View Full Version : Help me plan my vacation-Vegas-Manhattan-Belmont-Reno-Bodie-Home

02-13-2012, 09:23 AM
So I am taking 11 days parole in the first week of April. I'd really like to make it to Belmont and Manhattan to say the very least. From there, I want to wind back to Reno/Carson city and down to Bodie.

I have never been to the Belmont and Manhattan area, so if anyone can offer some travel tips from Tonopah there, please do. We'll be in the FJ with the offraod camp supply trailer in tow. I'd like to spend the night at the Belomnt Inn if it is still open.

Thoughts and comments are welcomed!


David A. Wright
02-13-2012, 04:39 PM
First of all, central and northern Nevada in early April will be cold, possibly snowy, and muddy. Bodie will likely not be doable during the first week of April. Unless you have a snowmobile.

Belmont and Manhattan is an easy drive. I'm sure you've consulted the maps and have a route in mind. I think the main road north from NV376 is paved all the way now, I don't know as I haven't travelled its full length in over two decades (I generally have come in from the north via Monitor Valley, exit via Manhattan).

Manhattan is on a paved state highway, pavement ending on the eastern side of town. If you wish to hit Manhattan first then Belmont, simply continue along the dirt road down into Ralston Valley to the Belmont road, which is paved up into the old town.

Early April is generally a cold and snowy time in central Nevada, as elevations all through here are above 5,000 feet. Belmont and Manhattan are 6,000 feet plus.

Don't limit yourself to simply the main Belmont townsite, as over the hill to the east is East Belmont, which has plenty of ruins as well.

If you were going later in May or June, there is a great campground (free) at Pine Creek, about 15 miles north (as the hawk flies) from East Belmont. It's located just into the piņon pine belt along a heavy flowing creek with plenty of trees and willows. The Monitor Valley is a great treat to see and drive through. It's empty (except for three or four small ranches hardly visible), freeway smooth dirt road (in dry weather later in spring after annual blading) and you'll pass more wild antelope and mustangs than you will cars between Las Vegas and Tonopah.


Looking over the main Belmont townsite. The larger building center left is the former Nye County courthouse, which fell out of use after Tonopah secured the county seat very early in the 20th century.






A view northerly over East Belmont, looking along Monitor Valley. The tall stack is that of the former Combination Mill.


The Combination Mill stack and the Monitor Valley and Monitor Range. Look closely at the stack of the Combination when you visit. It is cratered extensively by large caliber machine guns by passing military planes during WW2 training as it made for a great target.


The ruins of the Highbridge Mill, a short distance south of the Combination.


If the snow isn't too deep, a tempting pathway above the Highbridge leads one to the summit of a hill adjacent to Cemetery Hill. Gorgeous views in all directions might distract one from finding a small gulch just off the path which hides four small stone cabins like this one. The view is easterly into Monitor Valley.


Now for Manhattan. This is the main drag, viewing west.


Another view of Manhattan.

I'd suggest getting hold of NEVADA GHOST TOWNS & MINING CAMPS, by Stan Paher. It's now a 2-volume softcover these days. If you can find an original, hard bound, single volume edition in your library or online (I'd try www.abebooks.com (http://www.abebooks.com)), I'd check it out as there are far more historical photos and historical facts.

I'd also suggest purchasing modern topographical map software, such as Terrain Navigator or National Geographic's TOPO! Each covers the entire state in a multi-CD set that you can load to your hard drive and view the maps in numerous views, from that looking like original paper topo maps to 3D Google Earth like flyovers, including shaded relief to the standard view of the maps to give you a better idea of the topography. And you can scroll all over the state in map view to your heart's content without having to open up single maps. It used to be that the TOPO! Nevada set retailed for $100 plus, but I got mine new a year ago for less than $50 online.

02-14-2012, 10:46 AM
Thanks for the photos David. yeah, last Bodie trip was in July of last year. It was chilly in Bodie then and still some snow in the high mountains. We may not do Bodie and then save that for a combined Bodie and CErro Gordo trip in the summer. Not sure yet. We'll check the park conditions before we make that plan. LIke you pointed out, there is a lot to see right around Belmont and Manhattan. Heck, you can stay busy all the way up to Austin which is what we may do depending on weather and road conditions. I have to buy a tent heater for the wife. :)

Like last time, we'll keep whittling away at this and will have the ability to make changes on the fly. With the amount of time we have to do this we can take our time and explore.

As always, thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience.


David A. Wright
02-14-2012, 11:39 AM
I was re-thinking my comment on travelling to Belmont via Manhattan. The road is maintained dirt, but since it's route is in a canyon on the east side of the Toquima Range, it may be snow covered. I don't know if Nye County does winter maintenance on that road.

As I mentioned above, the road north from NV375 to Belmont may be paved now in its entirety (I know that it's paved between Belmont and the turnoff to Manhattan). My topographic software shows it as being NV82, so it likely is. If not, any dirt portions should be passable in winter.

Being that this winter is far dryer than normal for the region, there won't be as much snow in Bodie as normal, unless the weather pattern reverses itself back toward a normal trend. However, due to its elevation (over 8,000 feet) and proximity to the Sierra Nevada crest, snow gets deep and stays long. I wouldn't count on getting in via vehicle until May; even that month can have periods where the road is closed by snow. I've been in Bodie more than 50 times, in all seasons (I used to enjoy snowmobiling or cross-country skiing into town during winter during the years I lived in nearby June Lake - 1974-1985). I've seen it snow every month of the year.

You mentioned an inn at Belmont. The last time I visited was in 2006 and the only business I recall was Indian Maggie's saloon.

Since you're pulling a tent trailer - maybe now with a heater - the surrounding vicinity of Belmont is public land thus campable wherever you choose (the vistas of the Monitor Range and valley at the Highbridge Millsite are wonderful, though you are in sight of a home atop a hill very close to the millstack at the Combination). There are two or three newer homes in East Belmont as of 2006.

In Belmont there appeared to be several inhabited homes, though I haven't a clue as to how many there are since I only stuck to the main townsite on my last visit.

02-15-2012, 12:53 PM
David, I saw something saying that there was a Belmont Inn there. If not, we'll look around or possibly camp out.

I'm looking at a laptop mount this week and buying TOPO and a GPS sensor for the laptop so that should help.

I am planning two routes, dependant on weather at the time we may do Bodie, or we may head to Austin the go back east and down to Ely and then go camp at Cathedral Gorge one night. It will all depend on what weather looks like in the last of March.

David A. Wright
02-15-2012, 10:48 PM
My buddy runs an older, tablet style PC and TOPO:


He uses a standard hand held GPS and keeps it atop his dash in his JK Wrangler, the tablet sitting on the passenger seat for reference. There are many tablet mounts for the dash available and they appear to take up far less space than a laptop. I'm considering one as well now that tablet prices are dropping.

02-20-2012, 07:31 AM
Looks like Bodie is out until at least the first of May for driving in from either side. We'll adjust the route now and go to Austin, then Ely and back down along 93 to spend a night in the Cathedral Gorge which is one of our favorite camping sites.

06-27-2015, 09:15 PM
If you had a choice of Belmont or Manhattan (but not both) in a half-day trip out of Tonopah, which one would it be?