Major’s Junction! ~ The Great Basin Desert

Major’s Junction! ~ The Great Basin Desert

Anybody that has traveled in northern Nevada will know just how desolate the Great Basin Desert can be.  The small towns and gas stations can be over 150 miles apart on any stretch of road that passes through this vast desert region.  When looking at a map, just a few tiny dots appear and it is easy to assume that planning a trip to this region would be a waste of time.  Travel decisions based upon assumptions like this are short sighted, because all it takes is a little more research to find plenty of unique places to experience in the Great Basin Desert.  

Historic Ely, Nevada is the top basecamp choice when touring the Great Basin National Park and Major’s Junction is located somewhere about halfway in between. Major’s Junction actually is where U.S. Highway 93 intersects with U.S. Highway 50. These two highways share the same road to Ely and when going east to the National Park the road is only called Highway 50. As can be imagined, this tourism corridor intersection would seem quite appealing to an enterprising individual and this is where Major’s Junction fits in!  

When going from Ely east to the Great Basin National Park, there are several historic markers that are worth checking out along the way. Some of these state markers designate old historic sites and ghost towns that may or may not still be there.  Some of the markers provide directions on how to get to places like the Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Site, which is down a long dirt side road. The remnants of the old Osceola Ghost Town are also near a historic marker that is just east of Major’s Junction.  As can be seen, all it takes is a little bit of internet browsing to find plenty of things to experience in the vast desolate expanse of the Great Basin Desert!  

The dirt road to the Ward Charcoal Kilns is well maintained, so it should not be a problem for regular passenger cars or sport utility vehicles, even on a rainy day.  The dirt roads that lead to Osceola Ghost Town are a bit dicier and a high ground clearance vehicle or 4×4 is recommended, especially on a rainy day.  I was driving a low ground clearance Hemi Challenger during the trip, so any kind of muddy road excursion was not a good option.  The best that could be done was to photograph the entrance areas, so it would be easier for readers to find their way to these interesting historic marker destinations.

Major’s Junction is high and dry in the mountains on a paved road, so this unique point of interest is easy to get to in any kind of vehicle.  Starting at about 10 miles before Major’s Junction when heading east on Highway 50, it becomes easy to think that this region must be great for hunting wild game, because there are mountains, patches of deep forests, green grassy meadows and plenty of watering holes.  This is the terrain that hunters dream about and a little closer to Major’s Junction, the confirmation becomes evident in a big way.  In this area, roadside signs for local hunting guides and wild game meat processors start to pop up every few hundred yards!  Every fence line and ranch entrance gate is literally covered with deer, elk, bighorn sheep and pronghorn antelope antlers!  The antlers on the top of the long fences act as barbed wire and the antler adorned ranch fences actually do stretch for several miles.  Some of the large ranch gateway arches were made with so many antlers, that it was impossible to count them all!  

To a hunter, the sight of tens of thousands of antlers used to decorate ranches is like a dream come true!  Anywhere close to Major’s Junction, Nevada, is prime wild game hunting territory.  Hunting is the source of revenue in this region and the hunting is good.  Those who seek a great place for hunting vacation excursion will like what this area has to offer. This is especially true, because the historic town of Ely even has an old steam engine train tour that adds to the old west charm! Hunting for mule deer and elk in the mountains near Major’s Junction is like stepping back in time to the days of the old wild west!

After passing all the old ranches that are decorated with zillions of antlers, Major’s Place comes into view.  Major’s Place is an old fashioned RV park that has a bar and restaurant.  This bar & grill is a famous destination for motorcycle rallies and car club tours.  Biker club rallies are a big draw in the west and old fashioned saloon destinations that are out in the wide open spaces are top choice.  Major’s Place definitely fits the bill of fare with plenty of good old fashioned western hospitality!

RV camper tourism has always been popular out west and Major’s Place is well known within this circle too.  From an RV perspective, there are travel routes that have manageable grades through the mountains, while some are steep enough to guarantee an overheated motor, so researching the best route through the mountains ahead of time is good to do. Those who prefer an RV camper for a base camp during a seasonal hunting venture will surely like this location and this is what makes the Major’s Place RV Park an ideal spot.

Those who are curious may happen to wonder who is Major and why does this name appear on everything anywhere close to this junction.  There is only one way to find the answer to this inquiry and that is to simply pop into Major’s Place for some refreshments and strike up some conversation! Major’s Junction is just one of many interesting nooks and crannies in the Great Basin Desert and those who take the time to check out the little places along the way will have a much more fulfilling journey!

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Author: wildwestdestinations

I worked as a chef in remote resorts and National Parks, which provided the time to explore western travel destinations. I have a BA Degree in Culinary Management with high honors and currently I am working on a Masters Degree in Adult Education. My food and travel blog writing began as a means to generate income during college and now photo journalism has become my lifestyle.

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