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A very pleasant lakeside State Park in Western Nevada, just off Alt. Hwy 95 near Silver Springs, NV. Likely gets crowded in summer.
- Site Quality = 2/5
Very mixed site quality here. Lahontan Lake is HUGE (over 69 miles of shoreline) and you can camp along the shoreline itself (at any of the marked coves) as well as in the developed campground at Silver Springs Beach #7. The cost is the same for each ($15/night) so it’s just a question of preference of where you want to park.
- Developed Campground -> The developed campground is located at Silver Springs Beach #7 and has ~25 paved campsites with concrete picnic tables and a few firepits (not all sites). Main ding here is that there is alot of variation in size, separation and levelness. The majority of sites can accommodate big rigs (disabled sites are huge), but a few sites can only accommodate smaller rigs and many of the others, especially those facing the water, are very unlevel indeed. Site separation is variable -> some sites have nice separation, other sites are right next to each other, so I would imagine this would feel like a crowded campground when full. The lake-facing sites all have excellent views of the lake and many sites have pleasant surroundings of cottownwood shade trees. On-site water spigots, but no hookups.
- Dispersed Camping -> Lahanton Lake is rather unusual in that it allows dispersed camping in any of the marked beach areas along the shoreline of the lake, right the way down to the water. There are literally miles of shoreline to chose from, but you have the be careful -> the shore gets sandy and soft very fast making for some tricky ground to camp on. Smaller rigs and truck campers can find nice spots close to the water, but larger rigs should stay closer to the road. Scout out your area by foot before going in with your rig. We found some nice, large sites around Silver Springs Beach #3 and #5, but thought all too soft for our size.
- Facilities = 2.5/5
Basic facilities here. There are clean flush toilets at many of the beaches around the lake, plus there are a few shower facilities. Main ding is that the shower facilities are paid ($0.50 for 5 mins). Also at our location (Silver Springs Beach #7) only one shower-stall was open and the showerhead was fixed below shoulder height causing us to have to do some serious limbo-acrobatics to get clean. However pressure and temp was very good. On-site dump station and water spigots.
- Location = 3.5/5
This is a decent location. You are on a large, fresh-water lake providing lots of opportunity for recreation (fishing, canoeing , swimming) plus you are close to the town of Silver Springs (limited amenities, but it has some basics) and the historic interest of Fort Churchill State Park (old fort and Pony Express). Main dings is that there is not alot of decent shopping in the area, plus there are indications the lake becomes very full/crowded with folks (cars, ATVs, teenagers etc.) during the warmer days.
- Pet Friendliness = 5/5
Excellent spot for doggie. Miles and miles of sandy shoreline to hike and lake area to swim in. There are additional walking trails in nearby Fort Churchill State Park.
Overall Rating = 3.25
BONUS ALERT = Camp with full water views anywhere along Lahontan Lake!
Summary: This ended up being an interesting little stop for us. Lahontan Lake State Recreation Area covers a man-made lake with over 69 miles of shoreline right south of Silver Springs, NV. There are two main entrances to the recreation area (South and North) and you can camp either in the developed campground (near Silver Springs Beach #7) or disperse camp at any of the beach areas along the shoreline. This makes for literally miles (and miles) of shore camping with almost guaranteed lake views. The biggest issue is that site quality varies a lot. The developed campground has ~25 paved sites with picnic tables & some grills, but the separation, size and levelness are very variable meaning some sites are rather spacious, while others might be too uneven to level and/or right next to your neighbor. The dispersed camping on the shoreline is very relaxed (you can chose any location you wish), but it’s on the sand which can get very soft very fast so it’s a good idea to scope out your area by foot before bringing in a rig. Truck campers and smaller rigs can potentially get right next to the water, but big rigs are best staying closer to the tree-line. Views of the lake are generally excellent and trees make for a nice covering up from the lake, plus there are limitless opportunities for recreation (swimming, fishing, boating etc.) as well as historic interest in nearby Fort Churchill State Park. On the other hand the easy availability of the lake/water also likely means this becomes a very, very popular spot in summer. When we arrived it was rather cold/windy and there was no-one (at all) in the area making for a superbly relaxed atmosphere with the entire beach to ourselves. However we did have one warm afternoon during which several groups of teens with cars/ATVs/music etc. came in and partied down by the lake for the day. A look at this same area on Google Earth reveals hundreds of cars along the shoreline so I imagine that’s the atmosphere in summer. Overall we enjoyed our stay, but I think much of this was thanks to the cold weather. I’d certainly come again in low season, but would probably avoid the high season crowds altogether.
Extra Info: Excellent 3G & 4G LTE Verizon signal (4 bars of each). Sites cost $15/night whether you stay in the campground or along the shoreline (dispersed camping). No hookups. On-site flush toilets, household trash, dump station and water spigots. Several on-site showers, but they are paid ($0.50 for 5 mins).
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