Fallon National Wildlife Refuge


Typical landscape at Fallon National Wildlife Refuge
A rainy season view at Fallon National Wildlife Refuge

Fallon National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1931 in the area of the Carson Sink: that place where the waters of the Carson River sink into the sand and gravel of the Great Basin. However, that was back in the days when most water flowing in the Carson River actually made it this far downstream. These days, so much of the Carson is diverted to feed people and agriculture around Carson City and Reno/Sparks that unless it's a very heavy snowfall year, very little water makes it to the Refuge. But in good water years, Fallon National Wildlife Refuge provides some 15,000 acres of wetland habitat and desert playa for migratory birds.

This is a countryside of flat to gently rolling desert shrublands sparsely covered with saltbush and greasewood. In areas there are also stable and active sand dunes. Limited hunting for waterfowl and upland game is available.

Fallon National Wildlife Refuge is open 24 hours a day, every day. However, there are no amenities and the roads are less than primitive. Nor are any of the "roads" marked. High-clearance 4WD is highly recommended. If you want to visit, stop by the Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge office (1000 Auction Road in Fallon), get a map and talk to them.

Fallon National Wildlife Refuge is administered as part of the Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

Map of the area around Fallon National Wildlife Refuge
The area around Fallon National Wildlife Refuge