Cathedral Gorge – Panaca, Nevada - Atlas Obscura

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Cathedral Gorge

Narrow slot canyons in a badland eroded into soft sedimentary rock provide an otherworldly landscape in this remote Nevada state park. 


Astonishingly narrow, these deep slot canyons are incised into sedimentary rock, capped with a resistant volcanic layer.

The canyons are so tight that park signs describe them as “caves,” which certainly captures their feel. The tall, nearly parallel walls, lit by indirect sunlight and highlighted by parallel streaks of mud left by runoff, also show that the name “Cathedral” was not drawn from a hat. Not only do the “caves” invite exploration, but there are several hiking trails as well.

Some stone structures built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s still exist and are an interesting sight to behold.       

Know Before You Go

Cathedral Gorge State Park is right off US-93, on the west side between Caliente and Pioche, and is well-signed. The main entrance is about 165 miles north of Las Vegas, reached by taking I-15 to US-93. An overlook from the rim, with a trailhead going down into the park, is reached by a turnoff about 2.1 miles farther north off US-93.

The park also includes a campground with amenities such as flush toilets, showers, and some campsites with electrical hookups.

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January 26, 2022

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