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Old wooden trailer wheel found at an abandoned mining camp in Ichthyosaur State Park, Nevada

Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park is a unique and fascinating destination for those who enjoy paleontology and outdoor recreation.

Located about 150 miles southeast of Reno, this Nevada state park is home to an incredible array of geological, paleontological, and historical wonders.

At the heart of it is a preserved ghost town called Berlin, which was once a thriving mining community during the late 1800s. Visitors to the park can explore the town’s well-preserved buildings, which offer a glimpse into life in the American West over a century ago.

In addition to its historical treasures, the park also houses one of the world’s largest known deposits of ichthyosaur fossils. These were prehistoric marine reptiles that lived over 200 million years ago. Guests can take a guided tour of the fossil site and learn about the fascinating creatures that once roamed the seas that covered this part of Nevada.

As well as these attractions, the park also offers plenty of hiking trails that showcase stunning views of the nearby peaks and valleys. It also has several spots for picnicking and very good camping facilities for those who need to stay for a night or two.

Activities

This fascinating state park has several draws that attract visitors from all over America.

Outlined below is a brief overview of some of the many sites and activities you can enjoy while you are there.

Ghost Town at Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park

A testament to the boom-and-bust nature of Nevada’s mining industry, the ghost town at Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park provides visitors with a unique opportunity to step back in time and experience a piece of the state’s history.

Founded in 1863, after silver was discovered in the nearby Union Canyon, the town once had a population of over 300 people at its peak. In its heyday it was known for its high-grade ore and profitable mines. However, the town’s boom period was short-lived, and by the early 1900s, most of the mines had shut down, and the town was eventually abandoned.

Today, visitors to the park can explore the ruins of the town, including the Berlin cemetery, the assay office, and the old bank. There are also several restored buildings that give a glimpse into what life was like in the town’s most prosperous times, such as the Berlin Schoolhouse, which was built in 1889 and is now a museum.

Ichthyosaur fossils at Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park

Aside from the ghost town, the Ichthyosaur fossils are one of the major attractions at the park, with more than 40 complete skeletons having been discovered to date.

Ichthyosaurs were large marine reptiles that lived during the time of the dinosaurs, and their fossils are an important record of the ancient oceans. Visitors to the park can view these impressive fossils on guided tours or at the park’s fossil house museum.

The ichthyosaurs skeletons range from small, two-meter-long specimens to massive individuals measuring over 15 meters in length. Some of the fossils are displayed in situ, allowing visitors to see them in the position they were found in the rock.

In addition, the park also offers a variety of interpretive programs that provide visitors with an opportunity to learn more about these fascinating creatures and the environment in which they lived.

Picnicking at Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park

While at the park, picnicking is a very popular activity. Throughout it, there are several picnic areas for visitors to enjoy a relaxing outdoor meal surrounded by the beautiful Nevada landscape.

Overall there are two main picnic areas, one located at the campground and the other at the ghost town. Both areas have picnic tables and fire rings, and visitors are welcome to use charcoal for cooking. The picnic areas are shaded by cottonwood trees, providing a cool and comfortable atmosphere for picnickers.

It’s important to note that pets are not allowed in the picnic areas, and visitors are required to pack out all their trash and dispose of it properly.

These picnic areas are available on a first-come, first-served basis, so visitors are encouraged to arrive early to secure a spot. Whilst enjoying a picnic, park visitors are not permitted to drink alcoholic beverages.

Pets

You are welcome to bring your pets with you to Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park, but there are strict conditions that relate to their presence which must be adhered to.

For instance dogs must be leashed and well behaved at all times. They also are not allowed in the park’s buildings or on the guided tours of the fossil house and quarry.

Visitors should also keep in mind that the park is located in a remote area, so it’s essential to bring enough food, water, and other supplies for both yourself and your pets.

Camping

Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park offers a unique camping experience in the heart of the Nevada desert.

Overall it presents 14 campsites that are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Each of them includes a picnic table and fire ring, while vault toilets and potable water are also available in the campground area.

The campsites are situated amidst the rugged and scenic terrain of the park, offering stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Visitors can enjoy a peaceful and serene camping experience, with plenty of opportunities for hiking, wildlife watching, and stargazing.

In addition to traditional campsites, the park also offers two yurts that are available for overnight rental. These circular, tent-like structures are outfitted with comfortable beds, heating, and electricity, and provide a different, yet very comfortable camping experience.

The yurts are located near the campground area and are a popular option for visitors who want to enjoy the great outdoors without sacrificing anything in the way of comfort.

Park Location

Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park
NV-844,
Austin, NV 89310
Phone: 775.964.2440

Park Website

Map

Video

Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park: