Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park (Nevada)
Another of Nevada’s true ghost towns Berlin, a mining town dating back to the 1890s, is part of this state park that has another older history. It has the most abundant fossilized remains of the one of the largest known ancient marine reptiles—the Ichthyosaur—dating back about 230-million-years. Located in far northwestern Nye County, Nevada, about 75-miles from Hawthorne, the fossils were first discovered in the late-1920s. Thirty years later excavations began and studies of the approximately 40 ichthyosaurs were conducted well into the 1960s. Shonisaurus popularis, as this species of ichthyosaur was named for the Shoshone Mountains where it was found, was the largest marine reptile ever discovered until 2004 when second species from British Columbia, Shonisaurus sikanniensis, was unearthed.
The Fossil House now protects the remains in situ from the harsh elements of the region now that they are exposed. The old town site is preserved in a state of arrested decay where visitors can walk along paths among remnants of old homes and buildings and the town’s cemetery where some of the original residents are interred. The park is open to visitors 24/7/365 with guided tours of the fossil shelter during non-winter months. Camping is available in the park and a nature trail connects the town and the fossil shelter.
Berlin Ichthyosaur State Park, NV-844, Austin, NV 89310