We love finding places like this. They’re like little unexpected gems, hidden in between popular destination campgrounds. I only knew about this one because it appeared on the Allstays campground map and I was looking for something along Highway 50, roughly in the middle, between Great Basin and the Sierras.
Before reviewing this place though, I want to note that taking Highway 50, rather than 80, across Nevada has given me a whole new appreciation for our neighbor to the East. One of the things we learned about the geography of this place is that its hundreds of ranges and valleys were created as the result of stretching in the Earth’s crust when the tectonic plates pulled apart. Stretch marks. And that’s about how attractive I have always found the place when I’ve crossed it as quickly as possible on my way somewhere else. Highway 50 doesn’t try to avoid the ranges, so the route is more direct, though definitely less flat. That means you get to avoid all of the trucking traffic. It is known as “The Lonliest Road in America” for a reason, and I found it to be quite beautiful and far more relaxing. Now that we know about this little midway spot, I think this will be our route of preference heading East.
Hickison Petroglyphs Recreation Area is off the highway just to the East of Austin, maybe a mile up a gravel road to a small campground. There are no services and the vault toilets are… well… it’s a free campground so you can’t complain too much. There is a short interpretive trail that will take you to some of the rock carvings. The nice thing was how remote the place feels from everything. We shared the campground with two other campers and I’d be surprised if it ever fills up. The sites along the edge have wind screens over the picnic tables and a nice view of the valley. At night, the only lights you can see come from the stragglers on the highway. The stars are nuts. We really enjoyed this spot.
Total miles: 190.6, 17.9 mpg, 3 hours 50 min.