This old mining girl is known as the site of "America's last stagecoach robbery" - and the site of the state's most-remote historic markers! The town of Jarbidge sits in a bucolic alpine canyon far away from what most Nevadans would call "civilization" and to conquer "the Jarbidge markers" you gotta slug it out for two hours on dirt just to reach the town. On our conquering in 2008 we noted the exact distance shown below. As tempting as it was to divert off the path, we refrained for this trip to ensure the exact mileage of ...
103.2 miles north of Elko
There's no such thing as a casual visit to Jarbidge, Nevada. While most of us hardened Nevadans may see 103.2 miles as just another jaunt most urbanites may bat twice before branching away from the asphalt. The "cherry-on-top" so to speak is knowing that more than half of the journey will be some gnarly grades and a dusty windshield. It's no wonder then the choice vehicles in these parts are ATVs. As you make the drive to Jarbidge hail to these nifty buggers and give them right of way at all times. Remember, courtesy is contagious. A visit in the fall will reveal plenty of hunters - many of whom are willing to share their stories with the area at the campfire. If this isn't your cup of ephedra then expect this conquering to be a solitary run.
Three ways to Jarbidge:
Our "trip to Jarbidge" presents a sweet read and what you'll face when going after "the Jarbidge markers." Two out of the three routes covered here approach Jarbidge from the south, yet the only dependable route (even during winter) enters Jarbidge from the north!
"Charleston Road" (CR 746 & 748)
From Elko and SR 225
The easiest route into Jarbidge begins in Elko. From Interstate 80, head north out of town on SR 225 to "Mountain City, Owyhee, Boise." An hour later (56 miles) you'll find the turnoff to Nevada's most remote town. Make the right turn here onto "Charleston Road." (Google Maps and the black atlas see this road as "County Route 746.") By either name, say goodbye to the pavement! The next piece of pavement you run across (not counting a few instances in Jarbidge Canyon) will be seventy miles away in Idaho. Once leaving the highway, the Charleston Road snails its way into the hills of classic cattle country until you hit Mile 24. Here you'll come to a crossroads with County Route 748, sometimes signed as "Jarbidge Canyon/Rogerson Road." Turn left here.
- In less than half an hour you'll see why the vehicles of choice up here are ATVs. Without an ATV, these will seem like the longest 27 miles you'll ever drive. See not only does CR 748 tackle some pretty sheer grades, but the chameleonesque scenery hits you like a stack of dominoes - one breath-taking scene right after the other. Certainly time is a non-existent force on this road that neither flies by nor drags on.
- Aside from winter, both roads remain passable in the family sedan, but we highly recommend something with low gears for tackling the road's steep grades and two (that's right, two!) mountain passes to Jarbidge. Elko County regularly closes this southern route to Jarbidge during the winter - meaning the only route into Jarbidge creeps in from Rogerson, Idaho. Don't risk it, folks. Winter travel is a "locals only" game and unless you know somebody (preferably with a winch) don't expect to get here during the cold season.
"Deeth/Tabor Creek Road" (CR 747)
From Deeth and I-80
The second route to Jarbidge heads north from Interstate 80 at Deeth (Exit 323). Like solitary runs? You'll love this one! Once you leave the interstate at Deeth, the terrain is pretty bleak which dissuades all but a few hunters. 747 cuts across wide valleys and open flats until eventually joining up with CR 748 at Charleston. About fifteen miles south of the junction, you'll find some nice campsites at Tabor Creek - one of the few watercourses in this particular area. Tabor certainly isn't mountain paradise, but the BLM manages the facilities quite well with RV hook-ups, pit toilets, firepits with the best thing of all - no fees! Relatively few people visit Tabor Creek which might explain why it's spunky trout population! Tabor's a tangly stream, but the browns and rainbows here are almost always willing to take a fly. Free campgrounds all to yourself with wild trout? Consider using this as a nice start to your Jarbidge adventure!
"Rogerson Road"/"Three Forks Road"
US 93 and Rogerson, Idaho
Ah, the Rogerson Road. The steady and true. Jarbidge locals rely on the Rogerson to get home during the winter and for you most likely your way out of the region.
- To get here follow Interstate 80 to Wells and head north on US 93 for 1.2 hours to Jackpot entering Idaho at Mile 61. Continue on 93 for another twenty miles to Rogerson where a sign will clearly direct you to "Rogerson, Jarbidge." We thought it was a nice touch to see that such a remote outpost town like Jarbidge was worthy of a freeway sign! Take this turnoff from 93 through the town's main center, making another left at the Gas Station/Store (you can't miss it). Google Maps and the black atlas sometimes list this road as "Three Forks Road."
- After leaving Rogerson there isn't really much to spark the interest as the road zips through high plateaulands and dry agriculture valleys of Twin Falls County, Idaho. We shrug our shoulders with this one cool geology fact: you're barely outside the northern border of the Great Basin. As you're zipping through here it's tough to imagine that this road is headed straight for the sweet confines of the Jarbidge Mountains. After forty miles the road suddenly loses pavement and wastes no time descending down to the East Fork Jarbidge River.
- Once in the canyon you'll pass by Murphy's Hot Springs, a tiny hamlet of about twenty souls who live right on the banks of the East Fork Jarbidge. If you want to waste time, this is the place. Murphy's is well off the map in its piney campgrounds and river side hot springs. You'll encounter your last junction in another three miles signed "to Jarbidge." The right fork dead ends at a pretty sweet campsite. Turn left onto this rugged road as it enters Jarbidge Canyon
- After four miles of Idaho you'll pass a small signpost noting your quiet entry back into Nevada and with that, a milepost reading "Elko 748." You're now hugging the east bank of the beautiful West Fork Jarbidge River - views that seem worlds away from "Nevada." On a brief side note we'd easily nominate this area under state park status. Furthermore if you look at the area's pristine backcountry and huge biodiversity you could even somehow squeeze a National Monument nomination in the future. Natural arches and volcanic crags of the canyon wall tower high above the tree-lined river in an area that's changed very little over eons. 748 parallels the river so closely that travel through here mandates a necessary 15 MPH speed limit. Here among tall evergreens, towering walls, and sparkling river it'll be hard to keep your eyes on the road. This final 7-mile stretch to Jarbidge is relatively well-traveled so be prepared to yield for northbound/uphill traffic through the canyon.
After rounding a bend you'll be greeted by the sign below. As the residents would say, "Welcome to our town." Prepare yourselves!