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Typical campsite at Dayton State Park

Typical campsite at Dayton State Park. Photo: Park Facebook Page

Situated on the banks of the Carson River, just 20 minutes from Carson City, Dayton State Park is one of Nevada’s more beautiful and peaceful public recreational spaces.

Covering 160 acres of land, the park is home to historic sights and pristine areas of nature that lend themselves perfectly for outdoor leisure activities.

One of the most popular of these sites is the remains of the Rock Point Mill, which was built in 1861 to process ore from the nearby Comstock Lode.

The park also contains the Carson River Ranches, which is a natural wetland that is home to a variety of birds, including great blue herons, snowy egrets, and American coots.

While at this Nevada state park, visitors can enjoy a range of activities including fishing, canoeing, kayaking, paddleboarding and hiking. It also has several picnic areas and a small campground for those who want to take a couple of days to fully appreciate its beauty.


Visitors to Dayton State Park park are able to immerse themselves in its tranquil surroundings in a variety of ways.

Outlined below is an overview of the main recreational activities you can take part in whilst you are there.

Rock Point Mill at Dayton State Park

One of the main highlights of the park is Rock Point Mill.

Providing a fascinating glimpse into Nevada’s mining history, this historical site is a well-preserved remnant of a 19th-century gold and silver mining operation that once thrived in the area.

Built in 1861, it operated until 1868 when the mining operation ceased. During that time, its strategic location on the banks of the Carson River, provided the necessary water for the mill to operate.

Visitors to Dayton State Park can take a self-guided tour of the Rock Point Mill, where they can explore the mill’s ruins, see the remains of the stamp mill, and learn about the mill’s history and the people who worked there.

In addition, the mill’s interpretive displays and signs provide detailed information about the mill’s machinery and how it was used to extract gold and silver from the ore.

Boating at Dayton State Park

Although Dayton State Park is not widely known for its water activities, boating is allowed on the Carson River.

Visitors can launch their non-motorized boats such as canoes, kayaks and paddleboards, at the park and explore the river at their leisure.

Most of the time, the flow of the water is quite gentle, creating perfect conditions in which to do so. However, every now and then its levels can fluctuate, mainly depending on the season and weather conditions.

So visitors are advised to check on them before heading out onto the river.

Fishing at Dayton State Park

The park is considered a very good destination for fishing, with anglers coming from all over the state to drop a line in the Carson River.

Running throughout the park, there are several access points to the river where you can fish. You will need a valid Nevada fishing license in order to do so. However, once you have got one you can expect to catch plenty of rainbow trout and largemouth bass.

While fishing is allowed year-round at Dayton State Park, it is particularly popular during the spring and summer months. If you don’t fancy doing so from the banks of the river, you can always cast your reel from a watercraft in the middle of it.

If you do manage to catch something, the park has a fish cleaning station where you can clean your catch.

Hiking at Dayton State Park

Dayton State Park is a lovely destination to explore on foot.

Overall it has three main trails that wind through the rugged terrain, offering stunning views of the surrounding mountains and the Carson River. The trails vary in length from the half mile Historical Trail to the 1.5-mile River Trail and showcase different aspects of the park.

The Historical Trail for instance is a self-guided tour that takes hikers through the remains of the Rock Point Mill.

By contrast, the River Trail runs along the banks of the Carson River and showcases scenic views of the verdant waterway.

Whichever ones you choose to hike, you are advised to wear a hat and a good pair of walking boots. It is also worthwhile putting on plenty of sunscreen during the warmer months, as well as mosquito spray year round too.

Birding at Dayton State Park

Dayton State Park is a great place for bird watching enthusiasts as it is home to a variety of bird species, including waterfowl, songbirds and raptors.

The park’s proximity to the Carson River and the surrounding wetlands make it a prime spot for migratory birds in particular. So visitors should bring their binoculars and bird guides to spot and identify different species of birds.

Depending on what time of the year you visit, you might be able to see blue herons, mallards, red-tailed hawks, and American kestrels.


Pets are welcome at Dayton State Park, but owners must follow the park’s strict set of guidelines whilst they are there.

This includes ensuring your pet is well behaved and kept on a leash throughout the entire time they are at the park.
It also requires owners not taking them into any of the park buildings as well as any other areas they are not supposed to be.


For those who want to stay overnight and enjoy the beauty of the park there is a small campground available within it.

All up it offers 10 primitive campsites that are situated near the Carson River. These can be occupied on a first come, first served basis and provide campers with a serene and peaceful setting in which to base themselves.
The campsites offer basic amenities, including picnic tables, fire pits, and vault toilets. They are suitable for tents and small trailers, but guests should be aware there are no hookups, dump stations or potable water available at them.

Park Location

Dayton State Park
Dayton, NV 89403
Phone: 775.687.5678

Park Website



Here is a short YouTube video taking a look at the campground at Dayton State Park: