Scenic USA - Nevada
|Photos by Ben Prepelka
Ben's Panoramio Gallery
One of Nevada’s popular state parks centers on a collection of buff-colored cliffs and canyons. Cathedral Gorge is made up of soft clay and siltstone, where the ancient
Panaca Formation is slowly changing into a myriad of
gullies, ravines and canyons throughout the main gorge.
Cathedral Gorge State Park became one of Nevada’s first parks, when the 1930s Civilian Conservation Corps carved out camping and picnicking facilities. Some are still in use today. One of the park’s activities includes a fun-filled day of hiking and exploring the narrow slots or ravines, with some openings just wide enough to squeeze through. These fascinating shapes were cut from an ancient lakebed. Much of Meadow Valley, from Caliente to Panaca, was covered in water a million years ago. Lake bottom sediments make up today’s Cathedral Gorge soils. The bentonite clay quickly erodes, slowing any plant growth and making it impossible for new life to gain a foothold. This barren and eerie landscape is what creates all the fun and mystery during its exploration.
Park visitors may also discover nearby Bullionville, founded in 1869. Aptly named for a silver ore discovery, the Bullionville Cemetery is located in the park, found on a short trail from the visitor center. Not all the park is covered in the badlands clay. Other soils support a mix of sparse grasses, greasewood, saltbush and rabbitbrush. Jackrabbits, fox, packrats, deer and migratory birds graze and forage in and around the park area, sparking excitement for some of the lucky park visitors.
Additional Points of Interest
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