The Nevada Division of State Parks manages and maintains 23 parks – several with multiple units – within the Nevada State Parks system. Some are well-known, and others are hidden gems. Here are just a few examples of some lesser-known state parks you may want to visit this summer:
Beaver Dam State Park1 is great for hiking, camping, and fishing, thanks to its tremendous natural beauty with deep canyons, streams and waterfalls, and interesting rock formations. The beavers aren’t as present as they were when the park was first named, but you can still find beaver dams there. The park is designated a Watchable Wildlife Area where you are likely to see wild turkeys, jack rabbits, porcupines, mule deer, coyotes, fox, bobcats, great blue herons, mountain lions, and a variety of lizards and snakes.
The 2,393-acre park is in canyon country, about 34 miles east of Caliente, along the Utah border. You can drive there by going six miles north of Caliente on US 93, and then 28 miles east on a gravel road that takes you right to the entrance. High-clearance vehicles are recommended for use in the park, since you’ll have to use dirt and gravel roads to get around.
Cave Lake State Park2 is located about 15 miles southeast of Ely in White Pine County. The 32-acre reservoir is well-stocked with rainbow trout and German brown trout for fishing, and it’s ideal for boating and swimming. The park also offers some wonderful hiking and camping opportunities. It includes two campgrounds – Elk Flat Campground and Lake View Campground – and even offers yurt camping, which uses Mongolian-style round tents with plywood floors.
If you’re planning a summer trip, check out the annual Bathtub Boat Races3 on June 24 in which contestants race modified bathtubs across the lake. The festival has grown to include kayak and canoe races, food vendors, fireworks, and family fun. If you feel like putting your trip off until the winter, Cave Lake State Park has some great ice fishing, skating, snowmobiling, and cross-country skiing. It also hosts the White Pine County Fire and Ice Show, which includes a snow and ice sculpture competition and a fireworks display.
Echo Canyon State Park4 features a 65-acre reservoir in Eastern Nevada near Pioche, and is open all year-round for a variety of outdoor activities, including fishing, boating, swimming, camping, and hiking. Because the area contains water, which is scarce in this remote back country, it attracted native people called the Fremont about 1,000 years ago. Their pottery was discovered near the park’s steel bridge and can be seen in the visitors’ center at nearby Cathedral Gorge State Park.
Events take place at the park all year round, including a $50k Fishing Derby, a Kids Fishing Derby on Free Fishing Day (usually the first weekend in June), and a “Park to Park Pedal” cycling tour in October, which spans three other nearby parks, including Cathedral Gorge, Spring Valley, and Kershaw-Ryan.
Kershaw-Ryan State Park5 is described as an “oasis in the desert,” featuring natural springs, grapevines, rose gardens, white oaks, fruit trees, willows, and other vegetation. Its spring-fed pond provides wading for children, and it offers hiking trails, and great camping and picnic grounds.
The park is in a canyon with beautiful 700-foot waterfalls, and hosts wild horses, deer, and other wildlife that come up to the water for a drink. There are also some amazing rock formations from the lava and ash of ancient volcanoes. Kershaw-Ryan covers 265 acres at the northern end of Rainbow Canyon, two miles south of Caliente.
Washoe Lake State Park6 is located between Reno and Carson City along I-580 in a scenic valley with views of the Sierra Nevada, Carson, and Virginia mountain ranges. It offers spectacular hiking opportunities as well as camping, picnicking, sand dunes, wetlands, water sports, and even equestrian activities. The park is known for its bird-watching, and visitors are likely to see bald eagles, American white pelicans, and Canadian geese.
The lake provides excellent fishing, and hunting with a shotgun is permitted in certain areas during hunting season. It contains 49 designated camping areas with tables, grills, and fire rings. The park is open to camping for the entire year.
Time to Get Away?
Any of these wonderful parks would make great vacation spots for your family or for getaways with friends or partners. Each has its own unique, scenic beauty, and will give you a taste of the true Nevada outdoors.
You can find more about these parks and many others at the Nevada State Parks website (parks.nv.gov) and on the Nevada Department of Tourism website (travelnevada.com).
Photo of Cave Lake provided by Nevada Department of Tourism.
The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank, a division of ZB, N.A.
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