Ike's Canyon Ranch
A Writer's Far Outpost
A few facts about Ike's Canyon Ranch
Setting The Stage
It is 67 acres of high plains desert paradise nestled in the foothills of the Toquima Range and surrounded by national forest. It's on the edge of open-range ranching country in the Monitor Valley, which runs north-south in the dead center of Nevada. it is a part of America's Great Basin.
The ranch was once a stagecoach stop between Austin and Belmont. The old stone cabin stage stop was restored in the 1990's and it's now one of our guest accommodations.
We are not a cattle ranch or a horse ranch, though given the open range we see many small herds of wild horses.
We're a writers ranch.
We have no light pollution at all, so many visitors will see the Milky way, sometimes for the first time in their lives.
Most people do not believe a place like this still exists.
Ike's Canyon Ranch is set in one of the least populated, most remote and wild areas in the contiguous states of the US. It's about 30 miles of dirt road off Nevada State Highway 50, also known as the Loneliest Road in America.
The Monitor Valley (named after a formation that resembles the iron-hulled Civil War battleship) is about the size of Rhode Island with fewer human residents than can fit inside a small city bus.
Our nearest human neighbors are 20 miles south. We are vastly outnumbered by the hardy non-human residents.
It's high plains desert, sage and pinyon country. We get less than eight inches of precipitation per year.
It can snow any month of the year, but seldom does June through September.
It's predominately warm, clear and dry in the summer and fall, occasionally reaching the 90's, but given the elevation, (7200 feet), it rarely gets uncomfortably hot. When it does, there are shady cabins and porches for cool retreat. It always cools way down in the evening for a great night's sleep.
(That's the Toiyabe range in the background of this picture.
Wildcat Peak is the tallest behind the ranch, rising to 11,089 feet. )
The valley land is sandy and green with sage, speckled with juniper and Pinyon pine. Higher up in the canyons, the slopes are green with taller pine, low sturdy mountain Mahogany and beautiful quaking aspen.
While hiking here, fossils from ancient sea beds can be found along side arrow heads and broken tools the miners left. The fourth tallest peak in Nevada, Mount Jefferson, tops out at 11,949 feet 20 miles to the south.
From the big cool front porch, there’s a view of Diana’s Punchbowl three miles east. It is an extinct geyser, a remnant of the Yellowstone geothermal formation.
There are public soaking hot springs in the area, Spencer Hot Springs on BLM land about 25 miles from the ranch. You could visit on the way here.
Here at the Ranch we have an awesome wood-fired hot tub, so we happily stay at home to soak.
We are 300 miles north of (crazy and entertaining) Las Vegas, and 250 miles east of (cool and hip) Reno.
north from Las Vegas is the east entrance to Death Valley National Park, as well as the Amargosa sand dunes, the old Gold boomtown of Goldfield, and the historic former Nye county seat, Belmont, today A revitalizing ghost town. Dirty Dick's Saloon is a must-see when passing through.
We are a (long or short) day's drive from The Grand Canyon, Lake Mead, The Hoover Dam, Great Basin National Park, Lake Tahoe, Area 51, Burning Man, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, Glenn Canyon/ Lake Powell, Monument valley, Valley of the Gods, Bears Ears and Natural Bridges National Monument, Capitol Reef National Park, Escalante Grand Staircase, just to name a few of the many magnificent national monuments as well as small but fascinating state parks. Cathedral Gorge State park on the Utah border, and Berlin-ichthyosaur State Park off highway 50 between Austin and Fallon are two gems not to be missed.
The nearest campground to Ike's is the Pine Creek Campground 20 miles to the south. The hickison petroglyph recreation area is about 30 miles away on highway 50, also much of the land around the ranch is BLM and forest Service, so people can camp and hike almost anywhere.
Arc Dome Wilderness and Alta Toquima Wilderness Areas are available to the fleet-of-foot adventurers.
There are caves to explore in the area, also petroglyphs and the strange and beautiful wind-sculpted volcanic ash formations in White Rock Canyon to the south.
The landscape is broad, spare and majestic. It's forbidding to most, but native Americans have lived here for centuries. Prospectors stopped here on the way to and from the California gold fields. cattle ranchers and others followed with the influx of western expansion. When the mines played out and the economy they built crashed, nearly all small private land parcels were consolidated into two large ranches here in the Monitor Valley. Hence, today there are very few people remaining, though traces of all these prior inhabitants are scattered on the land, visible to any careful observer.
Wild horses, antelope, deer, elk, coyote are common. Rabbits are plentiful. We see tracks for bobcats and mountain lions too, birds abound - from ravens and hawks, to the flashy mountain blue birds, noisy pinyon jays, many species of owls and sage grouse with their spectacular mating dances. Migrations of eagles, herons, and hummingbirds are of great interest to birders.
They kindly allow us to share this land with them.
More on Animals of central Nevada.
The roads are here are dirt (actually well- maintained gravel).
To get here, drive your car, or fly into Reno or Las Vegas and rent a car. Let us know when you are arriving, and let us help you plan any way we can.
Due to the roads and distances, visitors need to consider the condition of their car and tires.
We travel with food and water. People are very friendly here, and they will stop to help you, but you might not see anyone. your cell coverage will not be reliable once you leave pavement.
You can get GPS directions to the ranch in advance and download them. On AppleMaps use: 3350 Ike's Canyon Road, Manhattan, NV 89022. It will point you in the right direction.
We ask all visitors to let us know what day and time they are coming so we can assure a safe and secure arrival at the ranch.
We have your back.
The ranch is off the power grid and runs almost entirely on solar and hydro power, with a generator as back-up and wind power coming ASAP.
This is all good news except for those who want the use of heat-producing devices such as blow driers or curling irons, which gobble up all the battery power.
Please keep this in mind when packing.
Communication Realities and Philosophies
We are not on social media. To Communicate with us, you have to call, write, text or come by.
Phone: We have a large-antennae modified cell phone that resembles the functionality of an old-school Landline. (775.761.7777). This is the phone you will use for calls. give this number to people who need to reach you while you are here. this number does not accept text.
To text us, use 775.500.1494.
When you are here, you can text via our internet from your phone.
Internet: We have good, fast satellite internet, but it has a limited allotment each month. Because of this we ask everyone to be conscious of internet use while here. Text, email and non-video web browsing are fine. We ask you not to facetime, video skype, youtube, and the like, during your stay.
This place is pretty much antithetical to much of the modern world's social connectivity. We believe in face-to-face people connectivity. As you might have guessed by now, we encourage visitors to unplug at Ike's. We think this is a good idea. This is a rare and valuable environment for writers and for nurturing writing processes. We strive to keep it that way.
Visit the Ike's Canyon Book shop @