Ready to play the slots? We’re not talking the casino kind. We mean exploring the only slot canyons found in Nevada! Located right off Great Basin Highway (aka Highway 93), Cathedral Gorge State Park is wondrous in more ways than one. This quiet state park is a maze of carved out gullies, crevices, canyons, and impressive spires that make you feel as if you’re wandering in a dreamscape cradled by endless castles.
The main attraction is three slot canyons, which are easy to access and explore. From the park’s main parking area it’s a short walk to enter and maneuver through Moon Cave, Canyon Caves, and Cathedral Caves.
Move through (sometimes squeeze through!) siltstone and clay slot canyons reaching caverns that are dead-ends. To get a bigger lay of the land here, hike the Juniper Draw Loop, including an out-and-back detour to Miller Point, a gorgeous vista punctuated by a charming gazebo. This will give you a nice view of eastern Nevada’s rugged sagebrush country. All in it’s 3.5-miles round-trip (inclusive of Miller Point).
TIP: There are 24 first come, first served campsites at Cathedral Gorge State Park.
BONUS BEER: After leaving Cathedral Gorge State Park, stop and visit the living ghost town of Pioche, a few miles north down the road. Grab a beer and a pizza at the Overland Saloon. The pizza’s not fancy, but the local Nevada beer washes it all down nicely. In the mid-1800s Pioche was pure bad-ass, a mining boomtown with a reputation for big-time trouble! Today’s Pioche still has plenty of character and sites of interest from its fabled past.
Cathedral Gorge State Park is 2 and a half hours north of Las Vegas on Highway 93. It’s part of our Nevada Road Trip from Las Vegas to Great Basin National Park. Cathedral Gorge has a regional visitor center (closed in winter). Stop in for info and a park map. The slot canyons are short and easy to do, and offer a cooling cover on hot days. The Juniper Draw Loop with the Miller Point detour is well marked and not very strenuous, but in summer it’s always best to have plenty of sun protection and water. Dog-friendly, but bring plenty of water for Fido and be sure not to leave him in the car, even in more moderate temperatures.