Cave Lake State Park

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Cave Lake State Park
Cave Lake from the Overlook Trail
Map showing the location of Cave Lake State Park
Map showing the location of Cave Lake State Park
Location in Nevada
LocationWhite Pine County, Nevada, United States
Nearest cityEly, Nevada
Coordinates39°11′23″N 114°43′21″W / 39.18972°N 114.72250°W / 39.18972; -114.72250Coordinates: 39°11′23″N 114°43′21″W / 39.18972°N 114.72250°W / 39.18972; -114.72250[1]
Area4,081.40 acres (16.5168 km2)[2]
Elevation7,198 ft (2,194 m)[1]
DesignationNevada state park
AdministratorNevada Division of State Parks
WebsiteCave Lake State Park

Cave Lake State Park is a public recreation area occupying more than 4,000 acres (1,600 ha)[2] in the Schell Creek Range, adjacent to Humboldt National Forest, in White Pine County, Nevada. The state park is located at an elevation of 7,300 feet (2,200 m) five miles (8.0 km) southeast of Ely and is accessed via U.S. Route 50 and Success Summit Road.[3] It features a 32-acre (13 ha) reservoir for fishing and flat-wake boating.[4]


The Cave Creek Dam which created Cave Lake was constructed in 1932. The facility was purchased by the Nevada Department of Wildlife in 1971 for $10. Two years later it was transferred to Nevada State Parks.[5] The park saw an increase in size of 2,980 acres (1,210 ha) with the completion of a land transfer from the U.S. Forest Service in 2015.[6]

Activities and amenities[edit]

The park is popular for brown and rainbow trout fishing, ice fishing, crawdadding, camping, and picnicking. Hiking is offered on four developed trails, three to five miles in length. For overnight stays, the park offers a yurt and two designated campgrounds, Elk Flat and Lake View, with modern facilities. Winter activities include ice fishing, ice skating, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling.[4]

Ely's annual Fire and Ice Festival is held in January at the park, sufficient ice and snow permitting.[7][8] The event, which began in 2005,[9][10] features an ice and snow sculpture contest, and concludes with a fireworks show.[11][12][13][14] Bathtub races have also been held at the lake each year since 2010.[15][16][17][18] Both events have been named by the American Bus Association among the top 100 events in North America.[19]


  1. ^ a b "Cave Lake State Park". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.
  2. ^ a b "Inventory of State Lands" (PDF). Nevada Division of State Lands. April 27, 2018. Retrieved December 4, 2019.
  3. ^ "Chapter 5: Inventory" (PDF). Nevada 2005 State Recreational Trails Plan. Nevada Division of State Parks, Planning and Development Section. p. 55. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 21, 2016. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Cave Lake State Park". Nevada State Parks. Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  5. ^ "The history of Cave Lake State Park". Elko Daily Free Press. Elko, Nev. January 14, 2010. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  6. ^ Brean, Henry (October 9, 2015). "Nevada's Cave Lake State Park nearly triples in size". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Las Vegas, Nev. Archived from the original on December 20, 2016. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  7. ^ "Lack of snow forces Ely to cancel Fire and Ice show". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Associated Press. January 6, 2012. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
  8. ^ "Fire and Ice event cancelled due to warm weather". The Ely Times. January 5, 2018. Retrieved January 25, 2018.
  9. ^ "Fire and Ice festival at Cave Lake called 'huge' success". The Ely Times. January 21, 2005. Retrieved July 14, 2017 – via NewsLibrary.
  10. ^ "Chamber gets $5,000 for Fire and Ice". The Ely Times. June 17, 2005. Retrieved July 14, 2017 – via NewsLibrary. The event involving an ice sculpting contest and fireworks at Cave Lake was held for the first time this year.
  11. ^ "Fire & Ice Festival draws thousands". The Ely Times. January 19, 2007. Retrieved July 14, 2017 – via NewsLibrary.
  12. ^ Barlett Pesek, Margo (January 4, 2009). "Celebrate winter with annual Fire and Ice Show". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
  13. ^ Bartlett Pesek, Margo (December 26, 2010). "Visitors flock to Cave Lake despite frigid temperatures". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
  14. ^ Bartlett Pesek, Margo (December 26, 2015). "Experience Fire and Ice at Cave Lake". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
  15. ^ "Hillbillies and vikings, sailors and invaders avoid drowning during the Great Bathtub Race at Cave Lake". The Ely Times. June 30, 2010. Retrieved July 14, 2017 – via NewsLibrary.
  16. ^ Mettler, Lyn (May 6, 2016). "9 wacky races across America". Fox News. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
  17. ^ Bachman, Marty (June 24, 2016). "Great Bathtub Races return to Cave Lake State Park". The Ely Times. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
  18. ^ Rhoades, Meg. "Another successful year for the Great Bathtub Races". The Ely Times. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
  19. ^ "Bathtub Races to make a splash at Cave Lake Saturday". The Ely Times. June 27, 2014. Retrieved July 14, 2017.

External links[edit]