And there’s also a boat launch there, so you can bring a small fishing boat and go out on the reservoir and fish. It’s very peaceful and a great place like any of our campgrounds to do some stargazing or just get away from it all.
Camp Nevada: Nice, let’s move on to Wild Horse.
Blane: Wild Horse Campground is just up the road, on the Mountain City Highway from Elko. It has some shade shelters, picnic tables, fire rings. Day use fee and camping fees there are two dollars a night per vehicle for day use, and six dollars for camping. So, we also have vaulted toilets there and seasonally we do have a dumpster that’s up there. However, it depends if it’s getting emptied or if the contracts – all that boring bureaucratic stuff nobody wants to hear about.
Leslie: Probably one of our most accessible campgrounds is right off of the highway and it’s across the street from the North Wild Horse Reservoir, where there’s some great fishing. You can also launch a small fishing boat on there, but we are located across the street from the State Park and it’s an spruce growth there. Really beautiful.
Blane: Yeah, there’s a lot of Aspen and other trees to kind of break and give you a shade from the sun there. So, really nice area. In the past it has been a seasonal campground. We have closed it down at times during the winter. However, in the past few winters, we’ve left it open and actually had a lot of positive response.
Camp Nevada: Okay, it sounds great.
Leslie: And we have a group campsite there as well.
Camp Nevada: Oh, you do, okay.
Camp Nevada: And how about Zunino? Tell me about Zunino. I just like saying Zunino.
Blane: Zunino is kind of our work in progress. There’s supposed to be a reservoir there. However, the dam works are being engineered and repaired at this time. They’re making plans to put in some fish improvements and some other things to improve the waterway there. So, right now it’s dry, but hopefully in the next few years we’re going to get those plans on the ground and operating, and we can fulfill that reservoir up. We have about three vault toilets there as well with various fire rings and picnic tables. There’s access to that. It’s right off SR-227. That runs south of Elko, Nevada there, so pretty easy to get to. Really out of the way. It doesn’t see a lot of views and, again, the fees associated with that are two dollars a night, whether you’re camping or day use.
Camp Nevada: Okay.
Leslie: There’s lots of the State route commonly known as Jigs Highway, and that does lead to the base of the Ruby Mountains on the western edge. So there’s a lot of good hiking trails up there, if you want to camp out at Zunino, and then it’s just a short drive into the Rubys where there’s some free hiking trails and some hunting. And right across the mountain is the Ruby Marsh and there’s some wonderful wildlife and aquatic activities over there.
Camp Nevada: All right, one more question for the two of you. If you were going to be camping just one night in Northeast Nevada and you have these four campgrounds to choose from – Taber Creek Campground, Wilson, Wildhorse, and Zunino Jigs, let’s start with Blane. Blane, where are you going to go camping and why?
Blane: Taber is my favorite, just because I like the flowing stream there. In Northeastern Nevada, we don’t have a perennial stream, and so it’s kind of nice to have that in the background. And then it reminds me of the real Nevada. It’s in an active grazing allotment, so you’re going to have cows right outside the fence there. A lot of good fishing in the creek there, and then the beaver dams are quite an attraction as well. And in the fall you have the rafters that come in. They’re migrating south for the winter, so you’ve got a lot of diversity in a really tight space.
Camp Nevada: Okay, you’re selling me on Taber Creek Campground, Blane. How about you, Leslie? Where are you going to stay?
Leslie: Well, I would say if it was just one night I would say Taber as well, just because of all the different things which you can do that. And it’s a short drive to some of the historical areas around wells and you can go visit an old mining town or old communities. But my favorite is actually Wilson because it’s the farthest away. It’s the quietest. It’s the most serene. It’s got the boat launch that you can go and take a boat out there. And whether you’re fishing or not, you can just enjoy the solitude and you can also see wildlife and go hiking.
Blane: That one’s kind of a gateway to the White Key Desert.
Camp Nevada: Oh, okay.
Blane: If you’re a desert rat, that’s a good place because you kind of have the best of both worlds with the water from the reservoir, but then you get off that quarter mile, half mile and you’re right in the smack of the desert.
Camp Nevada: All right.
Blane: It’s on a little island.
Camp Nevada: Okay. Thank you so much, Blane and Leslie, for taking the time to tell us about Taber Creek Campground, Wilson, Wild Horse, and Zunino Jigs in the Elko District in Nevada.
Leslie: Yeah, and if I could just add, if anybody is interested in coming out here and have any more questions, they can call our office at 775-753-0200. We’ve got maps and Blane, myself, or anybody is available to answer any questions.
Camp Nevada: All right, perfect. We’ll put the contact info in the article.
Camp Nevada: Awesome. Thanks again guys.
Leslie: Thank you.