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Desert Ride from Sand Mountain, NV

Middlegate Station

By Jon Crowley

I’ve been going to Sand Mountain for over thirty years, and have primarily focused on playing in the sand. But with UTVs being so versatile, we have started to explore in the desert sometimes as well.

If you haven’t checked out our guide to Sand Mountain, Nevada, be sure to check it out with a click to the link below:

Ride Spot – Sand Mountain Recreation Area

On a recent trip, our group brought along our dirt tires and decided to go do some exploring.  I love destinations so we put a few spots on our radar.  I hadn’t done any prep work for this, but have been to each of these locations at least once in the past. Our route took us south of Hwy 50 and the long way to our lunch stop at Middlegate Station.  On the way back we went the more direct route north of Hwy 50 back into the “End of the World” at the Sand Mountain Recreation Area.

Stop 1: Project Shoal Monument

The Project Shoal site was the location of a nuclear test that took place in 1963. The 12 kiloton nuclear device was detonated in granite rock at a depth of 1211 feet. The monument is located south of Sand Mountain and we approached the site from the southwest.

GPS 39.199983, -118.381400

Project Shoal

Project Shoal Monument

Stop 2: Fairview Peak Earthquake Fault

On December 16, 1954 a magnitude 7.3 earthquake hit here and pushed the mountain up about 6 feet relative to the valley below. This spot is located east of Sand Mountain and south of Hwy 50 at GPS 39,199983, -118.381400

Fairview Peak Earthquake Fault

Fairview Peak Earthquake Fault

Stop 3: Middlegate Station

Middlegate Station, a historic eatery created in the 19th century as a stop on the Pony Express. They have great burgers, a bar and also fuel.  They do not have 91 octane though, so be prepared if you are running a turbo.

Middlegate also has a motel, RV Park, and a free camping area.

GPS: 39.286958, -118.027325

Stop 4: End of the World, Sand Mountain Recreation Area

End of the World is at the east end of Sand Mountain Recreation Area and is right above where the sand dunes end and the desert valley begins.

GPS: 39.323425, -118.348599

Stop 5: Monument Point, Sand Mountain Recreation Area

There used to be monuments left here until the BLM had them removed.  But either way this is a great view spot to look down on Sand Mountain from the east.

GPS: 39.320702, -118.377893

More Sand Mountain Destination Rides

Do you have a destination rides from Sand Mountain that you’d like to share?  Please send us a DM on Instagram or Facebook, we’d love to hear about them!

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