Last updated: February 15, 2023
Cold Springs Pony Express Station
Historical/Interpretive Information/Exhibits, Parking - Auto, Scenic View/Photo Spot, Toilet - Vault/Composting, Trailhead/Hiker Register
"I kept a bright lookout, and closely watched every motion of my poor pony's ears, which is a signal for danger in an Indian country. I was prepared for a fight, but the stillness of the night and the howling of the wolves and coyotes made cold chills run through me at times." Pony Bob Haslam, on his ride from Cold Springs to Sand Springs (Nevada) in May 1860.
Accounts mention numerous Pony riders who were killed during the outbreak of the Pyramid Lake War with the Paiutes in 1860, but multiple sources may be referring to the same unnamed rider and some stories were clearly made up. So far, only three rider fatalities at the hands of warriors are securely documented including that of a Hispanic rider. The Hispanic rider was Jose Zowgaltz, who was ambushed as he crossed the thick aspen bottoms of Edwards Creek. Zowgaltz galloped to Cold Springs Station, south of the ambush site. Suffering a mortal abdominal wound, he slipped bleeding from his saddle upon entering the station and soon died. The rider's death was recorded by assistant station keeper J.G. Kelley, who had to ride Zowgaltz's return relay two days later. Kelley raced his pony through the leafy green tunnel of aspens "like a streak of greased lightning" and once clear, paused to look back. The bushes along the trail trembled suspiciously; Kelley suspected they concealed warriors who had been unable to get a clear shot at him.
Intact, standing ruins of the Cold Springs Pony Express Station where Jose Zowgaltz died still remain. Viewing the site requires a two-mile round-trip hike on loose dirt through open sagebrush plains (where one is exposed to the elements) starting from Cold Springs Day-Use Area. Click on this link, A Socially Distance Excursion to Original Pony Express Stations in Nevada, to view a partial travel log and pictures for Cold Springs Station. If you visit, also stop at the ruins of Cold Springs No. 2 Pony Express Station. It’s just 0.2 miles further west on U.S. Route 50 from the day-use area. The station switched locations in July 1861 to accommodate the Overland Mail & Stage Company.
Cold Springs Station is a National Park Service Vanishing Treasure. When visiting, please respect the site and do not climb on or disturb the ruins. This is critical for preserving the site and for providing the opportunity to experience the site, as you have experienced it, to other people.
Location (South side of U.S. Route 50 about 50 miles west of Austin, NV and 60 miles east of Fallon, NV.)
The day-use area consists of a gravel parking lot, wayside exhibits, vault toilets and the Cold Springs Pony Express Station Trailhead. At the station ruins are wayside exhibits that tell the story of the station and describe its layout.