Sand Pass

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Sand Pass is located at the southern end of the Smoke Creek Desert. The Western Pacific Railroad buildings are on the Pyramid Lake Paiute Reservation, so day use permits are required.

Lincoln (1923) states that Fuller's earth was found at Sand Pass, and that the Standard Oil Company prospected the area but found the deposit to not be economical[1].

In 1936, a gravel plant was constructed to provide gravel for maintaining the WP grade.[2][3]

In December, 1945, it was reported that calcareous marl from Sutcliffe was being used by the Lodi Fertilizer Company as a soil conditioner and that 60 car loads per month had been generated. At Sand Pass, 470 acres of private land were under lease and at Zenobia, 400 acres were under lease from the Indian department. A sacking plant was planned for Zenobia.[4]

Florence Drew was a telegraph operator at Sand Pass and later married Roland Bonham.[5] Bonham Ranch is to the north and Flanigan, the Never Sweat Hills and Pyramid Lake are to the south.

WPRR 1910 Timetable showing Sand Pass
c. 1914 map of the W.P.R.R. showing Sand Pass


  1. Francis Church Lincoln, "Mining Districts and Mineral Resources of Nevada," Verdi, Nev.: Nevada Newsletter Publishing Co., p. 238, 1923.
  2. The Deseret News, "Railroad to Renew Grade," March 18, 1936. Description of gravel plant.
  3. Theodore D. Overton, "B046: Mineral resources of Douglas, Ormsby, and Washoe Counties," B046, Nevada Bureau of Mines & Geology, 1947. Full version with lower resolution images. Includes images of Fly Geyser, the Petrified Forest, Gerlach Hot Springs, Sand Pass that are in the collection at UNR.
  4. Nevada State Journal, "Pyramid Marl Finds Market," December 9, 1945, p. 22
  5. Nevada: The Silver State," Vol. 2, p. 859, Western States Historical Publishers, 1970.

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