Centerville Flat today is a campground with undeveloped sites and few reminders that this was at one time a bustling western boomtown and is good access for fishing. The town, northeast of Silver Mountain at the junction of the East Carson River and Silver Creek, was not a mining community, but the location of Richardson’s sawmill. Operated by Lewis Chalmers until about 1868, it produced eight to ten thousand feet of lumber per day. A supply center for the surrounding mines, the small village boasted a tavern and stores. From here the old road to Bodie went to Gray’s Landing, across Silver King Valley, ascended Snodgrass Canyon, and continued on to the east side of the Sierra Nevada.
An old road up Wolf Creek turns southerly from the junction, leading to Wolf Creek Pass and the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness.
Jeffrey Pines (pinus jefferyi), a very close relative to the Ponderosa Pine,
are abundant on the flat. With the same overall look, cone size, needle bundle count (three), and some overlap in growing region, these trees are often mistaken for one another. There are, however, several ways to distinguish them: Jeffrey Pines prefer to live in the Lodgepole Pine forest and on the east side of the Sierra (although there are places where both pines are found together); the bark of the Jeffrey has a more reddish-orange tint on the plates and has a sweet aroma often described as “vanilla;” and the cones of the Jeffrey do not poke when you pick them up. An easy way to identify the two is to remember
“prickly Ponderosa” and “gentle Jeffrey.”
- Elevation: 5,900 ft.
- Mile Marker: 53.7/7.3
- GPS Coordinates: 38 38 3N -119 43 18W
- Service Available: Camping, Fishing, History