The 20 best places to visit in Nevada


In the Bullfrog Hills, close to the border with California on the edge of Death Valley National Park is the Rhyolite Ghost Town, a town at the forefront of the early 20th century gold mining. After 1920, Rhyolite and its crumbling buildings became a setting for a number of movies and a tourist attraction in its own right, remaining in almost exactly the same condition to this day.


Pictured is an installation known as 'The Last Supper', an art piece from the Goldwell Open Air Museum.

20. Rhyolite Ghost Town


North west from Las Vegas, located in what has come to be known as the 'Nevada Test Site' is the Sedan Crater, created in 1962 by a 104 kiloton thermo nuclear explosion. Measuring 98 metres (320 ft) deep, visitors can stand on the Sedan Crater Observation Deck to see the results of a real nuclear explosion.

19. Sedan Crater


In the far west of the state, north of Lake Tahoe close to the border with California is Nevada's second most populated city, Reno, nicknamed 'The Biggest Little City In The World'. Before the late 1950's Reno was the gambling capital of the United States, until it was pushed aside by Nevada's very own Las Vegas. With a smattering of older casinos, Reno is known for its museums, annual events such as the Championship Air Races, Great Reno Balloon Race and its close proximity to Lake Tahoe.

18. Reno


In the far west of the state, between Reno and the state capital, Carson City, is Virginia City, a historic town that reached its peak in the mid to late 19th century after the first major silver deposit discovery. Today with a population less than 1,000 people, the city retains much of its authentic historic character with its wooden board sidewalks and numerous restored buildings dating from the 1860's. With its old churches, schools and saloons, the town allows visitors to experience its motto and, 'Step Back In Time'.

17. Virginia City


East from Reno along US Route 50 is an area known as Sand Mountain Recreation Area, home to a giant singing sand dune. Living up to its name, the dune measures an enormous 3.2 kilometres (2 miles) long and up to 180 metres (590 ft) high, a true mountain of sand.

16. Sand Mountain Recreation Area


Around the centre of the state in Nye County is an area known as the Lunar Crater National Natural Landmark, protecting a volcanic landmark in the Pancake Mountain Range. Measuring approximately 1.6 square kilometres (0.6 square miles) in circumference, the Lunar Crater, despite its name, is believed to have been formed by several volcanic explosions. Used by NASA to geologically train its Apollo Astronauts, its about as close to the moon as most of us will get.

15. Lunar Crater National Natural Landmark


In the north west of the state, covering 1,245 square kilometres (481 square miles) is the Black Rock Desert–High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area, encompassing and protecting ten separate wilderness areas. The two most notable are the two from which the conservation area takes its name, the Black Rock Desert, a semi arid region of lava beds and alkali flats, and the High Rock Canyon Wilderness with its huge cliffs and towering canyons. An area of desert, mountains and incredible terrain, its also the location of the annual Burning Man event.

14. Black Rock Desert-High Rock NCA


Scattered throughout the centre of Nevada, with a small portion crossing into neighbouring California is the 25,454 square kilometre (9,827 square mile) Humboldt Toiyabe National Forest, the largest national forest in the United States outside of Alaska. Covering portions of the Santa Rosa Mountain Range, the Spring Mountains and the Ruby Mountains, the national forest is a landscape of rolling peaks, lakes, forests and pristine wilderness areas. Highlights include the Lamoille Canyon Scenic Byway, the Lamoille Lake and high altitude hikes through the Santa Rosa Paradise Peak Wilderness.

13. Humboldt Toiyabe National Forest


In the extreme south east of the state, directly east from Las Vegas is the 1,202 square kilometre (464 square mile) Gold Butte National Monument, protecting a desert landscape that includes ancient rock art, sandstone towers and natural arches. Home to important species including the endangered Mojave Desert tortoise, bighorn sheep and mountain lion, it has become a favourite among hikers and climbers.

12. Gold Butte National Monument


In the extreme south east of the state, directly east from Las Vegas, and shared with neighbouring Arizona is the 6,053 square kilometre (2,337 square mile) Lake Mead National Recreation Area, protecting an area that follows the Colorado River corridor from the western boundary of the Grand Canyon National Park. Home to 500 animal species, encompassing Lake Mead, a number of reservoirs as well as nine separate wilderness areas, the landscape is one of red rocky canyons, shrub land and barren mountains.

11. Lake Mead National Recreation Area


In the far north east of the state, covering an area of some 458 square kilometres (177 square miles) is the Jarbridge Wilderness, a name derived from the Shoshone language meaning, 'Devil', due to the American Indians believing the hills in the area are haunted. The first wilderness to be established in Nevada, located within the Jarbridge Mountains, the landscape is one of steep mountains, high peaks, wild meadows and crystal clear lakes.

