Located an hour away from Winnemucca, Rye Patch State Recreation Area is a great place to go for a short weekend getaway trip! It has everything you want and more with water access, sand, hiking trails, and OHV trail access! There is something for everyone in the family to enjoy at Rye Patch!
Bridge along the West Hiking Trail
Rye Patch, named for a patch of wild rye grass growing along the railroad, had a post office, school, boarding house and, after 1869, a station on the Central Pacific Railroad. Its mill processed $1,000,000 worth of gold and silver. The mill closed in 1877 and Rye Path was among the last towns to become a ghost town.
While it looks small, there are several camping locations throughout the park. The river campground below Rye Patch Dam has 22 units. The campground on the reservoir's west side has 25 units. In addition, they also have group campsites that are amazing and very large, which we here at Nevada Outdoor School use every year for our annual Summer Camp training! Reservations for group campsites are required. Every campsite comes with an established campfire ring that you can use to cook your own meals or you could go on up to the local Gold Diggers Saloon and Grub House and pick up one of their delicious pizzas to take back to camp! This is what we did since we planned ahead and knew that there was a fire ban in place.
Last, but not least is probably the most important part. You can bring your dogs! Yes, you read that right, dogs are allowed at Rye Patch as long as they are on a leash that is no more than 6 feet long. I took a chance and took my dogs with us camping (in a tent) on a nice, smokey day this summer. I was excited to try something new and to be able to bring my fur babies along with us. They had a great time! They enjoyed swimming in the river, staring at the turkeys as they walked by at night, and waking up at any and every noise they heard. We made sure to pick a campsite that was further away from others so we were being considerate to them and their time (the dogs can be very vocal at times), as well as making sure that when those turkeys showed up we had them under control and allowed the turkeys to have their space and respect.
So get on out and enjoy the local scenery. Remember to follow all the Leave No Trace Principles. Plan Ahead and Prepare before you head out; check to see what the weather is like, if there is a fire ban in the area, and if there is space available. Especially during summer and other high use times, once the park is full, you won’t be able to camp where you had originally planned. Removing, disturbing or damaging any historic structure, artifact, rock, plant life, fossil or other feature is prohibited. State and federal laws protect this area and its resources; remember Leave What You Find so others can enjoy what you have been able to see!
Enjoy the Journey!