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Cave Lake

State Park

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About Cave Lake

Cave Lake State Park offers outstanding recreational opportunities year-round. Stocked with rainbow trout and home to German brown trout, the 32-acre reservoir provides outstanding fishing and boating. Other summer activities include swimming, hiking, camping and the Annual Bathtub Races. Once winter arrives, guests of the park can enjoy ice fishing, skating, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing, as well as experience the White Pine County Fire and Ice Show, a snow and ice sculpture competition and firework display that delights visitors of all ages. The park is also home to abundant and diverse wildlife.

Park Detail

FACILITIES & AMENITIES

Camping: Cave Lake offers two designated campgrounds: Elk Flat Campground and Lake View Campground. All sites are level and include a fire pit with grill, table and parking. Access roads to campsites are unpaved.  The camping limit is seven days in a 30-day period and is on a first-come, first-served basis. Although reservations are not accepted and saving sites is prohibited, a few small group sites are available by reservation and several sites can accommodate more than one vehicle.   Please contact the ranger for overflow camping information.

Elk Flat Campground is the first camping area visitors see as they approach from Highways 93, 50 and 6. The campground opens early May and closes mid-October, weather permitting. Showers and flush-type toilets are available while the campground is open.

The Lake View Campground is near the lake and open year-round with flush toilets and showers. In extremely cold conditions the facilities may be closed. Please contact the park if you plan to arrive in the winter.

Group areas: There is one group site for day use and one camping group site in each campground. They may be reserved for a small fee. When not reserved, the area is available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Contact the park for information.

Picnicking/Day Use: Two picnic areas can be found along the lake shore. Restrooms, tables, grills and water are available.

Fishing/Boating:Fishing is permitted 24 hours a day. Licenses are available in Ely, and a trout stamp is required. Fishermen will find German brown trout in Cave Lake and park streams. The lake is also stocked with rainbow trout. Fishing is excellent both for boaters and from the shore. Motorized boats are permitted on the lake, but may not exceed 5 mph (flat wake).

Hiking: Motorized vehicles are prohibited on all trails. Four developed hiking trails are maintained. An easy, three-mile round trip can be found on the Steptoe Creek Trail. The trail starts at the lower parking lot and crosses the creek and returns via Success Summit Road.

The Cave Springs Trail is five miles of moderately strenuous hiking. It starts at the lower parking lot and meanders throughout the surrounding hills.

The Cave Lake Overlook Trail is a strenuous 4.5 mile loop that starts on the east end of the lake.

The Twisted Pines Trail is the park’s newest addition and connects to the Overlook Trail. This trail is moderate, starting below Elk Flat Campground. It is just over four miles one way and ends on the Overlook Trail loop.

Winter Activities: (December through February): Winter recreation is popular at Cave Lake during normal winters when several feet of snow may cover the park.  Snowmobiling is allowed within the park on approved dirt roads. Snowmobiles may be unloaded on Success Summit Road for access to the surrounding National Forest lands. Snowmobiles are prohibited on the divided highways. Lake ice may be as thick as 24” during the coldest part of winter. Ice fishing is popular, and the catch rate is very good. The boat launch area is used for outdoor ice skating. Sledding and snowshoeing are also popular activities. Most of the roads through the park are paved and kept free of snow. However, plowing may not occur for one or two days after a storm. Please keep this in mind if you don’t have a four-wheel-drive vehicle.

Programs: Information about program scheduling may be obtained from either park staff or kiosks. Upon request, special presentations can be arranged for groups.

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


FIELD NOTES

  • Only licensed drivers with licensed vehicles are allowed to operate on divided highways and must stay on established roadways. Operation of ATVs, dirt bikes, etc., is prohibited on all divided highways.
  • Pets are welcome, but they must be kept on a leash of not more than six feet in length.
  • Gathering firewood is prohibited.
  • Removing, disturbing or damaging any historic structure, artifact, rock, plant life, fossil or other feature is prohibited. State and federal laws protect this area and its resources.
  • Trash receptacles are in the park for your convenience.
  • Visitors are responsible for knowing all park rules and regulations in effect. Detailed rules and regulations are posted at the park or may be obtained from any Park Ranger.
  • Those with developmental and/or physical limitations are invited to enjoy all of the recreational activities of Nevada State Parks. If you would like to request additional support or accommodations, please call Nevada State Parks at (775) 684-2770. We continually seek ways to provide recreational opportunities for people of all abilities and welcome any suggestions you may have.
  • View a list of frequently asked questions.

NATURAL RESOURCES/CLIMATE

German brown trout are found in to Cave Lake and the park’s streams. Hatchery rainbow trout are stocked in the lake, which is fed by Cave Creek and empties into Steptoe Creek. Big game animals such as elk and mule deer, and predators such as bobcat, mountain lion and coyote, reside in the area. Hawks and eagles are common, as are vulture, pinyon jay, magpie and varieties of waterfowl and songbirds. Several varieties of reptiles are present including the occasional western rattlesnake. (READ MORE)


HISTORY OF CAVE LAKE STATE PARK – Established in 1973

The Cave Lake Reservoir was originally built in 1939 by the Isbell Construction Company. The purpose of the lake was to store water for use by the CCC Ranch located to the west in Steptoe Valley. In 1949, the ranch and the lake were bought by Joseph and Antone Laxague of Ely. The Laxague brothers in turn sold the properties to the C.B. Land and Cattle Company in 1956. In 1961 work was done on the dam to enlarge it to 364 feet in length and 60 feet in height. (READ MORE)

Park Fees

Nevada residents get a $2.00 park entrance discount

Day use entrance fee:  $7.00 per vehicle

Boat launch:  $9.00

Camping:  $17.00 per night

Camp and boat:  $19.00 per night

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