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11 Things You Can’t Miss at Cathedral Gorge State Park Nevada

These are our top things to do in Cathedral Gorge State Park, our favorite hidden gem in Nevada.

I turned the corner and found the walls in front of me curve tightly to the left. I turned left, then right, and then stopped. A sliver of light peeked through the top as I navigate through the maze.

Cathedral Gorge State Park NevadaPin

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Last Updated: March 28, 2024

About Cathedral Gorge State Park

During our road trip through Nevada, Cathedral Gorge State Park was one of our favorite stops. The landscape is absolutely stunning, and it truly feels like you’re walking around on an alien planet. The best part is that it’s a hidden gem. We only saw a couple of other people the entire time we were there. There are walking trails, spires, caves or slot canyon-like formations, and more.

During the Pliocene Era (almost 1 million years ago), most of the area used to be covered by a freshwater lake. The beautiful colors of the canyons are remnants of that lakebed. As the water began to drain, erosion exposed portions of the sediment and gravel. Rainwater and snow continued to split tiny cracks into larger gullies and canyons.

In the nineteenth century, Cathedral Gorge was known as Cathedral Gulch, and it was a popular spot for local picnickers. When you visit, it’s easy to see why with such beautiful and unique backdrops.

It eventually became one of the four original Nevada state parks created in 1935, and members of the Civilian Conservation Corps built picnicking facilities.

See More: Nevada Road Trip – Best Places to Visit in Nevada

Cathedral Gorge NV Sign // Local Adventurer

11 Awe Inspiring Things to Do in Cathedral Gorge State Park Nevada

1. Cathedral Gorge Visitor Center

111 Cathedral Gorge State Park Road, Panaca, NV 89042, map

Stop by the visitor center to find out more about the park and put together a game plan for your time there. Rangers always know the best parts of the park. There’s also a small museum at the Visitor Center that you can check out.

Local Tip: Don’t forget to pick up a Nevada State Park Passport and get it stamped! It’s free and a great way to remember your travels.

2. Bullionville Cemetery Trail

37.8042924,-114.4091474, map

This short 0.4-mile trail starts right near the visitor center that takes you to a cemetery that’s been around since the 1800s.

3. Miller Point Trail

37.8265865,-114.4146964, map

If you only do one hike in the park, do the Miller Point Trail. This 2-mile out-and-back hike starts at the Caves Area parking lot and takes you through a canyon. Towards the end, there is a tall steel staircase that takes you to an incredible overlook.

See More: 15 Best Day Hikes in the US to Put On Your Bucket List


4. Juniper Draw Loop

37.8298322,-114.4193196, map

The 4-mile Juniper Draw Loop (some trail maps say 3.6) is the longest trail in the park. If you’re looking for the most diversity in landscape, this is the hike for you.

Juniper Draw Loop Trail at Cathedral Gorge State Park NV // Local Adventurer

5. Eagle Point Trail

37.829679,-114.4155803, map

This 1.6-mile out-and-back hike is the easiest hike for those looking for panoramic views.

6. Hawk’s Ridge Trail

37.821789,-114.4189509, map

Hawk’s Ridge Trail is the newest in the park. It’s a 4.2-mile loop that starts at the campground and is great for hiking and mountain biking. You can also take dogs along this trail as long as they are on a leash.

7. Cathedral Caves

37.8233864,-114.4150747, map

Although they are called caves because some sections don’t receive direct sunlight, they look more like slot canyons. We spent the most time in Cathedral Caves because it was the closest cave coming back from the Miller Point Overlook. While you explore the caves, be sure to look up as well! You’ll quickly realize how deep you are.

Cathedral Caves in Cathedral Gorge State Park // Local Adventurer
Cathedral Caves Cathedral Gorge State Park NevadaPin

8. Canyon Caves

37.821118, -114.411604, map

Each cave is worth exploring as they take you through unique and winding paths.

See More: 11 Breathtaking Canyons in the US You Can’t Miss

Canyon Caves Cathedral GorgePin

9. Moon Caves

37.821118,-114.413798, map

We didn’t have a specific cave that we liked more than the others but spent the least amount of time in Moon Caves because they all started to look similar. You should definitely try to explore all three if you have the time, but if you can’t they’re all beautiful on the inside and outside (the entrance like the photo below).

Cathedral Gorge State Park NVPin

10. C.C.C. Water Tower

37.822124, -114.412910, map

Originally built in the 1930s, this water tower is no longer in use, but still makes for some great photos.

C.C.C. Water Tower at Cathedral Gorge State Park in Nevada //

11. C.C.C. Day Use Picnic Area

37.823438, -114.413070, map

These facilities were built in the 1930s and are still in use today. You can see the original stone restrooms nearby, but if you need to actually go, use the newer ones nearby.

C.C.C. Day Use Picnic Area, Cathedral Gorge State Park, Nevada // Local Adventurer

Simplified Map of the Area

Cathedral Gorge State Park Map

Fees & Hours

Hours: Open seven days a week, 365 days a year.

The Visitor Center is open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. It is located at the park entrance off U.S. 93. The visitor center is closed holidays during the winter.

Day use entrance fee: $5.00 per vehicle ($10 for Non-NV Vehicles)

Photography Tips

  • All photos above were taken with a Canon 5D Mark III (full body DSLR) + 35mm or 70-200mm lens.
  • We arrived just after sunrise for our photos.
  • During high noon on a clear day, the caves are a great place to escape when the light isn’t looking great.
  • The area can be dusty, which is the enemy of camera gear, so we like a backpack that allows us to access everything without putting it on the ground.
  • We recently visited during a full moon and it was amazing to explore at night as well. We took photos just on our iPhones and can’t wait to go back to shoot with our camera.

Essential Tips for Cathedral Gorge State park

  • Best Time to Visit: Spring and Fall and the ideal times to visit. You can also visit during the winter, although days are much shorter and you need to be aware of road conditions. We don’t recommend visiting in the summer since it is extremely hot and there is limited shade.
  • If you start your day early, you can see everything in the park in one day, but it’s also nice to camp and take your time exploring each area. Plus, that means more sunrises and sunsets to photograph.
  • Be careful when you hike. The ground is soft and can crumble if you’re near the edge of a cliff. There are also holes in the ground so watch your step to ensure you don’t trip.
  • Bring sturdy shoes. We’re wearing Danners, our current favorite hiking boots. A dress and hiking boots are just my style.
  • You won’t find many amenities nearby so be sure you bring extra food and water.
  • Check the latest road conditions here and the latest weather here.
  • If you are exploring more Nevada parks, your day pass gives you access to all of them during that same day.
  • If you plan on visiting multiple throughout the year, consider getting an annual pass. The All Access Permit is $250 and covers entrance, camping, and boating fees. The Annual Entrance Permit is $100 and covers entrance fees only.

Where to Stay

There are 22 sites in the on-site campground. Each has a table, grill, and shade ramada. Electric hookups are also available if you are RVing. Water and flush restrooms with showers are available year-round. Camping is limited to 14 days in a 30-day period.

Camping Rates: $15 per vehicle, per night ($20 for non-NV vehicles) + $10 for sites with utility hookups.

Camping Reservations: Reservations for campsites can now be made online here.

If you prefer to look for hotels or rentals in the area, they are limited, but you can check the map below.

Planning Checklist

Have you visited Cathedral Gorge State Park? What was your favorite part of the park?

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Esther + Jacob

Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city in depth every year and currently base themselves in Las Vegas.

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