Think that Nevada is all about croupier tables and slot machines? There’s a lot more to the Silver State than ritzy casinos, night shows, and resorts!
If you’re into nature, you’re guaranteed to feel right at home here, as there’s no shortage of amazing natural beauty all over the state. With Jaw-dropping mountains, vast deserts, mesmerizing waterfalls, sweeping canyons, and lush valleys, visiting Nevada in search of nature is something that belongs on every outdoor lover’s bucket list.
Whether you’re looking to escape the glitz and glam of the cities for a day or want to go all out and explore as many natural places the Silver State has to offer, this is the definitive list that showcases the very best that Nevada has to offer for nature enthusiasts.
Spring Mountains National Recreation Area
Also known as Mount Charleston, this recreational area is just 35 miles northwest of Las Vegas, making it a must if you’re on the lookout for an easy day trip from the Silver City.
Hiking is a must at Spring Mountains National Recreation Area. As you ascend, you’ll get some of the most epic views of the Sierra Nevada mountains to one side, Death Valley to the other, and Las Vegas, too!
With 60 miles of trails on Mount Charleston, there is something for every nature buff that visits. There are quite a few picnic areas on-site, as well as several campgrounds if you’re keen to experience a night out in nature.
During the winter months, snow activities take over the Spring Mountains. sledding, snowshoeing, snowball fights, and winter wildlife watching are just a few of the things you can do during the season. If you’re keen to go skiing or snowboarding, Lee Canyon is a fabulous choice for that!
Click here to learn more about Mount Charleston, activities, wildlife, and more.
Valley of Fire State Park
Tucked in the heart of the Mojave Desert, Valley of Fire State Park is made up of 46,000 acres of striking red Aztec sandstone. The stunning landscape at this unique national park glows red for miles into the horizon, and when sunlight hits, the rocks that dot the area turn into swirling shades of reds, oranges, and pinks, making them look as though they’re actually on fire!
With elevations ranging from 1,500 feet to 3,000 feet, hiking here is a real treat, especially if you’re keen to experience what hiking in the desert is like. The White Dome’s trail is a must to get an overall feel of the park, as the hike will have you passing incredible viewpoints to see the rocks changing colors, mesmerizing slot canyons, and even a cave or two! Other great trails include the Mouse Tank and the Atlatl Rock hikes, both of which will have you witnessing prehistoric petroglyphs that tell the story of the area!
Camping is also available for serious adventurers who want to truly immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the Valley of Fire. Whether you decide to spend the night or just visit for a day, don’t miss out on witnessing a sunset here, as the park looks particularly beautiful during that time.
Click here to read more about Camping at Valley of Fire.
Great Basin National Park
Located on the eastern border of Nevada and Utah, Great Basin National Park is incredibly diverse. Rock climbing is a big thing here, and the star for this is the 13,000 ft. ascent to Wheeler Peak.
If you’d rather hike instead, there are over 60 miles of trails on offer, all of which are vastly different from the next and can provide experiences ranging from wildlife sightings to limestone caverns, idyllic lakes, and more!
If you’re up for a night of a lifetime, camping at Great Basin National Park is an absolute treat. Thanks to its incredibly remote location, this national park is one of the darkest places in the United States, making it a real treat for stargazing (so much that astronomy programs are conducted year-round here!)
Click here to learn more about Great Basin National Park.
Death Valley National Park
Sitting right on the border between California and Nevada, Death Valley National Park is an absolute haven for nature lovers. Filled with colorful mountains, canyons, and miles of pristine sand dunes, the park actually brims with lively scenes and life, making its somewhat somber name a bit contradictory.
Aside from its natural beauty, Death Valley is also a bit of a historical gem. Hell’s Gate, Coffin Peak, Funeral Mountain, and Starvation Canyon are witnesses of the history of the area, and the park is also home to many relics that tell the story of the people who once called it their home. Aside from that, Death Valley is dotted with ghost towns, abandoned metal, and borax mines, making a visit here an incredible nature + history combo!
Nevada might be a landlocked state, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t able to offer some serious beach adventures! Lake Tahoe is the place to visit if you’re after a day spent out in the sun, especially if you happen to be visiting Nevada during the hotter months.
With shimmering waters that turn from blue to emerald green and white sand so soft, you could easily confuse the beaches at Lake Tahoe for one in the Caribbean if it weren’t for the views of the Sierra Mountains lining the horizon.
Simply put, Lake Tahoe is your go-to for anything involving water fun, as you’ll be able to find activities like boat riding, fishing, swimming, hiking, and more! During the winter months, the snowy peaks that surround the lake become the stars of the show, with some of the best ski resorts and winter sports in the country being offered here.
The Ethel M Botanical Gardens
Located right in Vegas, inside a chocolate factory (yes, you read that right!) this botanical garden is perfect for escaping the hustle and bustle for a few hours if a full-flown getaway doesn’t git into your schedule.
The coolest thing to do at Ethel M Botanical Gardens is getting to see the largest botanical cactus garden in the entire Southwest. With more than 350 types of cacti and succulents, a walk in this garden is guaranteed to please.
Did any of these Nevada destinations catch your eye? What are the ones you feel you definitely can’t miss out on? Let me know in the comment section down below!