Sand Springs Station

Walls made out of natural stacked red, white, and black rock rise several feet above a sandy area.
The ruins of Sand Springs Station.

NPS Photo

Quick Facts
Sand Springs Pony Express Station, U.S. Route 50, 26 miles East of Fallon, NV
Site of Sand Springs Station, a relay station for the Pony Express, on the Pony Express National Historic Trail. Intact ruins of the original 1860 station building are still standing.
National Register of Historic Places

Historical/Interpretive Information/Exhibits, Parking - Auto, Scenic View/Photo Spot, Trailhead

Pony Express Nevada No. 26 Contract Station (Sand Springs / Mountain Well)

“The water near this vile hole was thick and stale with sulphury salts: it blistered even the hands. The station-house was no unfit object in such a scene, roofless and chairless, filthy and squalid, with a smoky fire in one corner, and a table in the centre of an impure floor, the walls open to every wind, and the interior full of dust." - Sir Richard Burton, 1862


No two Pony Express stations are identical. They were built in a variety of ways using the resources found at each station's location. To know what one now in ruin used to look like, two items are used- descriptions written when the building was intact and items discovered during archeological surveys. Having both provides the best guess about a station's appearance and the activities of the people who lived in them.

Sir Richard Burton, traveling by stagecoach, visited Sand Springs Station in 1862. The above quote is his description of the station. In the years afterwards, Sand Springs was buried by the sand. It was not re-discovered until 1976, when an archeological team found the ruins. The team surveyed the station as they unburied it and discovered numerous artifacts. But overall, the items did not sync with Burton's description. And the ruins did not match records showing Sand Springs was a Pony Express relay station- the building is twice the size of the average one!

The mystery was answered when the 1976 survey items were evaluated. One discovery was the ruins seen today are for a building that was constructed in three different phases. Importantly, a close look at room #4 reveals it is not attached to the structure- it was added after the original station was built. This room is half of the building; when added, it created a building twice the size of the Pony Express relay station. The survey also found telegraph insulators, resister wire, ox shoes, wagon parts, and a ceramic item made in 1896. Together, they solve the Sand Spring's mystery. The ruins are from a Pony Express relay station, and from an overland stage station, a telegraph station, and the home and corral of two prospectors. 50 years of history in remote western Nevada is found in the ruins.

Sand Springs Station is a National Park Service Vanishing Treasure. When visiting, please respect the site and do not climb on or disturb the ruins. Only with your help can the station be preserved and future visitors given the opportunity to experience it as you have experienced it.

Site Information

Location (Sand Springs Station site is located at the entrance to Sand Mountain Recreation Area; travel 26 miles east of Fallon, NV on U.S. Route 50. Sand Mountain Recreation Area will be on your left. Turn onto its entrance road and follow signs to Sands Spring Pony Express Station.)

Available Facilities
Sand Springs Station has a dirt and gravel parking lot, a short walking path to the ruins, and wayside exhibit signs that tell the story. Sand Mountain Recreation Area has additional facilities and things to do.

More Site Information 

Pony Express National Historic Trail

Pony Express National Historic Trail

Last updated: June 18, 2024