10. Jarbidge Wilderness


Created in 1964 in the north east of the state is the small geothermal Fly Geyser, also known as the Fly Ranch Geyser. Measuring approximately 1.5 metres (5 ft) high by 3.7 metres (15 ft) wide, the geyser was formed when a geothermic energy company drilled a well in search of irrigation water. The water was not hot enough for energy purposes, and so the well was capped. The seal apparently failed, and the resulting pressure and minerals created an accumulation of calcium carbonate and silica, resulting in cones and travertine pools of deep reds and green. With the land bought by the non profit Burning Man Project, tours of the Fly Geyser can now be arranged.

9. Fly Geyser


In the north east of the state, running approximately 130 kilometres (80 miles) in length are the Ruby Mountains, encompassing a magnificent terrain of high peaks, long valleys, deep canyons and beautiful lakes. Major features in the range include the large Lamoille Canyon, Echo Lake, Liberty Lake, Lamoille Lake and Castle Lake, and the 3,471 metre (11,387 ft) Ruby Dome, the highest peak in the range. One of the highlights for hikers is the Ruby Crest National recreation Trail, a 61 kilometre (38 mile) trail that cuts its way along the pristine upper elevations of the central range.

8. Ruby Mountains


In the far east of the state, north east from Las Vegas, close to the border with Utah is the extremely small 6.6 square kilometre (2.5 square mile) Cathedral Gorge State Park, a recreation area and geologic preserve featuring a dramatic landscape of eroded rock formations. Being slightly north from the town of Panaca, the richly coloured canyons of Cathedral Gorge have come to be known as the Panaca Formation.

7. Cathedral Gorge State Park


In the south of the state, west of Las Vegas is the 799 square kilometre (308 square mile) Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, encompassing a landscape of large red rock formations and sandstone peaks known as the Keystone Thrust. Easily accessible via a one way loop road that cuts straight into this wonderful terrain, combined with its close proximity to Las Vegas, Red Rock Canyon has become one of the most visited natural areas in Nevada. With a large number of well marked trails, the site has become a favourite among hikers and bikers.

6. Red Rock Canyon


West from the Nevada state capital, Carson City, crossing the state line between Nevada and California is the famous Lake Tahoe, simply meaning, 'The Lake', it is the largest freshwater alpine lake in the United States. Surrounded by large forests, the lake is known for the clarity of its water and the panorama of surrounding mountains on all sides. The beauty of the lake and its stunning natural surroundings has made it one of the most visited tourist attractions in both Nevada and California.

5. Lake Tahoe


North east from Las Vegas, covering an area of some 186 square kilometres (72 square miles) is the Valley Of Fire State Park, its name derived from the red Aztec sandstone formations that are said to appear as if on fire under the intense desert sun. Wonderful for hiking and camping, the easiest way to see this incredible landscape is via the Valley Of Fire Road, a 17 kilometre (10.5 mile) stretch of highway that traverses the park and has been designated a Nevada Scenic Byway.

4. Valley Of Fire State Park


Completed in 1936, south east from Las Vegas is the Hoover Dam, a concrete arch gravity dam in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River, straddling the border between the states of Nevada and Arizona. Impounding Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the United States, the Hoover Dam has become a major attraction and probably the best known dam in the world. Recognised as a National Historic Landmark, this incredible feat of engineering should last for 10,000 years.

3. Hoover Dam


In the east of the state, close to the border with neighbouring Utah is the 312 square kilometre (120 square miles) Great Basin National Park, its name deriving from the Great Basin area between the dry and mountainous region between the Sierra Nevada and the Wasatch Mountains. Home to more than 60 mammal and 18 reptile species, the landscape is one of incredible mountain scenery, high desolate peaks, lakes and alpine forests. With a number of trails heading into the park, highlights include the difficult and strenuous Wheeler Summit Trail, the Mountain View Nature Trail, Lehman Cave and Stella Lake.

2. Great Basin National Park


In the southern centre of the state where the borders of Nevada, Arizona and California meet is the city of Las Vegas, Spanish for 'The Meadows' it is the 28th most populated city in the United States and the largest city in Nevada. Known as Sin City, the City Of Lights, the Gambling Capital Of The World and the Marriage Capital Of The World among a number of other nicknames, Las Vegas bills itself as the Entertainment Capital Of The World, renowned as a major resort city it is famous for its gambling, shopping, fine dining, entertainment and nightlife, there is always something to do and see.

1. Las Vegas

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