Experience the peaceful splendor that is Beaver Dam State Park. The deep canyons, flowing streams, waterfalls, pinyon, juniper and ponderosa forests of Beaver Dam have beckoned people for centuries. Today, a visit to Beaver Dam State Park allows visitors to experience the pristine, natural beauty and primitive, rustic character that distinguishes this park from all others. The park is about three hours north of Las Vegas on the Utah border.
REGISTER for Beaver Dam’s Gravel Grinder ride along the rim and see the park from a different perspective. Pedal down an old chaining road that winds you through pinyon and juniper trees. The course then swings back around to the main park road and down into campground B where barbeque hamburgers await.
|FACILITIES & AMENITIES
PO Box 176
PARK ORIGIN AND HISTORY
Camping and fishing along the streams of Headwaters and Pine creeks goes back centuries, to a time when Native Americans inhabited what is now Beaver Dam State Park.
A group of emigrants stumbled upon the valley in 1849 while looking for a quicker route to California. They did not find a shortcut, just steep cliffs and valleys that were difficult to cross. They continued on the their way, leaving their wagons and some initials carved in stone, taking with them stories and descriptions which would later bring permanent settlers to the areas now known as Beaver Dam and Barclay.
One family of settlers, the Hamblins, built a small house, a blacksmith shop and a one-room schoolhouse for the children in the Beaver Dam Wash area. Remnants of the Hamblin Ranch settlement can be seen at the northern end of the park. This archeological site is protected by state law and the removal of artifacts is prohibited.
The heavily wooded area, with its free-flowing streams, offered a welcome respite in the summer months for the families that settled the area. Improvements in 1917 to the Acoma-Shem highway, the main wagon road into Utah, made access to the area easier and spurred interest in designating Beaver Dam Wash as a park. Beaver Dam became one Nevada’s first State Parks in 1935.
The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) constructed camping and picnicking areas between 1934 and 1936, but flooding in the late 1930s destroyed the majority of these facilities. In 1961, new camping and picnicking facilities were built and a manmade-earthen dam was constructed creating Schroeder Reservoir. Flooding in 2005 damaged the dam, and in 2009 the reservoir was drained and Beaver Dam Wash was restored to its natural, pre-dam state.
Seventeen-million years of volcanic activity formed the dramatic geologic outcrops of igneous and sedimentary rock, including pink rhyolite, dark red and grey andesite and white ash-fall tuff. Obsidian, volcanic glass nodules, may also be found in the park.
At around 5,000 feet, this high desert park includes more than sagebrush and cactus. Pinyon pines and junipers dominate the woodlands, with Ponderosa pines near springs. Gambel and shrub live-oak, sumacs and small-tooth maples provide fall color. Willows and cottonwoods along the Wash are the preferred food and dam-building material for the native beavers.
The park is designated a Watchable Wildlife Area for a reason. Visitors may see mule deer browsing on shrubs; tracks of coyotes, fox, bobcats, and occasionally a mountain lion. Cottontail, jack rabbits, squirrels and porcupines may be seen darting through the park. Bird-watchers may see turkeys that were introduced into the park in 1998. Great blue herons can be seen along the stream feeding on trout, desert suckers and golden shiner fish, or on bullfrogs. Many different lizards and snakes live in the park, including the Great Basin rattlesnake.
Summer high temperatures average about 95°F (35°C) with lows around 50°F (10°C) at night. Rainfall is variable, but thunderstorms are common during the monsoon months of July and August. Winter high temperatures average 45°F (7°C) with lows of 25°F (-4°C); temperatures can drop below zero degrees Fahrenheit.
The road to the park is gravel and dirt; it is graded by crews throughout the year. During wet weather conditions, rain or snow, high-clearance, four-wheel drive vehicles are recommended. Call the ranger station to check on road conditions before visiting the park.
FACILITIES AND SERVICES
Camping: There are two developed campgrounds offering individual campsites, each containing a fire pit, picnic table and parking suitable for one vehicle and a small trailer. Camping is first-come, first-serve; sites may not be reserved. Drinking water is available from April through November. Vault toilets are available year-round. Camping fees apply all year; rates are posted at the campground. There is no trailer dump station at the park. Camping is limited to 14 days in a 30-day period.
Group Area: The group area in Campground B has a large shade ramada, table space for 60 and horseshoe pits. It may be reserved for day or overnight use by arrangement with the park office. Reservation and per-vehicle fees apply.
Day Use: A day-use area is at the east end of Campground A. It has picnic tables, potable water, barbecue pits and restroom facilities. A turnaround parking area accommodates larger rigs. The park entrance fee applies. At the park’s southern boundary lies another picnic area. At the Waterfall Trailhead visitors can sit under the shade of an old cottonwood tree and have a picnic before hiking up the trail.
Fishing: Fishing opportunities abound in the streams below the day-use area and Oak Knoll. The Nevada Department of Wildlife stocks the streams with rainbow trout. A Nevada Fishing License with a trout stamp is required for anglers over age 12. Licenses should be purchased prior to visiting; licenses are not sold in the park. There is a five-trout limit per person.
Hiking: The park’s trails offer all levels of hiking experience. See incredible views of the canyon from the vantage point high on the Overlook Trail. From there is a 360-degree view of the park; to the north, the remnants of Hamblin Ranch, and also where Headwater and Pine creeks merge forming Beaver Dam Wash, and to the south, the Beaver Dam Wash canyon that directs the streams to Littlefield, Arizona and into the Virgin River. Access this loop trail at the southern end of Campground B. The ascent to the viewpoint is a moderate hike.
From the Oak Knoll Trail, go for an easy hike and bring a fishing pole because this trail descends to the stream bank where there are rainbow trout. This easy trail is southeast of the campgrounds. Follow the park road south about .5 miles, turn left at the Oak Knoll sign onto the spur road and park at the gate.
The Waterfall Trail offers streams, warm springs and waterfalls that drew the Civilian Conservation Corps to this part of the park during its stay in 1934–35. Visitors can explore the pond and natural Jacuzzi – remnants of days-gone-by. Hiking the trail offers visitors a glimpse into the past and incredible scenery. This easy-to-moderate trail is near the southern boundary of the park.
- Electrical power is not available in the park.
- Landline phone service is not available; some cell phones can receive reception at the park’s north entrance gate. In an emergency, a landline phone may be accessed in the small town of Barclay west of the park.
- A proposed ATV trail is being investigated for the future, but currently ATV riding in park boundaries is prohibited. ATVs must be trailered in and out of the park for use on public lands.
- If you see cattle in the park please inform the ranger.
- Pack it in, pack it out; there is no trash disposal in the park.
Visitors are responsible for knowing all park rules and regulations in effect. Detailed rules and regulations are posted at the park.