Cedar Pass Road leads to both the Tonopah Test Range [It may lead to the operation near Groom Lake in some convoluted manner, but the north gate entrance would seem to be more direct.]. As usual, there is no sign, so here are the GPS coordinates: N37 45 56.9 W115 58 53.2 . Now what is unusual is this road is paved. There is little to see until you reach the ranch, which is about 8 miles from the ET Highway. The waypoints on the map below were measured in the area, and the dashed line is a GPS trail. The map has two airfields on it. There are no support structures near these air fields. In fact, I didn't notice any airfield in the area. Perhaps the spots are designated for emergency landings, not that there are likely to be any planes falling out of the sky in the immediate area. ;-)
At times, the Red Flag exercises include cargo drops. The drops zones are on public land near the Cedar Pipeline Ranch. This map documents all the drop zones, or technically, all the drop zones I have found. Now unless you have a hankering for something heavy to drop on your head, you might want to keep a safe distance away from these areas if you find the recovery teams on standby. You might find signs to the drop zones, though the signs are used as scratching posts by the cattle, thus they might not exactly point in the right direction. The sign below is found at the waypoint "BOXCAR" on the map below.
The markers just have the names of the drop zones and the year 1990. :
If you are observant, you may have noticed a road to the east of the road leading to the Rock Drop Zone on the map above. It just leads to the border. However, on the way, there is a sign that is bent over so that it can't be read. You would think the sign isn't too important but...
Here's the ranch.( Moo!) You can park under this tree if the cattle let you. Shade in the desert is a rare commodity, and the cattle know it. There is a water source in this area, which of course should not be considered potable. You can use the water to cool your own water bottle by having it run over your bottle or dunking your water bottle in the cattle trough, but only if you studied thermodynamics. A better plan is to use an ice chest.
This is the Tonopah Test Range border. The security is run by the Tonopah Test Range, and not the cammo dudes. [A private security firm, ASI, at one time and may still have the contract. When the Area 51 Information center existed, I saw a patch from ASI security there.] Note the border marks are well away from the guard shack. Let me shout at you: DON'T CROSS THE BORDER! If you are looking at the shack, you may not notice the warning signs if you are driving like a bat out of hell. The GPS coordinates of the border are approximately N37 44 34.3 W116 13 13.1, but look for the warning signs. I witnessed some yahoo in a van drive up to the guard shack, perhaps looking for a short cut, and was turned away at the gate without being ventilated.
Here is a close-up of one of the warning sign areas. There are signs from both the USAF and the DOE. The DOE sign looks like a reprint from an act of congress. You can barely make out the words "Bombing Range" at the bottom of the USAF sign.
There is some communications gear near the shack. The tower at the left of this photo may be for HF (shortwave use), as there does not appear to be an antenna at the top. A smaller radar array can be seen near the middle of the photo, and a satellite dish on top of the orange building. There is now similar radar now at the back gate, so it may have been moved from this location.
The image below is from google earth. Note the antenna seen in the photograph above can be seen below.
Same area, but photograph taken with a bit of altitude, though at a much further distance.
While parked near the Ranch House, this not quite a camo dude decided to pay me a visit. [Face altered to protect identity.] He said he was looking for WMD's or a really tall Arab. Hey, I'm not into that kinky stuff.
These trucks were parked near the guard shack. They appear to be the same as the SA threats, but the radar is folded down.
This gate is south of the ranch. There is no manned presence here, but there may be detection equipment to sense your presence.. Parking here sure gets the Groom trunk radio system hopping. The sign tells you to use the code word "cactus". Neat. I would of never thought of the code word cactus while in the middle of the desert. At the left of the photo, you can see a small pile of dirt that is obviously man-made. I couldn't see any cameras in the dirt pile, but who knows. While hanging out at the ranch, I did see a white vehicle head down this road. In fact, you can see fresh tire tracks in the photo. How often this gate is used or why it is used is a good question.
Here is another warning sign. Subject to search? Ouch!
Employees from Lockheed-Martin head north from the Cedar Pass entrance to access an electronic "threat" system for Red Flag.
There was considerable construction in the area in May 2003, probably building the new runway. This photo is of some of the earth moving equipment used in the project.
The runway in this photo is the light strip of dirt seen in the distance.
The new runway will be used for training purposes. The goal is to have a dirt runway that simulates battlefield conditions. It will be 5000ft long and 60ft wide. Presently the Air Force uses either the Alamo landing strip or the Mellan runway near the TTR for such training. The difficulty with the Alamo strip is that it is located on public land and is far away from the Red Flag exercises, making logistics more difficult. [You can see a parachute exercise at Alamo here.] The Mellan runway is paved, which does not simulate battlefield conditions, plus it is located in "enemy" territory, which is not realistic location for a simulated war. The goal is to have a runway at the FEBA (Forward Edge of the Battle Area.). Planes used for airlift are not armed, and thus shouldn't enter the battle area. The runway will be used by C-130, MC-130, AC-130, C-17, C-150, C-235 (CASA-235 ?), and C-222 (G-222 ?) . Users will be US and Allied airlift, combat search and rescue (CSAR), and special ops.
The following images show the location of the new airfield.
As with any construction project, an environmental report needs to be filed. You can see from the photos that a few cows got dusty due to the construction, but fortunately cattle are not an endangered species, just a tasty one. More information about this runway can be read at the link below:
ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT FOR THE PROPOSED CEDAR PASS AIRFIELD NEVADA TEST AND TRAINING RANGE NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, NEVADA
This photo was shot from Queen City Summit. The color looks a bit odd due to the contrast being cranked up to highlight the Keno airstrip.
Killing some time waiting for the Red Flag planes to appear, I shot a few images from the hill behind the Cedar Pass Ranch. This photograph is of the gate. That's quite a dip in the road!
Some sort of radar site on a nearby hill. The photograph was take from near the "fox 4 radio net" sign, probably in 2000.
This photograph (click on it to get a higher resolution image) is of the same hill, but taken near the south west corner of the border. To get to the spot, first drive on Cedar Pass Rd. up to (but do not cross) the border, then turn left and drive next to the fence (on the unrestricted side) until you reach another fence. [May 2003]
Yet another com/radar/??? site near Cedar pass.
This site can be seen off in the distance towards the west from the ASI security point. [Photo from telescope plus some enlarging. The curvature is probably a telescope abberation.]
Near the DOE/NTS border is a Smokey Sam (faux surface to air missile) site.
Probably a diesel generator.
Nice paint job on the wheel, huh. ;-)
Some Smokey Sam carcasses (i.e. what is left after then are launched).
Page 20: Rough location of bomb burial site
Google Earth grading in the general area. This is possibly the final remediation. The graded soil appears a grayish-green.
Be sure to check out the airplane photos from the Cedar Pass area here.