National wildlife refuges offer us all a chance to unplug from the stresses of daily life and reconnect with our natural surroundings.
Fallon National Wildlife Refuge is a 17,848 acre unit of the Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge Complex, located in north-central Nevada, 20 miles northeast of the community of Fallon, and approximately seventy miles east of Reno. At the terminus of a branch of the Carson River, Fallon National Wildlife Refuge lies within the Carson Sink, and boasts the lowest elevation of Stillwater NWR Complex at 3800ft. This desolate patch of high desert is dominated by gently rolling to flat desert alkali-shrub habitat consisting of greasewood and saltbush. A system of both active and stable dunes also accentuates the topography in this area. Cultural history extends back to the Northern Paiute people known as the cat-tail eaters ('Toidikadi') and their occupation of the Stillwater marshlands several thousand years ago. Conditions at Fallon NWR are extremely primitive with no cell service or public use facilities (NO restrooms, water, trash, trails, picnic areas, etc.). Access to Fallon NWR is very limited, consisting of a dirt track which is primitive and not maintained regularly. Wet weather can rapidly change road conditions, making travel impossible or dangerous. Vehicle use within Fallon NWR is permitted on roads, but not recommended for anything other than high-clearance, 4-wheel drive vehicles.
There are no facilities i.e. bathrooms, water, garbage cans, picnic areas, or trails. The refuge is remote, undeveloped, and cell phone service is unreliable. Be sure to bring plenty of drinking water, snacks, insect repellant, sunscreen and other necessities. You may wish to leave a trip plan with your friends and/or family so they will know when to expect your return.
Plan on taking at least half a day to get to the refuge and back. There are sand dunes and alkali playa to explore on foot.
Other Facilities in the Complex
Fallon NWR is managed as part of the Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge Complex, with offices at Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge.
Rules and Policies
Some of the things not allowed on the refuge include, but are not limited to:
- Unregistered motor vehicles (i.e. ATV’s)
- Driving off-road
- Dogs off leash
- Collecting artifacts
See brochure and/or contact refuge office for current regulations.
To get to the refuge, turn north on Rio Vista Drive just east of Fallon and in about one half mile stay to the right onto Indian Lakes Road. Continue about six and one half miles and you will take a slight right where the pavement ends to stay on Indian Lakes Road. Keep going another thirteen miles and you will come to a refuge entrance sign. WARNING: When dry, the last ten miles or so require a high ground clearance vehicle. When wet, the road is nearly impassible even with four wheel drive.
Fallon NWR is managed from the Stillwater NWR office in Fallon, Nevada.
The refuge headquarters is located at 1020 New River Parkway #305. Just east of Fallon, NV, turn south on Harrigan Road and go a little over one half mile, then turn east on New River Parkway. Our driveway is the first right and our office is on the east end of the building. Yes, we are in a medical building, but our only prescription is to get you out to enjoy nature!