The Dirt: Buffalo Hills



The Buffalo Hills are located in northwestern Washoe County just west of the Black Rock Desert. Here you can ascend rocky slopes dotted by juniper into large flat plains of sage-brush and occasional stands of mesquite where deer like to hide. Be warned, though some of the trails are flat and smooth sailing, many of the routes in and out of the Wilderness Study Area are comprised of long stretches of exposed rock. Other recreational opportunities exist here such as hunting, horseback riding, hiking and camping.


This system of trails provides access to a number of interesting scenic vistas. Several large dirt pullouts can be found on the South and North side of the creek. Twin Peaks (North) can be accessed via the trails leading West from Buffalo Creek. Much of the area is managed by the Bureau of Land Management, although there are individual parcels in and around the area. There are extensive trail systems and campsites throughout the range. Trails branch from the creek to nearby trails both in the Black Rock Desert and the Squaw Creek Reservoir area.


There are multiple ranches and farms in the area, as well as permitted livestock grazing on public land. Please respect these land managers by staying on designated trails and roads, and leaving any gates as you found them. Almost the entirety of the valley, and the surrounding mountains, are accessible for free public camping and other BLM permitted activities. All
routes in the valley are within 40 miles of Gerlach, which features a gas station, restaurants, and some shopping and other amenities.


Primitive camping can be found at Squaw Creek Reservoir free of charge, be sure to follow the rules as it is on private land and access can be revoked at the discretion of the owner. Dispersed camping is available throughout the area be sure to check BLM regulations before heading out.


From Reno to Squaw Creek Reservoir staging area/campground:

  • Take Highway I-80 East for 30 miles. 
  • Take exit 43 toward Wadsworth/Pyramid Lake . Turn left at intersection.
  • Continue onto I-80BUS East for a mile and a half. 
  • Turn left onto Nevada State Route 447N / Washeim St. and continue for 75 miles. 
  • Continue onto County Rd.447/Main St. for 17 miles. Destination is on the left.

Rules of the Road

Land Manager: Bureau of Land Management

BLM Field Office – Eagle Lake
2550 Riverside Dr.
Susanville, CA 96130

Telephone: (530) 257-0456

Motor vehicles are permitted on designated trails only. For local regulations regarding OHV use on county roads, visit the BLM OHV Website https://www.blm.gov/programs/recreation/OHV.

Always plan ahead and prepare for uncertainty. Travel with warm clothing, first aid, food, water and appropriate tools to fix a problem.

Traveling in groups is always a good idea, as well as informing someone of where you will be going.

  • Register Your Vehicle
  • Make sure your vehicle is equipped with a spark arrestor
  • Plan Ahead and Prepare
  • Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
  • Dispose of Waste Properly
  • Leave What You Find
  • Minimize Campfire Impacts
  • Respect Wildlife
  • Be Considerate of Other Trail Users

Leave No Trace

Tread Lightly

Historic Preservation

Plan Your Visit