BERLIN-ICHTHYOSAUR STATE PARK
Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park is located 23 miles east of Gabbs, via State Route 844. The park is open all year but extreme winter weather may prohibit travel. Nestled at 7,000 feet on the scenic western slope of central Nevada's Shoshone mountain range, the park provides a vast array of stimulating recreational opportunities. The forested slopes provide shade and breezes help to moderate the summer temperatures which seldom exceed 90 F (32o C). Late spring and early fall can often be the nicest times of the year. Winter visits to the park are possible, but be certain to call for weather and road conditions.
Berlin Ichthyosaur State Park encompasses 1,153 acres. The elevation ranges from 6,840 feet to a high point of 7,880 feet. The hillsides in the park are covered with Big Sagebrush (The Nevada State Flower) while Pinyon Pine and Utah Juniper dominate the upper elevations.
Some common animal inhabitants include mule deer, black-tailed jackrabbits, cottontail rabbits, western bluebirds, pinon jays, chuckar partridge, whiptail lizards, western fence lizards, gopher snakes and rattlesnakes.
Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park was first established in 1957 to protect and display North America's most abundant concentration and largest known Ichthyosaur fossils. The park also preserves the turn-of-the-20th century mining town of Berlin as well as the Diana Mine. The Ichthyosaur fossil area is a Registered Natural Landmark and the historic townsite is on the National Register of Historic Places. These national designations speak to the unique value of the resources preserved here.
Berlin - A Turn-of-the-Century Mining Town. The first mining activity in the region was in May 1863 when a small group of prospectors discovered silver in Union Canyon and the small mining camp of Union was settled. The following year the Union Mining District was formed, including the towns of Union, Ione, Grantsville, and later, Berlin. The first assay report in Berlin Canyon was in 1869, but is was not until 1896 that the Berlin Mine was established. With the purchase of the mine and numerous surrounding mining claims by the Nevada Company in 1898, the town of Berlin was soon in its heyday until 1908, declining to its death by 1911.
With the rise of Berlin the old settlement of Union, a mile to the east, revived as its old buildings were used by the Berlin miners. During its heyday, Berlin and its Union suburbs supported 200-250 people including miners, woodcutters, charcoal makers, a doctor and nurse, a forest ranger and a prostitute. Buildings included a 30-stamp mill, assay office, barn and corrals, union hall, store and post office, infirmary, stage station and homes. Many of the buildings still remain. Some of the residents are interred in the cemetery below the town.
The Berlin Mine was worked from an incline shaft with eight levels. The total production of its three miles of tunnels is estimated to have been $849,000 at a time when gold was $20 per once. The Berlin Mill processed the ore by crusher, stamps, amalgamation, and concentrating tables.
Today Berlin stands as a true Nevada ghost town, preserved for present and future generations. Visitors are invited to walk through the old townsite, read the numerous descriptive signs, peer into the windows and imagine life during this colorful period of Nevada's past.The Diana Mine - A Walk Through Solid Rock.
The Diana Mine, also known as the Walter Bowler Tunnel, began operation early in the twentieth century concurrent with the boom at Berlin. It connects the surface with the fourth level of the Berlin Mine, via a lateral tunnel of over 1200 feet. Carved literally out of solid rock, the Diana Mine is much more than just a tunnel... it is a walk through the historical past. The Diana Mine remains much as it was left when activity ceased. One is left with the impression that the miners left just yesterday and will return tomorrow.
Entering the mine, visitors follows the original track laid down for the ore cart. One of the first things noticed is the cool draft characteristics of the mines and the even, year-round, temperatures. Among other period items encountered are an ore cart, side tunnels, a stope and ore chute, a winze, timbering and actual gold bearing quartz veins. Many other historical mining tools are displayed and interpreted for the visitors. Tour sizes are limited, so please call for tour availability and reservations.
Camping: 14 well-spaced units, some suitable for RVs to 25 ft, with fire ring, BBQ grill, covered table, drinking water (mid-April to October), and restrooms nearby. RV sanitary station is available.
Group Use: No formal group use area is available. Groups may use picnic area for day or overnight use with advanced reservations. To schedule group tours, please contact the park at the address or phone number shown.