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Lovelock Cave

Northern Nevada Basin, Nevada

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Lovelock Cave

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  • Lovelock Cave lies at the end of the Lovelock Cave Scenic Byway, the last few miles of which are down rural gravel road.- Lovelock Cave
  • Views along the adjacent mountains on the Lovelock Cave Scenic Byway.- Lovelock Cave
  • A single interpretive sign is posted at the trailhead offering a little history about the cave's significance to native cultures.- Lovelock Cave
  • The trailhead parking area, overlooking Humboldt Lake.- Lovelock Cave
  • Hiking the half-mile trail in a counterclockwise direction leads from the parking area to views over the Humboldt Lake, which at one time covered much of these slopes.- Lovelock Cave
  • The trail is easy to follow, though much of it is on short and dusty slopes.- Lovelock Cave
  • Another interpretive sign facing the mountains of the Great Basin and the town of Lovelock in the distance.- Lovelock Cave
  • Another interpretive sign facing the mountains of the Great Basin and the town of Lovelock in the distance.- Lovelock Cave
  • Lovelock Cave viewed from the trail.- Lovelock Cave
  • Lovelock Cave viewed from the trail.- Lovelock Cave
  • Another interpretive sign and visitor log sit at the cave's entrance.- Lovelock Cave
  • A wooden deck inside the cave for shady and cool viewing.- Lovelock Cave
  • The wooden deck inside Lovelock Cave.- Lovelock Cave
  • The final portion of the trail is a steep narrow walk from the cave back down to the trailhead.- Lovelock Cave
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Interesting history
Cons: 
No shade
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Region:
Northern Nevada Basin, NV
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
Yes, with restrictions
Highest point: 
4,317.00 ft (1,315.82 m)
Net Elevation Gain: 
70.00 ft (21.34 m)
Year round: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
None
Permit required: 
No
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
0.55 mi (0.89 km)
Total elevation gain: 
110.00 ft (33.53 m)
Trail type: 
Loop
Trailhead Elevation: 
4,252.00 ft (1,296.01 m)
Typically multi-day: 
No
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

Lovelock Cave is an area of archaeological significance now open to the public along a half-mile hiking trail about 20 miles outside the town of Lovelock.

At one time beneath the surface of the massive Lake Lahontan, and then near the receding edges of Humboldt Lake, Lovelock Cave serves as the setting of both Paiute tribal stories as well as the site of human skeletal remains and cultural artifiacts numbering in the several thousands. Most notably amongst these were duck decoys in pristine condition dating back an estimated 2,000 years. These decoys were the oldest of their kind known by scientists and are currently on display in Washington D.C.

Written accounts of old Paiute oral histories note that the cave was the last stronghold of a band of red-headed giants known as Si-Te-Cah in Paiute, and it was said this group harrassed the Paiutes until the tribe cornered and attacked them in the cave. Disputed artifacts and skeletal remains seem to lend credence to this story, however the Paiutes only recorded their history in storytelling form, leaving accounts of this a generation removed from the source.

Lovelock Cave is now on the National Register of Historic Places. Access to the cave is down a series of paved and well-graded gravel roads known as the Lovelock Cave Backcountry Scenic Byway. Although the trail is short, it requires a small bit of hiking and traverses shadless area. There is a vault toilet, but no drinking water or other amenities at the parking area. A visitor log and wooden deck sit at the cave itself.

The Marzen House Museum in the town of Lovelock is a great place to learn more about the cave and the area's history.

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