Water is a rare sight in the desert, especially during the summer. One fairly small, but generally unnoticed body of water that has always been a curiosity to me is Bombo’s Pond. Located just off of the US 95 highway and Vanderbilt Road, just south of Beatty, Nevada on the west side of the road, this pond seems quite out of place. Just driving past it on the highway it doesn’t look like much, but if you pull off and take a closer look you quickly realize it is much larger and scenic than one would expect.
The abundance of water in this general area makes it a great spot for bird watching as well as other wildlife. Burros are not an uncommon sight and there are a variety of dragonfly species around the pond and river. Fishing is permitted in Bombo’s Pond, but only catch and release. The tall reeds and other vegetation made possible by the pond shield it from road fairly well, creating a sense of seclusion despite being just off a busy thoroughfare.
Unfortunately the pond is not big enough for boating but many like to try out their remote controlled boats here. Swimming may be legal, at least there are no signs forbidding it, but probably not recommended. While it may not offer all the activities possible on larger lakes, Bombo’s Pond is a nice and unique spot to stop for a picnic during a road trip and take in some of the beautiful mountain scenery.
Due to Bombo’s Pond’s close proximity to one of the only constantly visible segments of the Amargosa River across the highway, it is easy to assume the river fills the pond. This does not seem to be the case, however. There are actually a few smaller springs in the area, and Vanderbilt Springs are closest to the pond making them the likely source of renewal for Bombo’s Pond.
Mine outcroppings are visible on the mountain across the pond, and there have been a few mines in the general area throughout the town’s history. The pond is man-made, albeit indirectly. The area was previously used for prospect pits during the mining era, and later as a quarry during construction of the highway. I was not able to verify if the pit was filled with water intentionally to create the pond or if it just happened by chance.
It is kind of funny how the name “Vanderbilt” keeps coming up. As we discovered in a previous article Visiting Vanderbilt, the ghost town is connected to Beatty by the town’s namesake, M.M. Beatty. Vanderbilt, California was named after a different Vanderbilt Spring located in that area. Those springs were named by government surveyors; neither of the springs nor the ghost town have any connection to the Vanderbilt family. It is certainly possible that Beatty named the springs outside of Beatty after the springs in California.
Fluorspar Canyon and the abandoned cabin we explored a few months ago are also a stone’s throw away. The Beatty Museum is well worth a visit, and the famous ghost town of Rhyolite is only a few miles away as well.