Posts Tagged ‘berlin’

Nevada’s Dinosaur and Ghost Town State Park

Ghost towns and dinosaurs are two things that seem especially interest many little boys (and some grown up ones, as well!). In spite of the broad difference between the two, both are featured in one of the most unusual state parks in all of the United States. What better place could there be for kids to see and explore? In a remote part of central Nevada is the Berlin – Ichthyosaur State Park that combines the old historic silver mining ghost town of Berlin, and a completely unique display of Ichthyosaur fossils. Park Rangers give talks and tours in an old underground silver mine, and in another part of the same Park, they speak about and exhibit dinosaur fossils, explaining the life and habits of the gigantic Ichthyosaur, a dinosaur reptile that swam in the sea like a fish.

The old ghost town of Berlin is situated on the Western slope of the Shoshone range in west-central Nevada. The town was founded in 1897 after silver was discovered in nearby Union Canyon. For 13 years the little towns that were established thrived and over 300 persons live there.

It had a general store, an assay office, boarding houses, a union hall, a schoolhouse, three saloons and many residences. Unlike many small western ghost towns, Berlin was never destroyed by a fire, and because Nevada is so dry, many of the old wooden buildings still stand in a state of arrested decay where visitors can view them just as they were built over a century ago.

Perhaps the most interesting feature of the park is a small area which contains more than a dozen fossilized Ichthyosaurs. These giant dinosaurs swam in the sea and were up to 70 feet long and weighed from 40 to 60 tons. They were the largest animals in existence in their time. Like the whales of today, Ichthyosaurs had no gills and had to swim to the surface to blow and breathe air. These unusual reptiles were the great ocean predators of their day and preyed mostly upon sea fish. They lived in an ocean that covered what is now western Nevada.

The Berlin – Ichthyosaur State Park is located about 156 driving miles east of Reno and is open all year. There is a nice campground at the park with water, but no other supplies. The nearest town and source of supplies is located at Gabbs 23 miles to the west. There is a grocery store and gas station at Gabbs. The road from Gabbs is easy to follow and paved for all but the last few miles. The dirt section is well graded, and no problem to follow.

For more information on the Berlin – Ichthyosaur State Park, including photos of the park and a map to the location, take a look at the authors website:

For more rock hound and camping adventures in Nevada and Northern California, take a look at the authors website at:

Chris Ralph writes on small scale mining and prospecting for the ICMJ Mining Journal. He has a Mining Engineering degree from the Mackay School of Mines and currently works as an Environmental Engineer. He owns 3 Nevada turquoise mines and markets his own line of jewelry. His jewelry and information site can be seen at:

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