A nice day outing with some spectacular scenery awaits you in the Green Creek area just inside California, or, as we say around here Far Western Nevada). Located a few miles south of the picturesque mountain town of Bridgeport, Green Creek is not only supremely beautiful but historic as well.
On a recent Saturday, I and my neighbor Jim May took Jim’s visiting grandchildren on a day ride to this area. It was one of those bluebird days and the air was crisp and clear — spectacular!
If you are bringing an OHV as we did, there is plenty of area to unload just off US 395 on Green Creek Road. However, this area does not require you have that kind of vehicle. A good SUV does just fine here. In fact, your passenger car could do well too providing you pay attention. That might be a tall order though as this place is so spectacularly scenic that keeping eyes glued to the road would be nearly impossible. The main roads are well maintained, however, there is always that sharp rock laying in wait for that weak tire tread.
As you head toward the mountains, there is a right turn with a sign indicating “Upper Summers Meadow”. Take this right and it will take you in to a beautiful meadow area with prime grazing. Lots of wildflowers are in profusion. This road will deteriorate so don’t be shy about turning around when you are uncomfortable. Getting back to the main road, head up toward the Green Creek Camp area and the trail head to the Hoover Wilderness. The trail head has pit toilets and plenty of shaded parking for your vehicle. The trails to Green Lake, West Lake and East Lake are rated from Moderate to Difficult. Plan accordingly if you want to hike.
The Green Creek Campground is more of a dispersed camp with secluded individual camp areas. Some are quite large. When we were there, one camp had a big motor home in it while another had a rather large fifth wheel trailer. In talking with the owner of the fifth wheel about negotiating the road, he stated the obvious; “patience is the name of the game”.
Coming off Green Creek road, take the well maintained road to the south that leads you to Dunderberg Meadows. I guarantee you that you will be taking pictures. It’s just beautiful here, especially if you go soon while the mountain peaks still have a mantle of snow. Here is also what remains of the Dunderberg Mill. What is left is the remnants of a penstock pond . . . not much and some broken brick foundation.
If it is much later in the year, and you have a very, very capable four wheel drive vehicle; not an SUV but a Jeep or similar, you can take the Kavanaugh Ridge Road. This road can be a real bugger but it gets you on a ridge that overlooks the Lakes basin in the Hoover Wilderness. You can see eight individual lakes from up here at over 11,000 ft.
If you are interested in this trip, be sure to pack a picnic lunch. There are plenty of spots that you can stop and set up a nice picnic for an enjoyable afternoon.
Distance from Reno to Bridgeport is 115 miles. Leave early. From Carson City, it is 81 miles. If you decide to go, be sure to fill up your tank in Gardnerville or Minden. Fuel in Bridgeport is not cheap. However , Bridgeport has several character restaurants and ice cream places. It too is a very photogenic spot.