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7 Jarbridge Nevada Boondocking Spots & Old West Town

Jarbidge NV, (living) Ghost Town

Jarbridge Nevada boondocking is made for you if you enjoy quirky small town camping in the middle of nowhere.. Boondocking in Jarbridge, Nevada, should be at the top of your list. I knew I had to go as soon as I read that it was “one of the most distant places in America”!

A lost tire or two inside the magnificent Jarbridge Wilderness Area will make continuing this off-the-grid journey a complete no-brainer from this point on. Without the right supplies to fix them you may be stuck and certainly wont be able to continue.  There aren’t many opportunities to travel this far from the highway.

Jump to A Little Jarbridge History
Jump to 4 Great Stops On Your Jarbridge Nevada Boondocking Trip
Jump to Eating Out in Jarbridge Nevada
Jump to 7 Jarbridge Nevada Boondocking Locations

Almost any level place in the outdoors can be used as a free Jarbridge Nevada camping location.  Outdoorsmen of all kinds are invited to stake out for the week at these Jarbridge boondocking locations, where you may settle into developed or basic sites and get to know this breathtaking landscape for nothing. This area is one of the most remote wilderness areas in the Lower 48.

Through it all, the twelve or so miles spent gently winding along the Jarbridge River, tucked away in the picturesque Jarbridge Canyon, was without a doubt the Jarbridge Nevada free camping highlight. I had the impression that I had personally discovered a hidden location that was unknown to outsiders when I pulled onto Main Street and the town’s scattering of buildings presented itself. It was like taking a step back into time.  The best hiking in Nevada is available at the Jarbridge Nevada boondocking site.

In the Northeastern part of Nevada, in the center of the Humbolt National Forest area, is Jarbridge. The Jarbridge Wilderness Area, 113,000 mismatched acres of mountains, rivers, and woodland valleys, is surrounded on all sides by high plains and parched desert. It begs to be explored.

The terrain changes so swiftly that entering the canyon from the north feels a little like entering an alternate reality. Nevada is not just arid desert, and Jarbridge will make you think otherwise.

This area, which may appear to be empty on the map, is actually teeming with hiking and off-roading trails, 40 different kinds of wildflower blooms, trout-filled streams and lakes, and Nevada’s big game animals—all of which are accessible from historic Jarbridge, one of the best “living” ghost towns in the state. Take your kids camping in Jarbridge, Nevada, for an adventure they won’t soon forget and to give them the chance to see one of the country’s unique locations that is quickly disappearing.

A Little Jarbridge History

The region’s fascinating history would be enough to draw tourists on its own, even though outdoor recreation is the main draw. A cannibalistic giant was first described in a Shoshone legend as being finally captured and trapped in a cave to the relief of the local population. Then there was the 1909 gold rush, which turned Jarbridge into a remote but bustling mining town. The town boasts the unpleasant distinction of hosting the final mail stagecoach heist in America, which took place there in 1916. The crime was a wild-west tale with stolen money and bloody handprints.

The town’s historic buildings are still standing, tenderly cared for and spruced up for visitors. The false skeletons that are lounging in the cells of the ancient jail where the stagecoach robber served his time. Even though Jarbridge is occasionally referred to as a ghost town, I strongly urge you to visit because it is very much alive and active.

The Jarbridge Wilderness, which has expanded to include more than 113,000 acres of unspoiled landscape, was established as Nevada’s first-ever wilderness area in 1964. Elk, moose, mountain lions, frigid deserts, alpine forests, wildflowers, and tree carvings created by Basque sheepherders in the middle of the nineteenth century can all be found in the wilderness region. But if you look closer, you’ll discover something even more fascinating: an odd mythological origin story of a man-eating behemoth who prowled the Jarbridge Wilderness for eons.

4 Great Stops On Your Jarbridge Nevada Boondocking Trip

1. Metropolis Ghost Town

A failed attempt to cultivate wheat in northeastern Nevada’s sagebrush steppe. The strange Nevada ghost town of Metropolis. The settlement was created as a result of an early 20th-century effort to cultivate wheat in the sagebrush areas close to Wells.

