Echo Canyon State Park
Echo Canyon State Park
12 miles East of Pioche, on State Route 322 and County Road 86 (turn at the sign)
The primary attraction at Echo Canyon State Park is Echo Canyon Reservoir. The park is 12 miles east of Pioche, Nevada, at the head of Dry Valley. Most of its visitors arrive to camp and fish at this high desert park, but some have discovered the great bird-watching from early spring until late fall. Echo Canyon Dam was the second dam built on Meadow Valley Wash, and was constructed in 1969 by the Lincoln County Government solely for water-based recreation. In 1970, the County turned the park and campground over to Nevada State Parks for operation and maintenance, and it has become a favorite among those campers who desire a quiet, peaceful setting. The campground has mature Ponderosa pines, ash and Russian olive trees, along with a nice picnic shelter over the table in each site. Restrooms are open from May 1 until October 15; chemical toilets are available during the colder winter months.
Wildlife may be seen or heard in this mountain park; along the lakeshore, many birds, ducks and shorebirds reside from spring through fall. Great Blue Herons and several varieties of egrets feed along the pastures and shallow portions of the lake. Many species of migratory waterfowl often spend several days on their way north and south, including pelicans, cormorants, and occasionally swans. The mournful calls of Loons sometimes bounce against the basalt walls of Echo Canyon during the summer. Golden eagles often nest on these high cliffs, and bald eagles occasionally are seen skimming the water, to catch fish. Deer frequently wander through the campground on their way down to the lake to get a drink of water at night. Coyotes, bobcat and mountain lion are shy, but may be glimpsed occasionally; jackrabbits, cotton-tail rabbits, squirrels, lizards, and a few snakes are more readily seen. The Ash Canyon Trail is a 2-1/2 mile developed trail leading from the campground through a remote canyon where native Ash trees grow. It emerges through a maze of Tuff rocks at the upper end of Echo Canyon, and a trail leads back to the campground at the base of the cliffs on the south side of the Canyon.
All portions of the reservoir are accessible by vehicle, and shore-fishing is the most popular activity. Boating is another popular activity, though the boat-launch ramp is often "high and dry" since the lake level varies throughout the year. Canoes and small fishing boats are recommended since the reservoir is often only half as full as the 65 acres it stores when full. The lake is regularly stocked with rainbow trout, and large-mouth bass and black crappie spawn naturally in the lake (after being initially stocked in the early 1970ís). A Nevada fishing license is required, as at all Nevada State Parks, for fishing. There is also a good population of bullfrogs along the shoreline, and listening to their croaking at night complements the call of the loons during the summer. Stargazers will find the skies excellent for viewing since there are no nearby lights to mar the viewing.
Pictures and information were provided by Barbara Rohde of the Nevada State Parks
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