One needs only to listen to the state song to hear a veritable cornucopia of Nevada’s most iconic features.
It’s the “land of the setting sun,” where the “sun always shines,” “right in the heart of the golden west.” And we like to think the song’s not exaggerating, as our publisher, Bob Brown, notes in “The Spirit of Nevada,” an RJ video celebrating the Silver State.
“One can imagine the Creator finishing his earth and spending just a little more time on Nevada,” he says.
With that in mind, we took to social media to find the places in Nevada that best display what’s great about our state. Here’s what you had to say:
1. Valley of Fire
Dedicated in 1935, Valley of Fire is Nevada’s oldest and largest state park. Camp, go for a hike or just snap some photos of the ancient trees and 3,000-year-old Indian petroglyphs. Directions and information can be found here.
2. Spring Mountains
The Spring Mountain National Recreation Area lies west of the Las Vegas Valley and is more familiar to locals as Mount Charleston.
There’s a reason Mount Charleston always comes up when we ask where in Nevada people should visit. Mount Charleston — officially Charleston Peak — is the highest of the Spring Mountains and the eighth-highest mountain peak in the state. At nearly 12,000 feet, it’s one of the few places in the area you can experience four seasons. Get more information here.
3. Lamoille Canyon
Lamoille Canyon is located in the Ruby Mountains in northeastern Nevada. Take the byway around Ruby Dome and climb through the canyon to nearly 9,000 feet. Meadows, waterfalls and avalanche chutes compete with wildlife for your attention on the drive. Get directions here.
4. Great Basin National Park
Great Basin National Park, located in east-central Nevada near the Utah border, is known in part for its groves of ancient bristlecone pines. Check them out and pay a visit to the Lehman Caves at the base of Wheeler Peak. Get directions here.
5. Las Vegas
Las Vegas is the only item on the list that isn’t focused on nature. For those of us who live here, it’s easy to forget that the city holds its own kind of wonder, with the glittering lights of the Strip fading into the sprawling suburbs, which themselves lead right up to the mountains’ edge. It’s an improbable meshing of opposites that makes the city a sight to behold.
6. Cathedral Gorge
Cathedral Gorge State Park, about 2.5 hours north of Las Vegas, is a self-proclaimed photographers dream. A long, narrow valley showcases soft bentonite clay where erosion has carved dramatic patterns over the years. Explore the slot canyons or follow one of the walking trails for great views. Get directions here.
7. Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe is located west of Carson City on the Nevada-California border and is the largest alpine lake in North America and the second-deepest in the U.S., after Crater Lake in Oregon. The lake itself was formed about 2 million years ago. Get more information here.
8. Red Rock National Conservation Area
Red Rock, 17 miles west of the Las Vegas Strip, was Nevada’s first national conservation area. If you’re not into hiking, take the 13-mile scenic drive to see the Mojave Desert come to life. The massive wall of rock with a jagged, dark red stripe that you can see from the strip is called the Keystone Thrust. Get more information here.
Tonopah can claim the distinction of being the best place for stargazing in the nation. The town, 215 miles north of Las Vegas on U.S. 95, has mapped out roads called “star trails,” from which it’s said you can see 7,000 stars. Find more information here.
10. Lake Mead National Recreation Area
Lake Mead was the nation’s first recreation area. It was created by dams that back up the Colorado River and is home to thousands of plants and animals native to the Mojave Desert. Get more information here.