Camp, fish, hike and enjoy the beautiful Eastern Nevada scenery at Echo Canyon State Park. Echo Canyon State Park offers a 35-acre reservoir with a campground, picnic area, group use facilities and boat launch. Abundant wildlife, a wide variety of native plants and unique rock formations make exploration a favorite activity. The park is three hours north of Las Vegas, off Highway 93 by State routes 322 and 323. It is 12 miles east of Pioche and is about 12 miles from the Nevada-Utah border.
|FACILITIES & AMENITIES
HC 74, Box 295
Check out the 2013 Park programs for the Eastern parks.
PARK ORIGIN AND HISTORY
Thousand year old pictographs, stone flakes and pottery represent the legacy of a people called the Fremont. Evidence suggests that the Fremont used these lands for hunting and gathering, but the lack of permanent housing structures indicates that they occupied the land only seasonally; probably moving to a more temperate climate in the winter months.
Fremont pottery is a thin-walled gray ware classified by both the technique used to harden the clay and the type or lack of decoration. One such pot, found near the steel bridge, has been identified as Snake Valley pottery and confirms the presence of Fremont in the area from around 900 to 1100 C.E. This pot is on display in the Park Visitor Center at the entrance to Cathedral Gorge State Park in Panaca.
The first permanent settlers in this area were farmers and ranchers who came to Dry Valley in the late 1870s.
Agriculture continues to be an important factor in Lincoln County’s economy and was the reason for the construction of Echo Canyon Dam. Today, the alfalfa growing in the fields below the dam is the valley’s primary crop. Built in 1969-70, the dam was developed by Lincoln County for water storage and flood control with a side benefit of water-based recreation. After completion of the campground and group-use area, the Division of State Parks assumed operations in 1970.
The 65-acre reservoir is stocked with rainbow trout by the Nevada Division of Wildlife. Other fish include largemouth bass and crappie and an occasional German brown trout. The 1800-acre park is open year round. Visitors may purchase gas, groceries and fishing licenses in Pioche.
Echo Canyon is situated at the head of Dry Valley, one in a series of valleys along Meadow Valley Wash. Emptying into the Muddy River near Moapa in Clark County, Meadow Valley Wash eventually reaches Lake Mead near Overton. Although part of the Colorado River watershed, the park’s environment is typical of the Great Basin desert and riparian life zones.
The reservoir attracts a variety of waterfowl and shore birds, including mallards, teals, herons, avocets and the infrequent yet beautiful trumpeter swan. Eagles, hawks, songbirds, hummingbirds, ravens, owls, roadrunners and vultures inhabit the canyons and valleys.
Common animals include squirrels, cottontails, jackrabbits, coyotes, skunks and an occasional bobcat. Deer are seen in the early morning as they come to the lake for water. Several species of lizards and snakes also inhabit the park.
Single-leaf pinyon pine and Utah juniper are the predominant native trees at the park. Ash, Russian olive and ponderosa pine have been planted for shade. Cottonwoods, willows, duckweed, watercress, cattails and other riparian plants flourish along the canyon stream. Sagebrush and rabbit brush cover the hillsides, with cactus and narrow leaf yucca also present. Wild current grows in backcountry canyons.
Volcanic activity 45 to 125 million years ago formed many of the rocky outcrops visible in the park today. The cliff walls of Echo Canyon are composed of tertiary basaltic lava flows; the badlands north of the reservoir are comprised of volcanic ash-flow tuffs. Alluvial gravel and pinkish clay formations formed later, resulting from a vast lake that covered this area about a million years ago. As it dried, veins of chalcedony, or desert rose, were exposed and are abundant in the area.
The park ranges from an elevation of 5,200’ to 5,600’. The climate of the area allows the park to be open year-round. Summer temperatures range from 85 degrees F at midday to 54 degrees F at night with winter temperatures ranging from about 40 degrees F during the day to the low teens at night. Rainfall is variable, thunderstorms are common in the summer and snowfall is common in the winter.
FACILITIES AND SERVICES
Camping: The campground has 33 campsites open on a first-come, first-serve basis. Drinking water is available near each site. Other campground facilities include flush toilets and an RV dump station. A camping limit of 14 days in a 30-day period is enforced.
Group Area: A group picnic area accommodates up to 70 people. It offers shade ramadas, barbecue grills, picnic tables, a comfort station and drinking water. Visitors may reserve the facility by calling or writing the park office.
Hiking: The Ash Canyon trail leads into the park’s backcountry. The 2.5-mile trail begins in the upper campground, climbs 300 feet in 1/3 mile to the valley rim, and then descends into the dramatic steep-sided walls of Ash Canyon. It joins the highway in Rose Valley near the eastern park entrance and returns to the campground through Echo Canyon.
Picnicking: Picnic tables and barbecue grills are located at six sites along the reservoir’s shore.
Boat Launch: The boat launch ramp is located on the north shore of the reservoir. When the reservoir level drops during the summer, boats must be launched from shore.
Fees: Fees are charged for day use, camping, boating and the group area. A current fee schedule is posted in the park.
If soil and vegetation are damaged in the fragile desert environment, it takes nature many years recover from the damage. Please help maintain this area and preserve the fragile desert environment by observing these rules:
- Drive only on designated roadways. Operation of unlicensed vehicles is not permitted. All vehicle operators must be licensed.
- Camping is allowed only in designated areas.
- Fires are permitted only in fire rings and grills provided. Collection of firewood within the park is prohibited.
- All plants, animals, rocks, minerals and historic artifacts within the park boundaries are protected by state law. Please do not remove, destroy or disturb these features.
- Pets must be kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet.
- Use garbage dumpsters provided. Do not burn or bury garbage.
- Quiet hours in the park are from 10:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.
Visitors are responsible for knowing all park rules and regulations in effect. Detailed rules and regulations are posted at the park.