Cleve Creek Campground
Guide

Introduction

The Cleve Creek Campground is a BLM-managed recreation area in Nevada. The campground is within the expansive boundaries of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest and nestles against the eastern slopes of the Schell Creek Mountain Range. It's a rustic location around one hour's drive from the nearest urbanization which is Ely to the north-west. Its remoteness and lack of accessibility means it's only suitable for small RVs less than twenty-five feet in length. So if you have a big RV consider downsizing, because this campground is what RV camping is all about.

The Cleve Creek Campground is an ideal base to pitch camp before heading out to explore the Nevada backcountry either on foot or horseback. There are superb hiking and equestrian trails in the area that will have you trekking or riding through stunning landscapes of pine-forested mountains and grass-covered meadowlands. There's also the High Schells Wilderness Area to the north which is an exciting place to explore and the Great Basin National Park to the south. This BLM campground in Nevada is in an Alpine-style setting that will have your outdoor-loving nature yodeling and waiting for the echo before you know it.

While it is a small and basically primitive campground with only twelve campsites, Cleve Creek has a lot going for it. The creek runs alongside the campground and it's a decent spot for fishing out trout or crappie. It's a great place for a picnic or an evening barbecue on the grill provided at the campsite. If you want to get back to nature, you couldn't pick a better spot to do it. As isolated as the Cleve Creek Campground is, when you want to find some cultural activities you won't have too far to go. In Ely there are lots of interesting museums to visit and an unusual Renaissance village that will make you think you've time-warped back to the past.

RV Rentals in Cleve Creek Campground

Transportation

Driving

There a couple of ways you can get to the Cleve Creek Campground. Both involve forest roads and one, while it may be more scenic, is more difficult to negotiate than the other. You can take the US 93 southbound from Wells and then turn off onto the NV 893 eastbound just south of the rural community of Currie. The NV 893 runs along the eastern edge of the Schell Creek Mountain Range and is part of the Spring Valley Scenic Byway. If you decide to take this route make sure you have enough gas as there are no towns along the route where you can fill up if you run short.

Arriving at the campground from Ely is less complicated but will take you out of your way. Once you're on the US 50 you'll be heading south away from the campground until you arrive in Mayors Place where you can join the NV 893 northbound to the campground. The trip from Ely to the Cleve Creek Campground will take around an hour.

If you've been RV camping in the Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve, you can join the US 93 southbound in Shoshone. Be prepared to be behind the wheel for about five hours. If you've been exploring some different BLM properties in Nevada like the Mount Irish Wilderness or the Big Rocks Wilderness, head for Crystal Springs and you'll be able to hit the US 93 northbound. From there it'll take you about three hours to get to Cleve Creek Campground.

Parking

Public Transportation

Campgrounds and parking in Cleve Creek Campground

Campsites in Cleve Creek Campground

Alternate camping

Cave Lake State Park

If you arrive at the Cleve Creek Campground to find all of the campsites occupied or if your rig is too big to get there, the campgrounds in the Cave Lake State Park are great alternatives. The park can be easily reached from Ely. Head out of town on the US 50 and you'll find the turn-off onto the NV 486 to the park is clearly signposted. It's just a twenty-minute drive from Ely or if you're heading there from the Cleve Creek Campground, around one hour.

There are two campgrounds for RVs in the Cave Lake State Park. Both operate on a first-come-first-served basis, though prior reservations can be made by contacting the park rangers directly. All campers should be aware that stays in both campgrounds are limited to seven days in any thirty day period.

The Elk Flat Campground has fifteen gravel-surfaced campsites. The campsites are well spaced out and separated by trees which makes them quite private. There are no utility hook-ups but there showers and flush toilets on-site. The Elk Flat Campground is open from mid-May to mid-October.

The Lake View Campground is open for twelve months of the year. There are seventeen lakeside standard non-electric pitches at the campground that are all gravel-surfaced. The site has showers and flush toilets installed. If you're planning on heading there in the winter months, call before you go to check it's open as it can be closed during spells of very bad weather.

Seasonal activities in Cleve Creek Campground

In-Season

Hiking

Take a hike from the Cleve Creek Campground and you'll be trekking over open countryside with impressive mountain views. Stick to the banks of the creek and follow its path and you'll find it's a bit of a scramble in places. If you want to enjoy a mountain hike on a defined trail, head back towards Ely but take the NV 486 to the Cave Lake State Park. You'll be on the western slopes of the Schell Mountains and in the park, you'll find the trailhead for the Cave Lake Loop Trail.

The four-mile-long trail has an elevation gain of around nine hundred feet and rewards hikers with some incredible views so don't forget to put your camera in your backpack.

Fishing

The shallow waters of Cleve Creek are popular with anglers who enjoy wading into the water to do some fly fishing. Patience and endurance will reward anglers with a decent sized trout.

The creek isn't deep enough to float a craft so boat fishermen will need to head over to the Cave Lake to do their favorite sort of angling. Motorized boats are allowed on the lake but must adhere to the five miles an hour speed limit. The lake is well-stocked with rainbow and brown trout.

Horse Riding

While the Cleve Creek Campground doesn't have any specific amenities for RV campers traveling with their horse, it does attract riders to pitch up there who want to tackle the Cleve Creek Baldy Trail.

The one and a half mile long equestrian trail is part of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest trail network and winds up the side of Cleve Creek Baldy Mountain. Outback riders also enjoy heading out on the NF 435 from the campground. It's a five-mile ride which terminates at Kraft Canyon.

Off-Roading

If you're towing a trailer with your OHV loaded on it, you won't have far to go to find some great trails to let rip on. In the Ely ranger district of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest there's a fantastic network of almost twenty different trails you can tackle in an OHV less than fifty inches wide. The trailheads for the Kolcheck Basin Trail, the Timber Creek Trail and the Lowry Canyon Trail are all within a short distance of the Cleve Creek campground.

High Schell Wilderness

To get a true feel for the majestic Schell Mountains and the incredible beauty of Nevada, plan a visit to the High Schell Wilderness. The wilderness is one-hundred and twenty thousand acres of uninhabited terrain to the north-west of Ely. There you can hike or ride through the rugged mountain landscapes while keeping an eye out for elk herds or golden eagles. It's the place to go to completely forget civilization even exists.

Ely Renaissance Village

Step back in time with a visit to the Ely Renaissance Village. Wander in and out of the houses of this living museum and you'll feel as though you're in a different century completely.

Browse the contents of the general store, explore a miner's cabin or watch artisans weaving on looms. There are live re-enactments too to make it an even more realistic time-warp. The village opens on Fridays and Saturdays only from the end of May to the end of September.

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