Gearing up to hike, camp or picnic in Cathedral Gorge State Park? Then Panaca, just 164 miles north of Las Vegas off U.S. 93 via State Route 319, is your place. The park is a long, narrow series of breathtaking canyons with steeple-like spires reaching high into the sky. You can explore these geological formations through a variety of hiking trails – and camping and picnicking is made convenient with many accessible, shady spots. Cathedral Gorge is open throughout the year, with nature studies and ranger programs offered as well.
Panaca itself offers a unique glimpse into Nevada history. Founded by Mormon settlers in 1864 – making it the oldest town in eastern and southern Nevada – the town remains the only “dry” municipality in the state, and it’s one of only two communities statewide that doesn’t offer gaming. This quiet agricultural town has gone virtually unchanged since its founding, so much of its original 19th-century architecture still stands. Check out “Court Rock” – a distinctive formation with a hole carved in the mountainside and fitted with bars that served as a rudimentary jail until the town built a courthouse in 1871.
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