Due to low agricultural prices and disputes over water rights, the town had completely disappeared by the middle of the 1930s. A lawsuit brought by downstream water users in the Humboldt River drainage, in particular, barred the use of agricultural water from a nearby creek.

The ruins of the school and hotel are all that’s left of the once-bustling town. Apart from a few damaged relics, hardly much else has survived. Sagebrush, which has grown back throughout its whole original range, is the scruffy gray-green shrub that is conspicuous throughout the area. Before Metropolis’s destruction, inhabitants unsuccessfully attempted to plant dry-land wheat.

2. Angel Lake and the East Humboldt Mountains

A charming 8,400-foot-high alpine lake that can only be reached by paved road. The East Humboldt Mountains are frequently thought of as a northern extension of the Ruby Mountains, which are situated to the south and divided from them by Secret Pass. They share the same granite and metamorphic bedrock, glaciated landscape, and peaks higher than 11,000 feet, as well as an abundance of streams, alpine lakes, and meadows.

Unusually, there is a paved road that leads to Angel Lake, one of the alpine lakes. The level of Angel Lake, a naturally occurring cirque lake, has been raised by a minor outlet dam for water storage, as is typical in the western United States.

It is supplied with fish, and a campground is close by. There are trailheads nearby that lead to paths that go to nearby cirque lakes.

3. Evel Knievel’s Snake River Canyon Jump Site

On a specially made rocket, Evel Knievel set out in 1974 from Twin Falls, Idaho, to launch himself across the enormous Snake River Canyon. The ramp is still there today as a reminder of the famed daredevil’s risky endeavor.

In 1971, while Knievel was returning from a tour, he caught a glimpse of the Snake River Canyon out the window and immediately started organizing a big event. Just east of Twin Falls. He leased 300 acres of land, and he started preparing. Knievel hired engineers Doug Malewicki and Robert Truax to create the Skycycle, a bike propelled by rockets that can jump 1,600 feet. They started developing the Skycycle X-2, a new design built more like an airplane than a motorcycle, after the first  cycle crashed during the first test run.

It happened, but not as it was supposed to, on September 8, 1974. Knievel’s parachute opened shortly after takeoff, preventing him from finishing the leap. He and the rocket instead floated to the canyon bottom. Closed-circuit transmissions of the event were seen by viewers all over the world in movie theaters, and a few weeks later, Wide World of Sports on ABC televised it.

4. Shoshone Falls

When the season is appropriate, these falls, which are frequently referred to as the “Niagara of the West,” still put on a good show. Shoshone Falls, one of the biggest waterfalls in the country, is breathtaking when the Snake River is flowing at its maximum capacity. It is around 212 feet tall and 900 feet broad. They are the focal point of the Twin Falls city park and are situated three miles upstream of Twin Falls, Idaho, in the Snake River Canyon.

A modest hydropower facility with a capacity of less than 15 megawatts receives a portion of the flow, however this has little impact on the spectacle of the falls. Diversions made for irrigation upstream have the biggest impact on the flow. By late summer or early fall, the falls may be completely dry due to these detours and the season’s declining river flow.

Eating Out in Jarbridge Nevada

Fast food, elaborate dining out and foreign dishes are not to be found in Jarbridge Nevada. Here you will find only the same things to eat that you might find in your RV, the luxury is someone else is going to be the cook.

1. The Trading Post

The Jarbridge Trading Post is the best place to stock up on supplies for your time in the harsh, remote Jarbridge Wilderness Area. The Jarbridge Trading Post is sure to satisfy, whether you’re looking to upgrade your campground amenities, need new fishing bait, kit to tackle the Jarbridge River Trail, need to replenish your ice supply, or simply forgot your toothbrush, chapstick, or sunscreen.

Snacks, everyday essentials, microwaveable meals, beverages (including beer), and limited camping and fishing gear are all sold in this quirky little business with a welcoming proprietor. The Facebook page has the most recent information; hours are somewhat constrained.

