10 Sand Mountain

along U.S. Highway 50, twenty miles east of Fallon, Nevada

Sand Mountain dominates the Salt Wells Basin and is visible from Mt. Rose peak in the Carson Range 82 miles to the west. The dune is important to off highway vehicle enthusiasts, biologists, Native Americans, and geologists. Sand Mountain is a sinuous transverse dune derived from Ice Age Lake Lahontan beach sands piled here by southwesterly-trending winds. The dune is the Stillwater Northern Paiutes’ Panitogogwa, a giant rattlesnake traveling to the northeast with the wind to its back. The snake can be heard as it moves toward its hole, a phenomenon geologists associate with “singing” sand dunes. The Sand Mountain blue butterfly is only found here where it is depends on the Kearney buckwheat plant. The dunes clearly marked the location of nearby Sand Springs, improved and mapped in 1859 as a potential emigrant stop by Army Lieutenant James H. Simpson. Sand Springs later served as the location of the Sand Springs Pony Express Station in 1860 and the terminus of the 1866 Fort Churchill and Sand Springs Toll Road.

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