Cave Lake State Park

Kayaker at Cave Lake State Park

Cave Lake State Park is a year-round park that offers outstanding recreational opportunities. It features a 32-acre reservoir and provides excellent trout fishing, boating, swimming, hiking, camping and picnicking. The 4,500-acre park is at an elevation of 7,300 feet in the Schell Creek Range adjacent to the Humboldt National Forest. Winter activities include ice-skating, ice fishing and cross-country skiing. The park is eight miles south of Ely on U.S. 93, turning onto Success Summit road (State route 486) and continuing east for seven miles.  Fishing is great at Cave Lake this year! On April 14, 2013, a fisherman caught a 14lb German Brown fish. The German Brown was caught on Power Bait from the shore around 3:00pm. Clay Combs caught on May 23, 2013 a 15 lb and 30 inches long German Brown.

View 2013 White Pine Fire and Ice show photos.



  • Camping
  • RV Dump Station
  • Flush Restrooms
  • Group Camping
  • Showers
  • Picnicking
  • Group Picnicking
  • Boat Launch
  • Trails Map
  • Nature Study
  • Swimming
  • Fishing
  • Fish Cleaning
  • Max. RV size: 35′
  • Pets Allowed
  • Fees


P.O. Box 151761
Ely, Nevada 89315
Phone: (775) 296-1505 (leave message only)


Park News


Fire & Ice Video

 Bathtub Races Video

Fire & Ice Slideshow




Road Conditions


German brown trout are native to Cave Lake and park 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 muledeer, 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.

Park vegetation is typical of the Great Basin and includes aspen, big sagebrush, rabbit brush, Mormon tea, wild rose, chokecherry and currant. A pinyon/juniper woodland area interspersed with wetlands surrounds Cave Lake. Sedimentary limestones and shales typical of the Great Basin dominate park geology, and the area is characterized by large up thrusts, narrow canyons and shallow caves.


Park weather is highly seasonal with wide variations in temperature. Summertime highs may range from the upper 80s and 90s to the low 40s Fahrenheit. Wintertime highs are often in the 30s and 40s, and nights are often below zero. Extreme lows may reach thirty below zero. Snow is common from early December through early April with several feet on the ground through peak winter months. The remainder of the year is relatively dry, and rain and snow showers are infrequent. Ely, Nevada weather reports are consistent with weather at the park.


  • Fishing and boating: Fishing and crawdadding are permitted 24 hours a day. Licenses are available in Ely, and a trout stamp is required. Fishermen will find native brown trout in Cave Lake and park streams. The lake is also stocked with rainbow trout. Fishing is excellent for boaters as well as from the shore. Motorized boats are permitted on the lake, but may not exceed 5 mph (flat wake).
  • Trails: 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 on a series of foot and returns via Success Summit Road. The Cave Springs Trail, including five miles of moderately strenuous hiking, starts at the lower parking lot and meanders throughout the surrounding hills. 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 our newest addition that 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.


Fees: A fee is charged to enter the park. Information is available at kiosks throughout the park. The ranger station is staffed intermittently with no scheduled hours. Although the park has no phone service or electrical power, the park ranger and staff can provide assistance in an emergency. In the event of an emergency, dial 911.

Camping: Camping is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Camping fees are charged per vehicle and are payable in the campgrounds. 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. The park offers two designated campgrounds: Elk Flat Campground and the 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.

  • Elk Flat Campground is the first camping area park 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 extreme cold conditions facilities may be closed. Please contact the park if you plan to arrive in the winter.

Picnicking: Two picnic areas can be found along the lake shore. Restrooms, tables, grills and water are available. Fees are charged for each vehicle and are payable in the picnic areas.

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.


Please help keep our park safe and enjoyable by observing the following rules:

  • 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 must be kept on a leash no longer than six feet in length.
  • Gathering firewood is prohibited.
  • Removing, disturbing or damaging historic structures, artifacts, rocks, animals, plants, fossils or other features is prohibited. Laws protect this area and are strictly enforced.
  • Trash receptacles are in the park for your convenience.

Visitors are responsible for knowing all rules and regulations. Rules and regulations are posted in the park.