Northern Washoe County borders and includes many popular OHV recreation sites. This part of the county is far more remote than Southern Washoe County, offering visitors greater seclusion. There are very few services available North of the greater Reno area, with Gerlach being the major hub for fuel and groceries. Cell phone service ranges from spotty to nonexistent, so leave a travel itinerary with someone, and travel carefully. High-clearance, 4WD vehicles are recommended for many of these routes.
There are a wide variety of OHV recreation areas North of Pyramid Lake. Within easy driving distance of Gerlach is the Granite Range, offering visitors spectacular panoramic views of the Black Rock Desert. Also nearby are the Buffalo Hills, a vast network of roads winding around high desert hills and mountains. Conveniently situated between these recreation sites is the Squaw Creek Reservoir, which has camping facilities and can be a useful staging area. It can be reached by following State Route 447, a paved road, from Gerlach. The big tourist attraction around Gerlach is, of course, the Black Rock Desert, a vast playa surrounded by wild mountains with many interesting features of their own. If you want a more remote, less popular area to explore, you can explore the extreme Northern edge of Washoe County, by the California-Oregon border. For example, the Bureau of Land Management has created a driving tour with an informative guide called the Barrel Springs Backcountry Byway. A nearby trail system popular with stargazers, bird spotters, and hunters is the Massacre Rim. Finally, bridging Northern Washoe and Humboldt Counties is the massive Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge features many historic sites, wildlife viewing, a warm spring, camping, and more. Information about all of these OHV recreational opportunities can be found on our website.
Please enjoy these popular recreation sites in Northern Washoe County:
- Black Rock Desert
- Squaw Creek Reservoir
- Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge
- Granite Range
- Buffalo Hills
- Barrel Springs Backcountry Byway
- Massacre Rim
Rules of the Road
Land Manager: Washoe County
1001 East 9th Street
Reno, NV 89512
Phone: 311- or 775-328-2003
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.