2. Outdoor Inn Restaurant

The Outdoor Inn offers a range of housing alternatives appropriate for just about every requirement and price range, including a rustic 10-room hotel, seven suites with in-room bathrooms, and a 14-unit RV Park with full hookups. The Outdoor Inn is situated next to the restaurant and saloon in Jarbridge’s “downtown” area. Make a reservation at the Outdoor Inn if you want to be in the thick of the action.

The Outdoor Inn also has a restaurant on-site that serves delectable home-style fare, including specialty dishes such homemade breads, jellies, pies, ice cream, and milkshakes. Additionally, the burgers here always satisfy. The building also has a full-service bar, which is the ideal location to quench your thirst and learn about the local history from welcoming people.

3. Red Dog Saloon

During my trip, I was able to stop by, although just during the day. T he food was a little lacking, but the ambiance encouraged me to remain for the weekend.

After spending the day seeing some of Nevada’s most beautiful scenery, finding a genuinely outstanding Sagebrush Saloon feels like the perfect way to cap off your off-the-grid adventure. We’re fortunate that the Outdoor Inn and Red Dog Saloon, two of the top Sagebrush Saloons in the state, are located in the peaceful, historic townsite of Jarbridge. Locals and travelers alike flock to this region of Nevada, to experience rural Nevada at its very best.

The Red Dog Saloon is probably the hot spot in Jarbridge on the weekends.

 

7 Jarbridge Nevada Boondocking Locations

1. Bruneau River – N

Address:
Management: National Forest Service
Elko, Nevada
GPS: 41.709517, -115.543878
Elevation: 5988′

Management: State Park

This is a free dispersed campsite. Reservations are not accepted at this campsite. This Jarbridge Nevada boondocking location is close to the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. It’s located on the North side of Jarbridge about 30 minutes away from Jarbridge. There are no facilities here this is true Jarbridge boondocking. Managed by the he Jarbridge area on the Mountain City-Ruby Mountains-Jarbridge Ranger Districts.

Best Review::

A little stream runs through the Jarbridge boondocking camp, right behind some campsites. A vault toilet at each end of camp area, closed to to Covid-19 when I was there. No usable Verizon signal in campsites which are in a valley. Go to top of road leading to sites and there is a usable signal, room to park right at gate. Road leading into this Jarbridge Nevada boondocking location is dirt and in great shape.

Best Trail:

Jarbridge River Trail

Jarbidge River Trail and Jarbridge Nevada Boondocking Site

Wonderful views and you’ll most likely not bump into a soul.
A few small streams for water, outside of the River, good considering the time of year.

Length: 13.6 mi
Elevation gain: 2,378 ft
Route type: Out & back

Backpacking, Camping, Hiking, Horseback riding, Forest, River, Views, Wildflowers, Bridge out, Washed out

2. Pine Creek Campground

Address:
Jarbridge, Nevada
GPS: 41.837307, -115.426809
Elevation: 6568′

Management: National Forest Service

The road into this free Jarbridge boondocking location is gravel. Pine Creek Campground is open May – November. There are 1-5 campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is 25 feet. You may stay 14 Day Stay Limit at Pine Creek Campground.

Free Dispersed camping in the Bureau of Land Management Jarbridge District. This campsite does not use a reservation system. First come, first served. Managed by the the Jarbridge area on the Mountain City-Ruby Mountains-Jarbridge Ranger Districts. This Jarbridge Nevada boondocking location is close to the Jarbridge Wilderness managed by the National Forest Service. It’s located on the North side of Jarbridge about 30 minutes away from Jarbridge. There are no facilities here this is true Jarbridge boondocking.

Amenities:
Fire Ring
Near Water
Picnic Tables
Restrooms
Trash Cans

Best Review::

Two trailheads with access to Arc Dome Wilderness at the end of Forest Road 020. The trail from Peavine trailhead leads up Peavine Canyon to connect with the Toiyabe Crest National Recreation Trail. The trail from Toms Canyon follows Toms Creek to the Toiyabe Crest National Recreation Trail. Hiking trails lead to Mt. Jefferson in the Alta Toquima Wilderness Area and also to Arc Dome Wilderness. Places to visit are Arc Dome Wilderness, Alta Toquima Wilderness Area, Diana’s Punch Bowl, the towns of Belmont and Manhattan. Pets should be kept on leash. 21 units and 1 group. A really great Jarbridge boondocking area with campsites pretty much on every trailhead.

