LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Nevada is so much more than casinos and residency shows. The Nevada State Parks system along with some National Parks are rich in history and natural wonder that can lead to a perfect day trip or weekend getaway close to home.
Kershaw Ryan State Park is just over 2 hours from Las Vegas near Caliente. The Kershaw family moved to the Meadow Valley Wash in 1873 and planted an orchard where the park is today. The area is full of natural springs that grow a garden of wild grapevines, white oaks, fruit trees, and willows. The scenery is ever-changing depending on what direction you are looking. The park has mountain bike trails, hiking trails, and camping sites.
Cathedral Gorge State Park is just about 30 minutes north of Kershaw Ryan near Panaca, Nevada. You will feel as if you are walking on the moon at this state park that got its beauty from explosive volcanic activity tens of millions of years ago. With each eruption layers of ash, hundreds of feet thick were deposited here. Erosion resulted in the cave-like formations and cathedral-like spires that we see today that are perfect for exploring. You can camp here and stay up late to watch the stars with unobstructed views. Cathedral gorge became one of Nevada's first four state parks in 1935.
Cave Lake State Park is a 4-hour drive from Las Vegas and makes a perfect weekend getaway near Ely. Camping, fishing, hiking, and more are just a sample of activities at this state park. The Cave Lake reservoir was originally built in 1939 by the Isbell Construction Company. Lake access is currently closed for the Cave Creek Dam restoration project however the park has many activities to enjoy including snowmobiling, sledding, and snowshoeing in the winter months. The rest of the year hiking is perfect and trails are dog-friendly. Remember to bring a leash.
Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park is a great stop when you visit Cave Lake and Ely. This state park is rich in history and has six beehive-shaped charcoal ovens that operated from 1876 through 1879 during the silver boom years in the area. Now they stand as a reminder of days gone by and the park today features areas for camping, picnicking, hiking, and fishing.
Nevada also features some great recreation areas run by the National Parks system.
Great Basin National Park makes a perfect weekend camping trip in the spring through fall and is a 5-hour drive north of Las Vegas. The park covers over 77,000 acres and is home to almost every kind of outdoor activity. The park’s Alpine Lakes Loop Trail features Stella Lake in all its beauty. You will walk among ancient bristlecone pines and at night take in the darkest of night skies. Campsites, RV spots and cabins all make a perfect overnight getaway here.
Whether you are heading out for a day or a long weekend getaway make sure to check out the 27 Nevada State Parks and several national parks and monuments within the Silver State.