Cathedral Gorge is so far removed from the norm, that this majestic landscape imparts an out of this world visual experience. This heavily eroded canyon landscape is riddled with intricate crevices and tall rock spires that have a gothic appearance. The weather can also dramatically affect the Cathedral Gorge experience, because on a bright sunny day this landscape glows like a golden dreamscape, while a few storm clouds can make this place rather creepy. Cathedral Gorge certainly does have a way of challenging the senses and the Miller Point Hiking Trail provides dramatic close-up views!
The sun shines bright in the Great Basin Desert of Nevada for more than three quarters of the year and it only rains occasionally in this vast desolate expanse. For those who enjoy viewing dramatic weather conditions in a picturesque place, the summer monsoon season has plenty to offer. A forecasted desert monsoon season rainstorm is no reason to put off a trip to Cathedral Gorge, because on a stormy day this landscape looks far more intense.
A rainy day in this place can provide a one of a kind experience, but a few forewarnings must be applied. The risk of flash floods is minimal at Cathedral Gorge, because there are no tall mountains nearby. However, the small stream that flows through the gorge can end up getting knee deep when the rain comes down, which may make the hike too risky in the water crossing areas.
Another precaution for a rainy day visit in Cathedral Gorge has to do with the lack of traction. The hardened clay ground is called slick rock by the natives and for good reason. All it takes is a little bit of rain to turn the hardened clay rock strata into a slippery mess. To put it mildly, walking in Cathedral Gorge when the hard clay ground is wet compares to walking on ice. On a rainy day, traction cleats or crampons are highly recommended for even a short walk in this place. I was wearing non-slip hiking shoes and I still lost my footing several times on the slick clay rock. The experience was literally like walking on oil coated polished marble.
At the end of the trail that runs through the gorge is where the Miller Point Overlook can be found. Miller Point can also be accessed by car, but hiking is the best way to experience the gothic proportions of this strange gorge! I followed this trail on a rainy day along what would normally be a dry creek bed and the going was pretty easy at first. When walking through this deep gorge, the canyon walls close in on both sides and the effect is like being captured in a place that will not let you go. The little caves on the rock walls start to look like faces and this makes the eerie feeling even worse. All that can be said is that Cathedral Gorge sure is a creepy place on a stormy day.
Toward the end of the trail on that rainy day, things got to be a bit more difficult because the path started going uphill. The small staircases made the climb easier, but the paths between the staircases were like walking on ice. The grade of the path to the final big staircase that goes up to the Miller Point Overlook was very steep and the slick conditions made it virtually impossible to traverse. I actually got about halfway up the steep path and could go no further. he clay rock ground was so slick, that I was able to take two steps forward, before sliding backwards well beyond the starting point. After a few attempts, it was easy to see that any uphill effort would end in futility, unless I crawled on my hands and knees, so I decided to save the Miller Point Overlook experience for another day. It was frustrating standing there so close to the endpoint of the trail and not being able to conquer what should have been an easy task. This is why I recommend traction cleats for hiking Cathedral Gorge on a rainy day!
More time was spent trying to climb up the slippery trail to Miller Point Scenic Overlook than I thought and darkness was quickly setting in. The drizzling rain returned too. As the sun was setting, the blueish haze of the lingering storm clouds casted an eery light on the gothic looking Cathedral Gorge, which was quite a spectacle to see.
Rain or shine, Cathedral Gorge State Park certainly is a captivating place to visit. This majestic destination truly is one of the most unique landscapes in Nevada and it is well worth checking out when passing through on Highway 93 near Pioche. By all means, be sure to bring a good camera, some traction cleats and do a little rain dance, because the photos of a Cathedral Gorge on a wet overcast day will look like they came from a distant planet!
Leave no trace!
Destination West YouTube channel! https://www.youtube.com/@DestinationWestOrg
Donations help the Destinaton West project continue into the future!
Go Fund Me!
This website uses marketing and tracking technologies. Opting out of this will opt you out of all cookies, except for those needed to run the website. Note that some products may not work as well without tracking cookies.Opt Out of Cookies