Cedar Pipeline Ranch

Cedar Pipeline Ranch is abandoned; its a 'ghost' ranch, and like UFO's near Area 51 to the south, the ghosts are best seen by true believers. Believer or not, there still is a lot to see here and to speculate about. A word of warning though if you plan to visit. This is open range and cattle roam freely about the ranch. Watch your step.

While I was drawn here by the history, the cattle are drawn by the spring. A free flow of water gushes two to three feet into the air and fills two ponds near the buildings and then flows down a small stream to a third pond about a quarter mile away. Lack of water was definitely not a reason for this ranch being abandoned.

But then, why? One possibility may be the atomic testing at the Nevada Test Site. This area is 'downwind' from the NTS and only 30 or 40 miles distant. The majority of above ground testing occurred in the late '50's and early '60's, and judging from the furniture and appliances that were left in the houses, that's about the period when they were new. There are many stories of cattle losses during that time due to radiation, not just here, but as far away as Utah. Of course that's only one of the possible reason. One look at the surrounding land and its sparse vegetation and its easy to see why a ranch here could loose money, even with a abundant supply of water. The cattle that graze this area now are owned by the Fallini's, whose ranch is about 35 miles north of here at Twin Springs.

The ranch is not part of the Nellis Bombing Range or the secret Area 51. It is public land, managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). While not Air Force property, it appears to be used occasionally by the Air Force as a parking lot and storage area. When I arrived, this truck, with Air Force markings was parked across the road from the ranch. When I passed the ranch about a half hour later on my way back from Cedar Gate, it was gone.
 
Also, stored between two buildings (in the center of the top picture) were two sheet metal devices, shown close up on the right. They looked like they were designed to be perfect radar reflectors. I suspect they have something to do with the Nellis Range and the Air Force training missions, or possibly testing of radar equipment in conjunction with the Tonopah Test Range to the west.

About five miles west of the ranch on the same dirt road is the Cedar Gate entrance to the Nellis Bombing and Gunnery Range. Its not Area 51, and probably has no where near the strict security, but I took no chances. While the border of the range appears to be at the red stop sign, I went no further that a cattle crossing guard a few hundred yards before the sign. This is also the border of the National Wildhorse Management Area. The brown sign, lower left in the picture, say this, and also reminds motorists to drive carefully. No reminders are given to low flying F-16 pilots. The road continues nearly straight west from here, through the pass in the distance to Site 4 of the Tonopah Test Range. The TTR is another interesting semi-secret test airbase. You can learn about it from Tom Mahood's Tonopah Test Range page.

Leaving Cedar Gate, I headed back to Highway 375 and Queen City Summit, a pass between two valleys with an isolated campsite a few miles off the road. From here I had a great view of the Air Force Red Flag exercise going on that week. The picture on the right, grabbed from my videotape, shows one plane over the Penoyer Farms just northwest of Rachel, NV. It was a real thrill to this 'flatlander' to see F-16's screaming through the valleys below my campsite.

 

Email Dave Bethke
on the fringe of Houston
updated 01/05/98