walker river state recreation area

A sublime stretch of the East Walker River invites all Nevadans and visitors to experience the unparalleled beauty of the Silver State. The creation of Walker River State Recreation Area was made possible by a donation from the Walker Basin Conservancy, and will continue to develop in the coming years. This storied stretch of the stunning Walker River had been under private ownership for more than 125 years until the Walker Basin Restoration Program acquired these historic ranches.

Spread across four century-old ranch units and 12,000 acres of rangeland—including 29 miles of the East Walker River, the stuff of true trout bum legend—this coveted slice of the Silver State promises top-notch camping, hiking, paddling, wildlife viewing, OHV exploring, world-class fishing, and countless other recreational opportunities.

Units at Walker River State Park

With historic structures and valuable wildlife habitat intact, Walker River State Park parcels work together as five distinct park units, offering top-notch camping, biking, wildlife viewing, nature trails, OHV exploring, world-class fishing, and many other recreational opportunities. A visitor center features exhibits on the colorful history of the Walker River State Recreation Area.

Pitchfork Ranch

pitchfork ranch
Pitchfork Ranch
river access at pitchfork
River Access at Pitchfork

Located near Yerington, Pitchfork Ranch is an outdoorsman’s paradise with seven miles along the East Walker River to be explored. By day, enjoy hiking, kayaking, fishing, or just kicking back surrounded by relaxing scenery. Overnight, take advantage of two campgrounds for Walker River camping.

The Quail Run Campground has 19 sites with RV power and water hookups (some sites have double hookups), while the Riverbend Campground has 16 sites suitable for tents, motorhomes, and travel trailers. Restrooms and showers are near both campgrounds, and campsites include a table, shade ramada, and fire ring. A group campground has six RV campsites with water and power hookups. Reservations for campsites can be made in advance but aren’t required.

Pitchfork Ranch also has four cabins available for reservation through Reserve Nevada. Set in a private meadow campground with unbelievable river views and easy trail and water access, the cabins have covered front decks, a dining room area with tables and chairs, a kitchen with a full-size fridge, microwave, and cooktop (no oven), bathroom, heating, and air conditioning. Each cabin can accommodate up to six occupants across a bedroom, bunk room with two twin bunkbeds, and a full-size sleeper sofa in the living room. The Prairie Falcon cabin is also ADA accessible.

The Elbow & Nine Mile Ranch

the elbow at walker river
The Elbow
nine mile ranch
Nine Mile Ranch

This unspoiled section of the East Fork of the Walker River known as the Elbow—fabled among fly fishermen—remains pristine and primitive, beckoning devout anglers and serenity seekers. The Bighorn Campground offers nearly two dozen campsites with direct access to the East Walker River, and each site includes a table and fire ring (but no hookups). These campsites are first come, first served, and restrooms are available.

While en route, keep your eyes peeled for the Nine Mile Ranch. You might be in luck and can get a historical rundown from a Nevada State Parks staffer. This ranch was quite the iconic stage stop, and it was named for being nine miles from the junction to the lawless towns of Aurora and Bodie. The ranch was so well known throughout the American West that even Mark Twain included it in his book Roughing It. The home is not available for tours but can be appreciated from the exterior by amateur historians and shutterbugs just fine.

rafter 7 ranch
Rafter 7 Ranch
flying m ranch
Flying M Ranch

Coming Soon: Rafter 7 Ranch & Flying M Ranch

In the transition from private hands to state management, Rafter 7 Ranch and Flying M Ranch are not yet open to the general public at this time.

The rustic country-home setting of the Rafter 7 Ranch will be an ideal gathering place for large groups on the Main House’s vast, fruit tree-studded lawn, as well as a tranquil base camp for hikers, kayakers, and birdwatchers, all before sweeping views of Mt. Grant and the Wassuk Range. The Flying M Ranch will eventually become the centerpiece of this band of parks, featuring wide-open land, nearly 12 miles of river, and an amenity-packed historic estate that will serve large groups for overnight visits.

As heirs to heritage and the new stewards of these historic properties, the state of Nevada is committed to preserving their natural and human legacies, as well as to carrying on and sharing the rich traditions of recreation afforded by this special slice of the Silver State.

Know Before You Go

Walker River State Recreation Area’s rugged beauty is one of the reasons it’s so special. When planning your trip here (or traveling any Nevada backroads), be sure to brush up on the Dirt Road Code and remember to take a vehicle suitable for off-pavement travel (4×4 recommended, just in case) with a spare tire. If your trip brings you to the area during the spring, get in touch with the park ahead of time to double check road conditions, as spring runoff may create impassible, muddy roads in extremely remote areas.

Travel Nevada Pro Tip

Cell service around this stretch of the Silver State is spotty to non-existent. Plan ahead, carry plenty of snacks and water, and practice Leave No Trace methods whenever possible.


Walker River State Recreation Area is open 24 hours a days, 365 days a year. The visitor center is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.


Day-use admission to Walker River State Recreation Area is $5 for Nevada residents and $10 for out-of-state vehicles. Those on bicycles can enter for $2 per bike.


Campsites are $15 per night for Nevada residents and $20 per night for out-of-state vehicles. Any campsite with utility hookups is an extra $10 per night. Cabins are $120 per night on weeknights and $145 per night on weekends and holidays, and both rates include one vehicle. Additional vehicles are $15 per day.

This Location:

Central, Nevada