Welcome to Nevada’s untamed eastern edge! Caliente Nevada is southern Nevada’s adventure HQ. Dubbed Nevada’s “City of Roses" for its wild rose bed-lined streets, this former resort town (with its classic Spanish Mission architecture Union Pacific railroad depot) has rolled towards rebirth as a mountain bike mecca and your basecamp for several stunning Nevada state parks.
Welcome to Caliente: Your Park-Packed Paradise
If you’re looking for adventure, you can’t beat Lincoln County Nevada — the heart of which is the town of Caliente. Located just 2.5 hours from Downtown Las Vegas, Caliente Nevada is an obvious stop along your Great Basin Highway road trip, putting you in reach of several unique state parks—all within 70 miles of each other—with great Caliente restaurants and several cozy lodging options to return to at the end of a day well spent.
History of Caliente, Nevada
The arrival of the Union Pacific Railroad originally put Caliente Nevada on track to become a resort destination, offering hot springs, hotels, and close proximity to spectacular natural wonders. The preserved Caliente Railroad Depot, built in the style of Spanish mission architecture, offers a glimpse into Caliente’s beginnings, and—thanks to grants from the State Historic Preservation Office—still stands and serves as an art gallery, museum, and events space.
While not-too-far-away Valley of Fire was Nevada’s first state park, the next three—Cathedral Gorge, Beaver Dam, and Kershaw-Ryan—are located here, and still boast trails, campgrounds, and structures built by the members of the famous 1930s Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) work program, while a cruise through scenic Rainbow Canyon takes you to Elgin Schoolhouse State Historic Site, where pioneer history lives on.
Things To Do in Caliente, Nevada
Outdoor action is the name of the game here. While places like Valley of Fire and Red Rock Canyon take on millions of visitors each year, several parks and recreation areas around Caliente Nevada offer serious solace-seekers the chance to really experience nature—sometimes all to themselves—in a variety of ways.
Mountain bikers flock to Barnes Canyon for its dozens of miles of singletrack—with its loops arranged from beginner to hardcore—and the town’s beautifully maintained skills park. Kershaw-Ryan State Park calls hikers to its up to easily accessible, literally gorge-ous views. Rainbow Canyon is an underrated, bucket-list worthy destination for rock climbers.
Cathedral Gorge offers choose-your-own-path slot canyons that give Bryce Canyon National Park a run for its money. And Beaver Dam State Park—Nevada’s quietest and most remote park—rewards those who make the dirt road journey with unbeatable stargazing, small-stream fishing, and hikes to vista points and waterfalls in a haven for wildlife.
Those with suitable vehicles utilize Caliente as a basecamp for exploring mesmerizing—and completely crowd-free—Basin and Range National Monument, where natural arches, ancient petroglyphs, and wide-open spaces steal breaths and camera roll capacity. As well as for the Silver State OHV Trail, the very first Congressionally-designated system of its kind, built with families in mind and wildlife in easy sight.
Travel Nevada Pro Tip
Events in Caliente
Thanks to IMBA, word of Caliente, Nevada’s underrated status as a cycling haven is getting out, including in the form of the balls-to-the-wall singletrack celebration that is the Caliente Mountain Bike Fest, the enduro-lover’s Beaver Dam Gravel Grinder, and the roadie warrior’s Park to Park Pedal Century Ride.
Get in touch with your inner pioneer at the annual Dutch Oven Cook-Off at Cathedral Gorge State Park, where cast irons reign supreme—rewarding attendees with delicious fare, raffle prizes, and all manner of family fun.
If you’d rather share a thousand words, one snap at a time, shoot over to the Lincoln County Photography Festival for workshops on and celebrations of astro, drone, wildlife, and other photography styles, alongside a welcoming crowd of seasoned pros and amateurs alike.
No matter what passion you chase here, you’re going to work up an appetite. Our favorite Caliente restaurants to chow down after a great day? Side Track Restaurant for fresh cuisine in a historic building, as well as its adjacent Side Car Speakeasy for Prohibition-themed cocktails—served across a more-than-century-old bar top, imported from Italy back in the day. Knotty Pine Restaurant & Lounge for American diner classics like chicken-fried steak, corned beef hash, and stiff drinks (at any hour—because, Nevada…). J&J Fast Food Restaurant for a mom-and-pop take on food to-go. And the Shamrock Pub for cold ones, tall ones, and plenty of opportunities to clink glasses with the locals.
Caliente NV Hotels
While camping options abound, plenty of creature comforts await at a number of inviting Caliente, NV hotels. You won’t find the Hyatt or be able to use your Best Western points here, but isn’t that kind of the goal? Instead, cozy into Patty’s Motel, the Shady Motel, or the Rainbow Canyon Motel for a good night’s sleep to recharge for your next day of adventuring.
Not far up the road, it feels like home at the Pine Tree Inn & Bakery (located in Panaca), where cozy rooms and unbeatable breakfast refuel Great Basin Highway park-hoppers.
And although it’s currently undergoing a remodel, Caliente Hot Springs Motel will reopen this year with four private soak rooms and six rooms with spacious hot spring-fed bathtubs—the perfect place to unwind after exploring the area’s outdoor wonders.
Whether you’re ambling hiking trails, bombing mountain bike singletrack, or simply kicking back in a local tavern, tag your pics with #TravelNevada for a shot at being featured right here, as well as in our quarterly Visitors Guide.