Latitude / Longitude:
4,255 ft (1,297 m)
Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)
Fort Churchill State Historic Park is a state park of Nevada, USA, preserving the remains of a United States Army fort and a waystation on the Pony Express and Central Overland Routes dating back to the 1860s. A 1994 addition forms a corridor along the Carson River. The park is in Lyon County south of the town of Silver Springs. Fort Churchill was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1961. The site is one end of the historic Fort Churchill and Sand Springs Toll Road. It is located on U.S. Route 95 Alternate, 8 miles (13 km) south of U.S. Route 50.
In 1860 a band of Paiutes and Bannocks attacked Williams Station along the Carson River in retaliation for the kidnap and rape of two young Paiute girls by the proprietors of the station. In retaliation a small group of volunteer soldiers and vigilantes led by Maj. William Ormsby attacked the Native Americans, starting the so-called Pyramid Lake War. Ormsby’s force was defeated and in response Colonel John C. Hays and Captain Joseph Stewart led a larger force of volunteers and U.S. Regulars to defeat the Natives at the Second Battle of Pyramid Lake.
In 1957, the fort became a part of Nevada’s state park system. it was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1961, and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1966. The visitor center has exhibits on the history of Fort Churchill, Native Americans that inhabited the area, and natural features of the surrounding countryside. A 20-site campground is situated along the Carson River within a grove of cottonwood trees with an adjacent group-camp and day-use picnic areas. A primitive camp lies further along the Carson River in the Carson River Ranches unit.
Hiking trails include a self-guided trail around the fort ruins with interpretative signs explaining each of the buildings. The Orchard Trail runs along the Carson River from the campground to Buckland Station. A continuation of this trail runs the length of the Carson River in the Carson River Ranches unit. Twice a year the Nevada Civil War Volunteers put on a civil war encampment at Fort Churchill.