Review: RV Camping at Cold Springs Station RV Park
We happened upon Cold Springs Station RV Park after traversing the Loneliest Highway in America, Highway 50. Our original plan was a quick pit stop at the historical site Cold Springs Pony Express Station followed by more driving till we settled in Fernley, Nevada. However, we couldn’t pass staying a couple of nights in this little RV haven amidst an open rangeland, plus high winds were making the drive a bit sketchy
RV Park Location
Cold Springs Station RV Park is all that stands in the way of Fallon or Austin, Nevada (depending on the direction you are headed on the 50). The park sits in between both towns, a 55-60 mile drive to either one. Cold Springs Station is not hard to spot sitting just off the main highway, RVs peaking up in the back area. Bright banners advertising a restaurant, motel, RV park, bar, and gift shop line the main building’s front porch. A few cowboy statues welcome visitors at the two entrances guaranteeing a good ol’ time on the prairie land.
This isn’t much of a location close to popular attractions but if you are wanting a break from a never-ending road trip or looking for an out of the way locale with some friendly faces and starry nights, this is the ticket. We hiked a bit on our stay. A few historical markers and ruins are about a mile away from the park, one being the Cold Springs Pony Express Station. Just off the highway, is an information marquee about the Pony Express and the entrance to a minimally maintained and marked trail up to the remains of the station.
Another day we took a back road leading away from Cold Springs RV Park into the mountains. On this 2-hour journey we discovered old animal bones, fenced off inactive mines, and observed many desert wildlife hopping or scurrying about. There weren’t marked trails, but we weren’t scrounging through brush either. Much of our hikes were dirt roads formed for mining purposes, we gathered. Keep an eye out for snakes and other potential dangers if you do decide to hike anywhere out in the desert.
There were a few times that we heard jets overhead, not overpowering, but rather distant, subtle sounds. When we tilted our heads back, there were no flying objects in sight. We were later informed, by employees of the the park, that the sounds were indeed jets and other aircrafts flying at high altitudes or just over the mountains from the Fallon Naval Air Station. Otherwise the park was very quiet with a few of the guests coming together for dinner or music.
Cold Springs Station has much to offer the passing traveler, be it RVer, bicyclist, or typical motorist. Guests can opt to rent a motel room or cabin for a night or two, pitch a tent in the grassy patches designated for campers, or set up their rig at one of almost 20 40-foot sites, complete with water, sewage, and electrical (30 or 50 amp) hook-ups. The water is collected from an underground well and tastes heavenly, bottled water doesn’t compare. Sorry, there is no cable provided at the sites, but wi-fi signal is amazing.
RV sites were covered in gravel, well-maintained, and leveled. They were separated by pipe fencing. Sites lacked privacy. There was little space between rigs. After slideouts were set, about a few feet of air stood between rigs. There were few, if any, trees to assist with shade, too. We happened to be placed at a site that had a giant trash jug at one end. Residents of the park threw their trash in it which attracted flies and ants from near and afar. Although we could not smell the trash, we could have done without the insect farm.
Most of Cold Springs Station houses its amenities in the front building, which, very fittingly, resembles a ranch house. The restaurant and bar serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a seating area and bar. We sampled beer and wine from their fully stocked bar during dinner. The meal was decent (the bread pudding dessert was yummy) and portion size was substantial. Price for food and drink was unquestionably affordable! We browsed the gift shop with its variety of souvenirs, jewelry, beverages, and snacks. Guests had the liberty of playing a game of pool (3 quarters for a game). Some residents would organize a card game or two at the restaurant tables during the day.
Laundry and bathroom/showers were contained in a separate building flanking the motel, RV park, and grassy camping area. There was only one washer and one dryer available and the condition of the washer was deteriorating. Nonetheless, our clothes were cleaned. Washer usage was $1.50 a load and dryer usage was a buck a load. We got change in quarters from the bar. The bathroom stalls and showers were well maintained and appeared sanitary. Showers were contained in separate rooms and include a rack and hooks to place personal items.
Pets are welcomed but must be on a leash at all times if venturing outside the rig. There is no designated dog run we were informed. Pet owners used the perimeter of the park for these purposes. Just be courteous and pick up after your pooch. It’s not fun stepping in a pile of you-know-what.
Staying at Cold Springs RV Park was priced reasonably average, considering that it was in the middle of nowhere and had so many available amenities, mentioned previously. Daily fee is a little over $30, with tax. The park is not affiliated with any discount programs, unfortunately.
Before making our final decision to stay, the host on duty allowed us to tour the park. The cleanliness was a huge factor in our decision to stay. Bathrooms and laundry facilities were clear of messes and wiped down to our level of sanitary satisfaction. The grass (what small patches were set aside for the camp area) was mowed and maintained. The RV sites and roadways leading into and out of the park were trash free. Store and restaurant were in pristine condition from tabletops to windows to display cases. Residents and guests of the park took measures to keep their sites tidy, as well. Perhaps the only thing we scrunched our noses to was that fly and ant attracting garbage jug at one end of our site, which we could have easily moved.
Service with a smile and with a purpose to please should be the motto of Cold Springs. The laid back, “kick off your boots and make yourself at home” vibe was apparent as we walked up the main building’s wooden steps, onto the front porch with its various seating areas, and into the rustic bar/restaurant. There were three employees of the park that we befriended on our first night. Kathy was the day host that welcomed us to the park from behind the bar. She ushered us to our spot right away and was more than helpful with answering questions about historical spots around the area and RV park logistics.
After setting up the rig and hiking to and from the Pony Express site, we were pretty parched and hankering for a hearty meal. John was on the clock at the restaurant with night cook Hans. They served up some bar appetizers that were more like full entrees with the portion size, moist-to-perfection bread pudding, and plenty of adult beverages. All of this for a mere twenty bucks and change, which would have been double or triple our usual stops. John and Hans filled us in on the background of Cold Springs and jokes, to boot.
My final rating for Cold Springs Station RV Park is 3 out of 4 tires.
Cold Springs was a very inviting establishment as we journeyed through a rather desolate portion of Nevada. The hospitality was as refreshing as its cool spring water. We were able to complete errands the two days we stayed including cleaning the inside of the rig, laundry, and internet duties. Our hikes revealed telling history of the area but may have been more appreciated in cooler climate. The lack of privacy and space between RV sites, condition and quantity of laundry equipment, and lack of discounts available per night were a few pitfalls to the stay. However, if we do find ourselves back on this lonely highway, we won’t hesitate to stop in for the night again!
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