Go prepared! - Caving Checklist
A Decoy in the Desert
This hike starts as a time travel through history on the Lovelock Cave Backcountry Byway. Stop in the city of Lovelock and pick up a self-guided tour brochure at the Marzen museum on the west end of town. From here you will follow the signed byway twenty miles where the road ends at the trailhead to Lovelock Cave. Along the way signage marks points of interest which in part show the importance of irrigation in this area, the California trail, and Ancient Lake Lahontan. Lake Lahontan was a huge body of water that filled many basins in Northwest Nevada up to about 10,000 years ago. Many of the surrounding mountains would simply have been islands during this period of time.
This area was occupied by the Northern Paiute people. At one time the water from this great lake extended all the way to the base of the mountain of our objective hike, Lovelock Cave.
In 1911, bat guano miners located some artifacts in this cave. Bat guano has long been sought after due to its high concentrate of nitrates. It is used as fertilizer as well as an ingredient in gun powder. Thankfully the miners told others and eventually archaeologists came to the cave. It has been excavated on and off since, right thru the 1970's. Over 10,000 artifacts have been collected from this cave including the oldest known lifelike duck decoys(believed to be over 2,000 years old), fish nets, snags and bone fragment fish hooks.
Our hike starts at a very modern trailhead that has a pick nick table and restrooms. Interpretive signs mark the trail and a brochure helps you to understand what you are seeing. The trail circles the mountain and brings you around to the opening of the cave. Bring a flashlight and let others know where you are as this is a self guided tour. The limestone cave is about 150 feet long and 35 feet wide. No doubt you will spend some time looking at the odd geology of this mountain after exploring the cave, as you continue on the loop trail back to the trailhead.
There are no fees associated with this hike. This is a BLM funded operation.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.