Best Trail:

Camp Creek to Gods Pocket Peak

Camp Creek to Gods Pocket Peak and Jarbridge boondocking

Head out on this 20.6-mile loop trail near Jarbridge, Nevada. Generally considered a moderately challenging route, it takes an average of 11 h 33 min to complete. This trail is great for hiking, and it’s unlikely you’ll encounter many other people while exploring.

Length: 20.6 mi
Elevation gain: 5,367 ft
Route type: Loop

Hiking, Dog friendly, Views

3. Big Cottonwood

Address:
Unnamed Road
Murphy Hot Springs, Idaho
GPS: 42.031377, -115.367256
Elevation: 5128′

Management: Bureau of Land Management

Amenities:
Restrooms

Best Review::

Small Jarbridge boondocking campground area across from the Jarbridge recreation site for river raft launching. Nice water access in both campsites and the launch area. Sites are very small and meant more for one vehicle and maybe a tent. The truck camper was fine and with no one else around, we just parked our towed Jeep in another site. Road leading into this Jarbridge Nevada boondocking location is dirt and in great shape.

Best Trail:

Mary’s River Basin

Jarbidge River Trail and Jarbridge Nevada Free Boondocking Site

Gradual climb back into Jarbridge Wilderness, the trail continues on and connects to the other trailheads. Reliable water the whole way, and beautiful! 3 creek crossings while hiking through the canyon.
You’ll have to drive on a dirt and gravel two-track road for a ways to get to the trailhead, good tires recommended!

Length: 7.9 mi
Elevation gain: 685 ft
Route type: Out & back

Backpacking, Camping, Hiking, Horseback riding, Cave, River, Wildlife

You May Also Like: 11 Las Vegas Free Boondocking Locations and Free Camping Areas 

4. The Forks

Address:
Unnamed Road
Murphy Hot Springs, Idaho
GPS: 42.049161, -115.39033
Elevation: 4980′

Management: Bureau of Land Management

Managed by the the Jarbridge area on the Mountain City-Ruby Mountains-Jarbridge Ranger Districts. This Jarbridge Nevada boondocking location is close to the Jarbridge Wilderness managed by the National Forest Service. It’s located on the North side of Jarbridge about 30 minutes away from Jarbridge. There are no facilities here this is true Jarbridge boondocking. This free campsite is located within the Bureau of Land Management Jarbridge District and provides Jarbridge boondocking options almost everywhere.

Best Review::

A fine Jarbridge boondocking place at the confluence of the Jarbridge River with the East Fork of the Jarbridge. You’re deep in a canyon here, with cottonwoods and the happy sound of gurgling streams. Three sites with table + fire ring, two of which are very close together and can accommodate up to ~30 ft. RV. The third is too small for anything but a car and doesn’t even have room for anything larger than a pup tent.

Best Trail:

Peavine Peak Trail

Peavine Peak Trail and Jarbridge Nevada Boondocking

This was a tough hike. This is not for beginners. We hit it on a great day weather wise. No sun. Cloudy skies and wind. The views are stunning. The wild flowers are in bloom. We enjoyed the one section where the mustard greens were out…we named it the ‘charred mustard forest’…beautiful. Right next door to our Jarbridge boondocking campsite.

Length: 8.9 mi
Elevation gain: 2,900 ft
Route type: Loop

Hiking, Bird watching, Dog friendly, Views, Wildflowers, Wildlife, Rocky, No shade

5. Sawmill Campground

Address:
Jarbridge, Idaho
GPS: 41.8855° N, 115.4295° W

Management: National Forest Service

Generally open June to October as weather and conditions allow. This Jarbridge Nevada boondocking location is close to the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. It’s located on the North side of Jarbridge about 30 minutes away from Jarbridge. There are no facilities here this is true Jarbridge boondocking. Managed by the he Jarbridge area on the Mountain City-Ruby Mountains-Jarbridge Ranger Districts. This free campsite is located within the Bureau of Land Management Jarbridge District.

