Fort Churchill was once an active U.S. Army fort built in 1861. It housed hundreds of soldiers and other employees of the fort. It was primarily used to protect wagon trains coming across the desert into California from the local Native American tribes during the Pyramid Lake War—which began when three men living at a nearby fort kidnapped several young Paiute girls.
Thousands of dollars were spent building and maintaining the fort and while it also became a Pony Express station and a sight for sore eyes after the 40 Mile Desert, it was abandoned less than 10 years later. Many of the adobe buildings can still be seen up close and the state park has a campground, interpretive center, graveyard, river access and some amazing views.
Out of all the places we've been camping, Fort Churchill might be one of my favorite campgrounds: it's small, but private with massive trees, large sites, fire pits, picnic tables and birds everywhere. It was dead quiet at night except for a few owls.