Cave Lake State Park

Cave lake State Park offers outstanding recreational opportunities for you, your family and friends. This year-round park with it's 32 acre reservoir provides excellent trout fishing boating, swimming, hiking, camping and picnicking. Winter activities include ice skating, ice fishing, cross-country skiing. (Snowmobiling is prohibited in the park, see comments below in Winter area, for some use areas.)

NATURAL HISTORY: German Brown Trout are native to Cave Lake and park streams. Hatchery Rainbow Trout are stocked in the lake, which is fed by Cave Creek and empties into Steptoe Creek. Big game animals such as Elk and Mule Deer, and predators such as Bobcat, Mountain Lion and Coyote reside in the area. Hawk and Eagle are common as are Vulture, Pinyon Jay, Magpie and varieties of waterfowl and songbirds. Several varieties of reptiles are present including the occasional western Rattlesnake. Park vegetation is typical of the Great Basin and includes Aspen, Big Sagebrush, Rabbitbrush, Mormon Tea, Wild Rose, Chokecherry and Currant. Cave Lake is surrounded by a Pinyon/Juniper woodland area interspersed with wetlands. Sedimentary limestones and shales typical of the Great Basin dominate park geology, and the area is characterized by large up thrusts, narrow canyons and shallow caves.

CLIMATE: Park weather is highly seasonal with wide variations in temperature. Summertime highs may range from the upper 80's and 90's to the low 40's Fahrenheit. Wintertime highs are often in the 30's and 40's and nights are often below zero. Extreme lows may reach 30 below zero. Snow is common from early December through early April with several feet on the ground through peak winter months. The remainder of the year is relatively dry and rain and snow showers are infrequent.

PARK INFORMATION: A fee is charged for entrance to the park. General information is available at kiosks through the park. The ranger station is staffed intermittently with no scheduled hours. Although the park has no phone service or electrical power, the park ranger and staff can provide assistance in an emergency. In the event of an after-hours emergency, contact the park ranger in the residence area or the campground hosts in the campgrounds.

CAMPING: All camping is on a first come, first served basis. Fees are charged per vehicle and are payable in the campgrounds. Reservations are not accepted and saving sites is prohibited. A few small group sites are available and several sites can accommodate more than one vehicle. Please contact the ranger for overflow camping information. The park offers two designated campgrounds, listed below. All sites are level and include a fire pit with grill, table and parking. Access roads to campsites are unpaved.

Elk Flat Campground: The first camping area park visitors see as they approach from highways 93, 50 and 6. The campground opens early May and closes mid-October. Shower and flush-type toilets are available while the campground is open.

Lake View Campground: The more rustic of the two campgrounds. It is by the lake and open year-round with flush toilets and showers.

Picnicking: Two picnic areas can be found along the lake shore. Restrooms, tables, grills and water are available. Fees are charged for each vehicle and are payable in the picnic areas.

Group Picnic Area: A small area for groups is at the south end of the lake. It can be reserved for a small fee. When not reserved, the area is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Please contact the park or district office for reservation information.

TRAILS: Motorized vehicles are prohibited on all trails. Two developed hiking trails are maintained. An easy, three-mile round trip can be found on Steptoe Creek Trail. The trail starts at the lower parking lot, criss-crosses the creek on a series of foot bridges and returns via Success Summit Road. The Cave Springs Trail, including five miles of moderately strenuous hiking, starts at the lower parking lot and meanders throughout the surrounding hills.

BOATING: Motorized boats are permitted on the lake but may not exceed 5MPH (flat wake).

FISHING: Fishing and crawdadding are permitted 24 hours a day. Licenses are available in Ely and a trout stamp is required. (See our advertisers found on the County Pages). Fishermen will find native Brown Trout in Cave Lake and park streams. The lake is also stocked with Rainbow Trout. Fishing is excellent for boaters as well as from the shore.

WINTER ACTIVITIES (December through February): Winter recreation is popular at Cave Lake during normal winters when several feet of snow may cover the park. While snowmobiling is prohibited within the park, snowmobiles may be unloaded on Success Summit Road for access to the surrounding Nation Forest lands. The lake ice may be as thick as 25" during the coldest part of winter. Ice fishing is popular, and the catch rate is very good. The boat launch area is used for outdoor ice skating. Cross-country skiiing trails are developed and require snow permits. Sledding and snowshoeing are also popular activities. Most of the roads through the park are paved and kept free of snow. However, plowing may not occur for one to two days after a storm. Please keep this in mind if you don't have a four-wheel-drive vehicle.

PROGRAMS: Interpretive programs are offered on wildflowers, stargazing and a variety of natural history topics. Presentations are given as time and staffing permit. Information about program scheduling may be obtained from either park staff or kiosks. Upon request, special presentations can be arranged for groups.


Only licensed drivers with licensed vehicles are allowed to operate in the park and must stay on established roadways. Operation of ATV's, dirt bikes, snowmobiles, etc. is prohibited in the park.

Pets must be kept on a leash not longer than six feet or confined to a vehicle at all times.

Gathering firewood is prohibited.

Removing, disturbing or damaging historic structures, artifacts, rocks, animals, plants, fossils, or other features is prohibited. Federal and State laws protect this area and are strictly enforced.

Please don't litter. Trash receptacles are provided in the park for your convenience.

You are responsible for knowing the rules posted throughout the park. Should you have any questions, please ask the ranger or park staff. The resident ranger is a commissioned state peace officer and enforces all state laws, county ordinances and park rules and regulations.


Cave Lake State Park, PO Box 761, Ely, Nevada 89301

District V Headquarters, PO Box 176, Panaca, Nevada 89042 (775) 728-4467.

(Article taken from Nevada Division of State Parks)

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