Nature January 13, 2017
The Hidden Park That Will Make You Feel Like You’ve Discovered Nevada’s Best Kept Secret
Located near the small town of Caliente, this “hidden” park is less trafficked than other Nevada parks, making it a real “hidden” gem within the state park system. It’s a small park, but it’s a lush, green oasis that is not to be missed!
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Kershaw-Ryan State Park encompasses about one square mile total, but it's lack of size is made up for in its quiet beauty. From the entrance it seems like the usual rocky terrain common to Nevada's outdoor areas.
The interior of the park is filled with flower beds and green trees and grass, making for an absolutely lovely spot to relax in and enjoy nature.
The park used to be a ranch back in the late 1800's. Its namesake is a combination of two families from the early days who donated the land to the state to create the park.
Samuel and Hannah Kershaw were the first owners of the property and it was called Meadow Valley Wash Ranch when they created it in 1873. The couple sold the land to James Ryan, another rancher, who finally donated the land in 1926.
The park has several amenities for visitors in addition to the colorful gardens and rose bushes.
There's picnic tables, a children's playground, a volleyball court, horseshoe pit and 15 camp sites as well as restroom facilities. The camp sites have firepits, grills, picnic tables and shade, and the facilities have coin-operated showers. There's no electrical RV hook ups but there is room for 30 feet RV parking. Lots are $10 per night and you can make reservations.
Aside from the flowering gardens and grape vines, you can also find several species of fruit tree in the park, as well as willows, flowering dogwoods, elms, oaks and more.
There's also a small wading pool that is fed naturally by a spring and is a welcome break in the hot Nevada summers.
Several rock and stone structures can be found in the park, such as this fountain, which were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930's. This serene pond is filled with koi fish and is the perfect resting spot for a weary traveler or tired hiker!
While the park is small, there is one hike called the Canyon Overlook Trail which is 1.4 miles total. The trail gives you a view at the top of the park below and the surrounding hills. The park is also dog friendly so it's a nice hike to take your pooch on that won't be too taxing.
Another feature of the park sure to delight history buffs is the Elgin Schoolhouse, which is a fully restored building originally used from 1922 to 1967. The schoolhouse is approximately 20 miles south of the park along Highway 317.
The schoolhouse is a one-room style schoolhouse typical of schools back during early pioneer and settler times. Due to flooding in 2005, the schoolhouse was damaged and now you can only visit the inside by appointment or during monthly supervised tours. You can still view the exterior of this picturesque old fashioned school anytime however.
To get to the park, if you're driving from Las Vegas, take the I-15 north until US-93 going north/Great Basin Highway. Take this to Caliente for 128 miles and then Route 317 for 3 miles. You will see the entrance to the park on your left.
Have you ever visited this lovely garden spot? Share in the comments!