Eastern Nevada State Parks

Location: Lincoln and Clark Counties, Nevada

Today we slept in a little to make up for our late arrival into Las Vegas last night. Sadly this meant that we were still out of bed before 8:00 AM and on our way to visit a couple parks in Lincoln County within the hour.

After a mostly uneventful 2.5 hr drive we made it to our first destination of the day, Cathedral Gorge State Park. We started by exploring the Moon Caves. These were a series of eroded silt and claystone canyons in the surrounding hills. We explored these for about an hour before making our way deeper into the park.  Next we took a two mile hike upon through a gorge to the scenic overlook at a top of a hill. We were flanked by beautiful (if not somewhat stunted) siltstone formations.

Cathedral Gorge State Park
Cathedral Gorge State Park
Fish-eye view of the eroded canyons.
Fish-eye view of the eroded canyons.

After about 20 minutes we climbed our way to the top. There we found a couple gazebos serving as shade for an overlook for the entire park.

Climbing to the top.
Climbing to the top.

As we walked around the first gazebo and turn a corner we heard a rattle. It was a rattlesnake sunning itself on the side of the structure. Ryan pushed Rachel out of the way and ran in the opposite direction. The rattlesnake did not pursue us. Instead, it stop rattling and in a couple minutes slithered into the bushes over the cliff side. This was the highlight of the day. After taking a few pictures, we walked back to our car and completed the circuit of the park.

The Rattlesnake

Before we left the park, we pulled back the roof on the camaro and drove to our our second state park of the day, Kershaw-Ryan State Park. We enjoyed the sunlight and managed the wind. Any resemblance between Ryan’s driving persona and the bad-ass muscle car desert driving skills of Richard Patrick is entirely coincidental.

At Kershaw we did a mile long hike up a hill to get a great view of the park’s canyon. Unlike Cathedral which had an outdoor feel to it, Kershaw seemed more like an exurban park where people could have outdoor bar-b-ques and swim in a pool.

Kershaw-Ryan State Park
Kershaw-Ryan State Park

After Kershaw, we raised the roof on our car and drove back to the hotel in Vegas. We had a quick dinner and got ready for our last state park of the day. Our last destination was Valley of Fire State Park. We visited it last year, just before we drove to Mesquite, NV to see the annular eclipse. It was a great find! This time around, we went there at night, specifically to avoid the bright city lights of Las Vegas and instead try to see the Milky Way and get practice some astrophotography. Sadly with the half-moon still out, we weren’t able to get any good pictures of the milky way.

Star trails in Valley of Fire State Park
Star trails in Valley of Fire State Park

Tomorrow we plan to visit Bryce Canyon National Park and Snow Canyon State Park in Utah.


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