Hidden treasures

A funny thing happened on my way to vacation in Utah. I got parknapped by Eastern Nevada.

In late July, I hit the highway (Highway 50, to be precise) with trailer trailing (a modest 16-footer), heading for some nice places in Utah. After nine hours of driving, I found myself at that scenic Nevada crossroads where Highways 6, 50 and 93 connect, out in the High Desert about halfway between Ely and Great Basin National Park, at a roadhouse called Major’s Place. It’s there where the traveler has a choice—go east on 50, to GBNP and beyond to Utah, or take a right and drive south on 93 to go to Utah via Panaca. I hung there at Major’s and mulled. I consulted with mighty Wheeler Peak, easily Nevada’s greatest bump, looming nearby. Then, I turned right. And that has made all the difference.

OK, not to get all Frosty on you, but by turning on to 93 South, I made it possible to, in the end, never leave Nevada, due to the fact that the state parks I encountered in Lincoln County turned out to be top notch. Nicely upgraded, handsome, comfy and pretty much empty. It struck me that Utah A-list parks like Arches and Bryce Canyon were not going to be empty. Not by a long shot. But these parks in Lincoln County are totally overlooked and unknown.

Cathedral Gorge State Park is a knockout little place. We have two parks that are Utah-esque—Valley of Fire and this one, which is its own strange, fascinating erosion goblin playground. The hills are dripping with unique coolness, and the campground is totally wonderful. Nevada has done some very nice upgrading of many of its state park facilities, and color me impressed. CGSP sports a real beauty, with hookups, water, shade structures, showers and even wi-fi. Well done!

Echo Canyon State Park is another good one. Two different campgrounds in this park, one for tents and the other for RVs, and both were truly impressive in terms of layout and quality. As for the park, it’s basically a fishing-based reservoir in a very scenic spot, and it’s pretty and mellow and devoid of humans, an unbeatable combo. A lovely place to hang out, make tacos, drink wine, dig the clouds, take siestas, read, breathe and think. I put up two hummingbird feeders, and they were smokin’ with hummers in a matter of minutes.

Spring Valley State Park—I’m out of room. But Spring Valley was totally dandy, too! Bottom line, Lincoln County is loaded with quality parks that are way under the radar. No need for flyin’ to Zion!