Area Amenities:
Tent camping
Camping trailer
Picnic tables
Toilets

Best Review::

Nice spot for a Jarbridge boondocking 5th wheel spot. Could unhook and travel around without worry.

Best Trail:

Arc Dome Trail

Arc Dome Trail and Free Jarbridge Boondocking Area

Very nice trail! Did it 4th of July weekend so there were a few people at the Jarbridge boondocking campsite. I did not see any other hikers until I had summited and was halfway down. Combined it with the Stewart Creek Loop.

Length: 12.7 mi
Elevation gain: 4,596 ft
Route type: Out & back

Hiking, Dog friendly, Views, Scramble, No shade

6. Slide Creek Campground

Address:
Jarbridge, Idaho
GPS: 44.34159650, -118.65799340

Management: National Forest Service

Generally, open June to October as weather and conditions allow.

Slide Creek Campground is located at the trailhead for Slide Creek which accesses the Jarbridge Wilderness (hiking, horse trips, hunting, backpacking), has one single restroom, no water, and is free. Managed by the the Jarbridge area on the Mountain City-Ruby Mountains-Jarbridge Ranger Districts. This Jarbridge Nevada boondocking location is close to the Jarbridge Wilderness managed by the National Forest Service. It’s located on the North side of Jarbridge about 30 minutes away from Jarbridge. There are no facilities here this is true Jarbridge boondocking.c This boondocking spot is located within the Bureau of Land Management Jarbridge District.

Best Review::

Spent 7 days here doing some Jarbridge boondocking and hiking, not sure if there is a limit but even in peak times was not that busy. This is a truly great spot that people should visit but for me glad they don’t. Really quite laid back trip. We had to go a bit to reach this Jarbridge boondocking campsite.

Best Trail:

Toiyabe Crest Trail

Toiyabe Crest Trail and Campground

Discover this 36.4-mile point-to-point trail near Round Mountain, Nevada. Generally considered a moderately challenging route, it takes an average of 21 h 48 min to complete. Not close to our Jarbridge boondocking campsite but worth the drive.

Length: 36.4 mi
Elevation gain: 11,076 ft
Route type: Point to point

Backpacking, Camping, Hiking, Views, Wildflowers, Wildlife, Rocky, Scramble, No shade

You May Also Like: 14 Bullhead City Free Boondocking Locations for Cold Winter 

7. Pavlak Campground

Address:
Jarbridge, Idaho
GPS: 41.84691, -115.42943

Management: National Forest Service

Generally, open June to October as weather and conditions allow. This is a free dispersed campsite. Reservations are not accepted at this campsite. This Jarbridge Nevada boondocking location is close to the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. It’s located on the North side of Jarbridge about 30 minutes away from Jarbridge. There are no facilities here this is true Jarbridge boondocking. Managed by the he Jarbridge area on the Mountain City-Ruby Mountains-Jarbridge Ranger Districts.

Amenities
Tent camping
Camping trailer
Picnic tables
Toilets

Best Review::

Pretty cool little spot that had everything you need except no water. I have not been into Jarbridge but perhaps you can get some there. All around quite and lightly used campground. Good spot for a Jarbridge boondocking campsite.

Best Trail:

South Twin River Trailhead

South Twin River Trail and Jarbridge Boondocking

Beautiful views near our Jarbridge boondocking campsite! First mile of trail is tough – loose rock/sand on steep hillsides. After that it’s a very easy stroll through a surprisingly lush canyon. At least in late May the many river/creek crossings weren’t too bad – only had to take boots off for two of the many crossings.

Length: 6.8 mi
Elevation gain: 1,374 ft
Route type: Out & back

Backpacking, Hiking, Horseback riding, Views


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