With stunning scenery in every direction, it’s hard to know where to begin exploring Lincoln County. For those looking to hike, bike, camp, fish, and simply enjoy the great outdoors, look no further than our state parks.
Animal lovers will enjoy Beaver Dam State Park, a designated Watchable Wildlife Area just one hour’s drive from Caliente. The park’s streams, waterfalls and pine forests attract a variety of wildlife including lizards, jack rabbits, porcupines, coyotes, bobcats, great blue herons and even mountain lions. Daytime activities in the park include hiking and fishing, and those who want to extend their stay can spend the night under the stars at the park’s two developed campgrounds.
Delve even deeper into Nevada backcountry at Spring Valley State Park, where visitors can spend a week among the desert wildlife. Spring Valley’s main campground offers 37 campsites equipped with grills, drinking water and restroom access with showers. Those looking to get even more remote can head two miles north to the park’s Ranch Campground, which offers seven campsites with grills, water and primitive restrooms. Activities in the park include hiking, boating and fishing.
More hiking and camping is available just a quick drive from Pioche, Panaca or Caliente at Cathedral Gorge State Park. The park sits on an ancient lakebed that was carved into an otherworldly dreamscape of cliffs, canyons and columns by hundreds of thousands of years of erosion. The stunning views in this park are among the most unique in the area.
Cool down after Cathedral Gorge at Echo Canyon State Park. The reservoir is a popular site for boating and fishing. The park also offers some of the largest campgrounds in the county, with 33 first-come, first-serve campsites and another 20 sites with full hook-up for RVs. The campgrounds feature flush toilets, drinking water, an RV dump ground and direct access to hiking trails with dramatic views of Ash and Echo Canyon.
Last but not least is Kershaw-Ryan State Park, a lush garden nestled between steep canyon walls. Kershaw-Ryan is located just south of Caliente, and its wild grapevines, white oaks and fruit trees have a storied past. Once owned by Samuel and Hannah Kershaw in the late 1800s, the park was known as the “Kershaw Gardens.” The Kershaws planted an orchard in the desert oasis — of which just one apple tree remains. The canyon was sold to the Ryan brothers, successful ranchers who later donated the land to be used as a public park. Today, Kershaw-Ryan offers 16 campsites, RV sites, picnic spots, wandering trails and a children’s wading pool, making it a perfect getaway for families.
Visitors looking for more early Nevada history can travel south on NV-317 from Kershaw-Ryan State Park to the Elgin Schoolhouse State Historic Site, a one-room schoolhouse that dates back to 1922. For 45 years, the Elgin Schoolhouse educated children grades 1-8 who grew up on the ranches of the Rainbow Canyon. Schedule tours of the schoolhouse through Kershaw-Ryan State Park (775-726-3564).