When someone tells you they are going to Nevada, what comes to mind? Las Vegas, right? But did you know, Nevada actually has 24 beautiful state parks? We did a small getaway trip northeast of Vegas to check out the town of Pioche and its surrounding state parks.
Great Basin Highway
As you head north of Las Vegas, you are greeted by miles of Great Basin Highway. We loved driving this two lane highway. through these back roads. As you know, I am a sucker for for a good photo op, and there were many of them along the way! Being from Chicago, we don’t see these views everyday!
Town of Pioche
Located about 3 hours northeast of Vegas is the historic town of Pioche. In 1870, this town was one of Nevada’s biggest producers of silver ore. It has a ton of history, and the locals are happy to share their knowledge of the town. Make sure to spend the night at the Overland Hotel and Saloon! Rumor has it that the Overland is a haunted hotel. It was featured on the Ghost Adventures TV show. Spooky!
About 20 minutes south of Pioche, you will find Cathedral Gorge State Park. We were pleasantly surprised by this unique terrain and how much this park has to offer. Make sure to stop at Miller’s Point — we almost missed it! Take the staircase down into the gorge for a hike and picturesque views. The park is truly otherworldly and is worth a stop!
Echo Canyon State Park
When all you hear are the birds and the sound of water, you know you are in the right place. Echo Canyon is actually on the way to Spring Valley State Park. This park is a perfect place to get away from the everyday city chaos. The best way to experience it is lying on a blanket with a good book and a cold drink!
Spring Valley State Park
Now if you like fishing, this is THE place to be! I don’t fish, but if I did, this is where I would go :) The lake here is very big — we were quite surprised by how wide it was! Apparently, ice fishing is amazing here in the winter, too. I can only imagine the stars at night!
If you like photo ops like I do, the city of Caliente is a must! This Caliente Railroad Depot was something I scouted right away on the way to the town. If you want to feel like a movie star in a Western from 1923, then it is a must stop!
Kershaw-Ryan State Park
If you love camping, this is the perfect spot! There are miles of trails between the canyon walls at Kershaw-Ryan, with a green/lush/vibrant group picnic area with a spring fed pool, koi pond, and playground for the kiddos! We would love to come back here some day in our future RV."
Okay, who doesn’t like a scenic drive? After hours of hiking and being outdoors, driving on a scenic route was a great change. As you leave Kershaw-Ryan State Park, turn south onto the Rainbow Canyon scenic drive. This 20-mile drive is very picturesque, so you can see the beauty without the crowds. Always remember to drive within the speed limit, even if no one is around. This region is home to many animals, and it is up to us to keep them safe! On several occasions, we saw deer on the side of the road. Keep your eyes wide open!
When you have visited lots of touristy places, you appreciate getting away from the chaos and to explore more of the unknown. We were very fortunate to visit the town of Pioche, along with four of Nevada State Parks. Remember, Nevada is more than just Las Vegas :) There is so much more beauty to explore!
Thank you Travel Nevada for hosting us on this amazing adventure. If you'd like to learn more about Nevada and what is has to offer, make sure to check them out right here!
Adri & Kam