Dennis Cassinelli: Cathedral Gorge State Park well worth a visit
When I was working along U.S. Highway 93 in Southern Nevada many years ago, I happened to see Cathedral Gorge for the first time. I was amazed at the beauty of the formations in the canyon and the dramatic vertical sided narrow canyons typical of the site.
Cathedral Gorge is located in a long, narrow valley where erosion has carved dramatic and unique patterns in the soft bentonite clay. Trails abound for exploring the cave-like formations and cathedral-like spires. Miller Point, a scenic overlook just north of the park entrance on U.S. 93, offers excellent views of the scenic canyon. Shaded picnic areas and a tree-shaded campground area are open all year. Hiking, picnicking, camping, nature study, photography and ranger programs are the most common activities at the park.
The park is named for the cathedral-like spires commonly seen in the formations throughout the park. A Regional Visitor Center is located at the entrance to Cathedral Gorge, offering interpretive displays and information about all of eastern Nevada and seven state parks. The park and visitor center is located just west of U.S. 93, two miles north of Panaca.
The area is typically arid with hot summers and cold winters. Summer temperatures range from 95 degrees at mid-day to 55 degrees at night. Rainfall is variable and thunderstorms are common. This is the first area in Nevada where I saw a roadrunner.
All camping is on a first-come, first-served basis. Fees are charged per vehicle and are payable in the campground. The campground has 22 developed sites, each with table, grill and shade ramada. Water and a flush restroom with showers are available.
Group use accommodations for day use are available by reservation. Facilities are adjacent to the campground. The group areas offer large ramada, grills, picnic tables and water. Please contact the regional office adjacent to the information center for reservation information.
Although off the beaten path of Nevada State Parks, this place is well worth visiting to see the wonderful and colorful formations that can be found there. Nearby the park is Pioche, one of the most rough-and-tumble ghost towns in the American West. You can also schedule your visit to see the nearby Kershaw-Ryan State Park, one of the most scenic and low-key State Parks in Southern Nevada.
This article is by Dayton author and historian Dennis Cassinelli, who can be contacted on his blog at denniscassinelli.com. All Dennis’ books sold through this publication will be at a 50 percent discount plus $3 for each shipment for postage and packaging.