Beaver Dam State Park
Beaver Dam State Park
6 miles North of Caliente on U.S 93, and 28 miles East on a graded County road
Beaver Dam State Park is one of the most remote parks in Nevada. When it was established as a State Park in 1935, it wasnít that far off the main road leading into Utah, but times and roadways change. The graded gravel road known as the "Acoma-Shem Highway" was the all-weather route of its time (the 1920ís), but today is not recommended for travel during the winter months or by trailers or motor-homes over 24 ft. in length.
The first documented exploration of the Beaver Dam area was in November, 1849, when a group of wagons crossed the rugged canyons after they had parted from a larger expedition heading south on the Old Spanish Trail, about forty miles east. In the late 1860ís, LDS (Mormon) settlers moved into the nearby valleys, and a few families homesteaded along Beaver Dam Wash. The Hamblin and Mathews families had small ranches, and people from the nearby valleys would come to visit them after the Acoma-Shem Highway made it easier to travel into the "woods" for a dayís journey. Beaver Dam Wash is formed by the confluence of two mountain-fed streams, and provides excellent trout fishing. As the State of Nevada was looking to diversify its economy through tourism, Beaver Dam Wash seemed an ideal location for a new state park, and local residents concurred with this decision.
The Civilian Conservation Corps developed campsites along the wash, but floods during the later 1930ís through 1950ís destroyed all these facilities. A man-made dam was built on the stream in 1961, and campsites were moved onto the hillsides away from the deep narrow canyon. 15-acre Schroeder Reservoir is stocked with rainbow trout, and fly-fishing is popular along the stream leading to the lake. Primitive camping includes vault toilets and drinking water only from May until October. Handicapped-accessible campsites are available in two of the three campgrounds, and pinyon-pine and juniper trees provide shade. Deciduous trees such as Gambelís oak, small-toothed maple, smooth sumac, cottonwood and willows also provide shade on hot summer days when the temperature creeps toward 100; nights cool down forty to fifty degrees over day-time highs, and early mornings are pleasant for hiking. A network of trails leads through out the park, with the longest trail extending three miles from the day use area below Campground A to Campground C and the Waterfall trail. The waterfall was discovered by the C.C.C. crew who built the parkís facilities, and then the area lay forgotten until 1989.
Beaver Dam is a designated Wildlife Viewing Area, for the numerous birds who inhabit the pinyon-juniper woodlands, and also one of the few naturally-occurring populations of beaver in Nevada. Wild turkeys were introduced in 1996, and hunters may obtain a tag to hunt them by a lottery-system "draw" in the spring of the year. Deer, coyotes, bobcat and occasionally mountain lion also roam the woodland, along with a variety of snakes, lizards and smaller mammals. If you are looking to get away from it all, Beaver Dam State Park is the place to do it!
Pictures and information were provided by Barbara Rohde of the Nevada State Parks
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