Beaver Dam State Park is a small high-desert park located along the Nevada—Utah border. Although the park is considered Nevada’s most remote state park, visitors still come to experience the peaceful, somewhat desolate atmosphere. RVers who desire solitude within the parameters of a park setting will find utter tranquility at Beaver Dam State Park because more often than not, the park is empty or has only a few guests.
Although the park is situated in a hilly, mostly uninhabited area of the state, it’s not the only point of interest in the far-east region. Dixie National Forest sits right across the border in Utah and joins with Beaver Dam Wash, a wooded canyon preserve. The Beaver Dam Wash and its tributaries are nestled between volcanic rocks and small waterfalls, creating a scenic hiking atmosphere for hikers and adventurers.
Beaver Dam State Park, built in 1935, is Nevada’s first state park. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) helped develop the park and produced several park projects within the first few years. Sadly, in the late 1930s, many of the park’s facilities were destroyed in a flood. Years later, a dam was built, creating Schroeder Reservoir, but damage to the dam caused flooding, and the dam was eventually removed, bringing the canyon back to its original state. Today, Beaver Dam Canyon looks similar to the days when the park was first established, but the rich history and tales of hopeful development runs deep.
Beaver Dam State Park is located 33 miles from the town of Caliente, Nevada. Park visitors, coming from Utah or Nevada, will have to travel 27 miles down a gravel road to enter the park’s facilities. Although the park is open year-round, winter and extreme rainy conditions can impact the state of the unpaved roads both in and leading to the park, so motorists pulling campers should proceed cautiously.
From larger cities, the park is located 184 from Las Vegas, Nevada and 73 miles from Cedar City, Utah.
Nevada state parks require visitors to pay a fee when entering the park. Visitors can make payments at the park’s entrance station.
Beaver Dam State Park has two developed campgrounds that are first come, first served facilities. The campgrounds, located right next to one another, are pet-friendly; each space has a fire ring and a picnic table and can fit one car and smaller-sized campers and trailers. The campgrounds are primitive style, with no electricity or hookups. The campsites and vault toilets are open year-round, but the drinking water is only available from April through November. This park is a pack-in, pack-out facility. There are no trash receptacles on site. All park guests are asked to silence generators between the hours of 10:00 pm and 7:00 am.
The hiking at Beaver Dam State Park is quiet and spectacular. The trail system offers varying levels of trail difficulty that suits the needs of most hikers. The Overlook Trail is a moderate-level difficulty trail that gives hikers panoramic views of the canyon and interpretive information along its one mile loop. The Oak Knoll Trail is an easy .03 mile trail that leads hikers to a fishing stream. The Waterfall Trail is a one mile, easy-to-moderate level hike that takes hikers near the southern perimeter of the park. The longest trail, the Beaver Dam Wash Trail, runs through the middle of the park along the wash. This two-mile trail crosses water several times and takes hikers along the canyon floor. Pick up a trail map when you enter the park, and make sure to ask park rangers about current trail conditions.
The park hosts several events throughout the year, but the most popular event is a mountain bike race that brings brave mountain bikers from near and far. Each June, the park host the 49er Gravel Grinder. This event celebrates dirt, gravel, and mountain bikes and pairs them with the history that brought people with gold fever through the Beaver Dam Wash in 1849. This ride isn’t for novice riders because of the rough terrain, so if you plan on riding, be sure to come prepared for a rocky ride. If you are just visiting during the race, you will enjoy watching the riders maneuver across some technical terrain. The event will be fun for people of all ages to watch, so come out and ride or cheer on the brave bikers!
Fishing for rainbow trout in a perfectly tranquil location is an angler’s dream. Anglers who come to the park with fishing gear and a license can head to the Oak Knoll Trail and fish the streams located below the day use area. The Nevada Department of Wildlife stocks the streams with rainbow trout, so the opportunity to catch fish is plentiful. There is a five-trout limit per person, so bring the whole family along to catch fish! Licenses can be purchased online or in sporting good stores and other local stores, but they are not sold in the park. All people over the age of 12 must have a license to fish.
Because the park is located in a remote location, spending your time outdoors will be peaceful no matter where you venture. Beaver Dam State Park has a reservable group ramada for visitors who are hosting events or having a large get-together. The ramada, located near Campground B, has picnic tables and horseshoe pits and can be rented for the day or overnight use. For day use, visit one of the two picnic areas. One area is located near Campground A, and it offers picnic tables, barbecue pits, restrooms, and potable water. This area also has a larger parking area, suitable for RV parking. If you are looking for a location to have lunch before going for a hike, try the picnic table at the Waterfall Trailhead.
If you are interested in history or you like stories of the Gold Rush, then you will enjoy spending time at Hamblin Ranch. Hamblin Ranch, located near Headwaters Wash and Pine Park Wash in the northern section of the park is the remnants of what once was the Hamblin family settlement. In 1849, a group of emigrants looking for gold was trying to forge a shortcut through what is now Beaver Dam State Park but found the area impassable. The group decided to stay and settle, and built a small house, a blacksmith shop, and a one-room schoolhouse. What is left of the settlement still stands, and park guests can visit the area and learn a little bit more about the Hamblin family.
People who come to state parks to sit quietly and watch for animals will love the variety of creatures that pass through the park’s boundaries. Beaver Dam State Park is a designated Watchable Wildlife Area. Birdwatchers can look for turkey or blue heron. Those who like reptiles and desert wildlife can search, but be cautious of lizards and Great Basin rattlesnakes. If mammals are more your liking, the park has bobcats, squirrels, jackrabbits, mule deer, coyotes, fox, and even an occasional mountain lion passes through the area. If you watch long enough, you never know what you might see!