Sand Springs Pony Express Station & Sand Mountain “Booming” Dunes

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A few miles back, I was disappointed to find the ruins of the Cold Springs Pony Express Station behind a tall chain-link fence.  That disappointment faded when I arrived at Sand Springs — a Pony Express station that’s still in good shape, and completely accessible to anyone.

From Highway 50, take the turn onto the road leading to Sand Mountain (more on it below).  About halfway between Route 50 and the dunes, there’s a dirt road that turns left.  Follow it to the parking area, then walk the rest of the way to the Pony Express ruins.

Signs warn visitors not to climb on the station’s rock walls.  The only reason they’re crumbling in places is due to damage caused by humans.  Take that into account as you walk through the station’s rooms.

The station wasn’t the least bit comfortable for the Pony Express riders who took shelter here, but it was functional.  There were two large rooms for the horses, a kitchen and blacksmithing room, and a small room for living quarters, which was later divided and used for the storage of telegraph batteries.

The Sand Springs station was covered by sand from Sand Mountain for decades, until archaeologists located it, and excavated it, in 1976.

It’s hard to relax, as you walk around the ghost station.  The roar of dune-buggy engines fills the air, as dozens of vehicles buzz up and down the slopes of Sand Mountain.

From a distance, it looks like tiny ants scrambling up and down the dunes.  It also looks like a tremendous amount of fun.

If you’re ever lucky enough to visit Sand Mountain on a day when the dune-buggy engines are silent, you might hear a “booming” noise, generated by the sand itself.  When the sand slides down the side of the dune, the sand crystals vibrate, and emit the booming sound.  Sand Mountain is one of only three “booming” dunes in the United States.

Back when the state of Nevada declared US 50 to be the “Loneliest Road in America”, a pay telephone near Sand Mountain was declared the “Loneliest Phone on the Loneliest Road”.  I didn’t see it during my visit, but I’ve been told it’s still there.  As an alternative, you will have cell-phone coverage from Sand Mountain to Fallon and beyond, so you can start calling your friends and tell them how lonely you’ve been.

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