Nevada State Parks

The System Of Nevada State Parks Began In 1935 With Just Four Sites

There are currently twelve State Parks in Nevada plus six Historic Parks and six Recreation Areas.

They all come under the control of the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (NDCNR) who leave the day to day management to their Division of State Parks.

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The system of State Parks in Nevada began in 1935 when four parks were created.

The first of them was the Valley Of Fire State Park which, at 34,880 acres, is also the largest. Another two were Beaver Dam State Park and Kershaw-Ryan State Park.

The fourth of the original state parks in Nevada was created at Cathedral Gorge where the rock formations are simply amazing.

The Rock Formations At Cathedral Gorge State Park

Nevada is the seventh largest state in the Union and is located in the western part of America. The state has as many as 172 mountains with summits that reach over 2,000 feet in height, in fact the average elevation across the state is 5,499 feet.

The highest point is Boundary Peak at 13,147, whilst the highest mountain entirely within Nevada is Wheeler Peak.

The name Nevada originates from the Spanish language and refers to the Sierra Nevada which translates as "snowy range." Nevada was the 36th state to join the Union when it did so on the 31st October 1864.

This was while the American Civil War was still being fought, it is for that reason one of its nicknames is the "Battle Born State."

Nevada Desert Landscape

Before any Europeans reached this part of America the region was inhabited by Native American tribes such as the Paiute, Shoshone and Washoe. The area was first claimed by Spain as part of California but then the Mexican War of Independence brought it under Mexican control.

The United States gained the region in 1848 following their victory in the war against Mexico. It was originally part of the Utah Territory but following the discovery of silver in the state and a huge growth in the population it became the Nevada Territory in 1861.

The establishment of gambling has transformed Nevada into a world recognized tourist destination. However, huge areas of this vast state are virtually uninhabited as over 60% of the 2.7 million population live in the one metropolitan area of Las Vegas.

The Bright Lights Of The Las Vegas Strip

The most important industry in Nevada is undoubtedly tourism with more people being employed in this sector than any other. However, mining does come a close second.

Nevada is the fourth largest producer of gold in the world. As well as gold they mine silver, copper, lithium and gypsum.

The Nevada State Parks are part of the state`s leisure industry and they are also closely associated with the history of Nevada. For example, Dayton State Park preserves the site of the Rock Point Stamp Mill which was built in 1861 to process silver ore. Remains of two silver processing mills are also still evident at Washoe Lake State Park.

Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park has a dual purpose. It firstly protects the gold mining ghost town of Berlin which was abandoned around 1911 and it also displays a wonderful exhibition of Ichthyosaur fossils which were discovered in 1928.

The Ghost Town At Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park

Lake Tahoe-Nevada State Park has probably the best known location of any of the state parks in Nevada as Lake Tahoe, on the border with California, is an extremely popular and famous tourist destination, even during the winter when it becomes a mecca for snow sports.

Most of the Nevada State Parks are found in the southern half of the state. Here the terrain is not so mountainous and the climate not so severe. This is also where the population is mainly centered around the vicinity of Las Vegas and Reno.

Here is a list of the Nevada State Parks

  • (1) Beaver Dam State Park
  • (2) Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park
  • (3) Cathedral Gorge State Park
  • (4) Cave Lake State Park
  • (5) Dayton State Park
  • (6) Echo Canyon State Park
  • (7)Kershaw-Ryan State Park

  • (8) Lake Tahoe-Nevada State Park
  • (9) Spring Mountain Ranch State Park
  • (10) Spring Valley State Park
  • (11) Valley Of Fire State Park
  • (12) Washoe Lake State Park

And here are their locations indicated on a state map of Nevada -