Panaca, 11 miles south of Pioche and a mile east of US-93 on Hwy-319, was founded in 1864 by Mormon farmers, attracted to the valley by the plentiful water of Panaca Spring, in what was then a part of Utah. The mining strikes at nearby Bullionville and Pioche disturbed their peace briefly, but Panaca—which has a single gas station-mini mart, plus a school and lots of houses—has a strong sense of tranquility and timelessness rarely felt in the rest of Nevada.

Just west of US-93, two miles north of Panaca, Cathedral Gorge State Park is a mini Grand Canyon of eroded mud. A lake once covered this deep gully, and silt and clay were washed to the bottom by streams and creeks. The lake dried up, exposing the sediments, and erosion (which never sleeps) sculpted them into the fantastic procession of formations you see today. The campground (775/728-4460) here has shade ramadas, flush toilets, and even showers.