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Upper Pahranagat Lake & the Lunar Crater – Nevada

Not having anything planned for the Memorial Day weekend, we determined that we were not going to be able to stay put and headed out late Saturday morning. Opting to head north on the I-15 from Vegas, we took the US-93 towards a couple of possible lakeside campsites that were located just north of Alamo, NV.


We passed the Pahranagat Wildlife Refuge and noticed that there were a few campsite spots open, which had never been the case each time we had driven past the refuge. Pretty rare especially on a holiday weekend! Brian wanted to see if the spots he had found on Gaia would pan out for some camping and fishing, so we drove past the refuge. Camping at the Upper Pahranagat Lake campground was an item on our bucket list and here was a perfect opportunity to check that one off! But, oh well, let us see if the other spots panned out. They did not. One was on private property and the other was a fishing only lake with no camping allowed. So, we turned around, stopping in Alamo to top off our fuel, and headed back to the Upper Pahranagat Lake campground to see if by chance those spots were still open.


To our surprise, out of the fifteen campsites, there were four sites open, and we chose no. 7. Perfect spot next to the lake, with a beautiful view and plenty of space. Each site has a picnic table and barbecue grill, and some sites even have a fire ring. The campground is on a first come-first serve basis with a maximum stay of 14 days free of charge and donations are greatly accepted and appreciated. There are no hook-ups, but there are pit toilets available. The camp host was friendly and helpful in answering our questions when they came by to check in on us.


Spent the afternoon relaxing, enjoying the breeze, fishing, and grilling dinner. The evening was cool which allowed us to sleep with our tent windows open, but the screens up as the mosquitos came out to feast as soon as the sun was setting. A little bug spray and a citronella candle kept them at bay. At breakfast the next morning, we decided to check a second item on our bucket list – the Lunar Crater National Natural Landmark.


Broke down camp, collected our trash, cleaned up our site, and headed out north on the US-93 towards Crystal Springs where we turned left onto NV-375 aka The Extraterrestrial Highway. We spotted a couple of antelope along the highway and stopped at the Little Aleinn to take a picture with their welcome sign and spaceship – had to do it! Arriving to Warm Springs, we turned right onto US-6 to our turnoff at the Lunar Crater BLM sign.


It is an eight-mile drive, from the BLM sign, down a well-maintained dirt road that leads you straight up to the Lunar Crater. What a sight! It is a volcanic formation that is 430 feet deep and covers an area measuring 400 acres. The weather was warm, mid-80’s, but the wind was cold – natural air conditioning. Sitting under our awning, we spent hours taking in the view. We grilled chicken legs and corn for dinner and took pictures of the gorgeous sunset. Could not fly the drone due to the strong wind gusts. On the plus side, the winds made way for a clear night sky that made stargazing an amazing experience. We even saw Elon Musk’s Space X Starlink satellites fly across the sky!


It was another great weekend traveling and exploring! The landscape and the views were terrific - pictures and video do not do it justice. We highly recommend adding the Upper Pahranagat Lake campground and the Lunar Crater to your bucket list of places to see and visit in Nevada.



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