10 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Nevada
Nevada's amazing landscapes are often overshadowed by the glitter and glitz of its biggest city, Las Vegas, with its famous Strip. While The Strip is surely a sight to see, Nevada is a state of incredible natural diversity with plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities such as fishing, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and even skiing. Be sure to get out of the city and get lost in Nevada's stunning wilderness areas as you enjoy all the amazing attractions the state has to offer.
1 Las Vegas and The Strip
Considered the most entertainment filled two and a half miles in the entire world, The Strip glitters and glows with massive resorts, hotels, theaters, restaurants, and gardens. The Strip is the center section of the famous Las Vegas Boulevard running from the Mandalay Bay Hotel to the Treasure Island Hotel and sees nearly 40 million visitors every year. Lit up at night, The Strip shows up as one of the brightest spots on earth when seen from space.
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2 Hoover Dam
Built during the Great Depression as a way to provide jobs, Hoover Dam is a marvel of modern engineering, Unfortunately, more than 100 workers died during its construction, but today the dam is a major tourist attraction. A 45-minute drive from the center of Las Vegas, the 726-foot-high dam contains Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the United States, and provides hydroelectric power to much of Nevada, Arizona, and California. It attracts more than one million visitors every year.
3 Lake Tahoe
A massive two-million-year-old freshwater lake high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and half in California, Lake Tahoe is a blast of amazing clear blue water surrounded by high mountains. The 22-mile-long lake is also the second deepest lake in the United States. Originally inhabited by the Washoe people, the area is now home to a number of ski resorts as well as boating, fishing, water skiing, mountain biking, and hiking activities.
4 Lake Mead
One of the most convenient ways of seeing beautiful Lake Mead is on a paddle wheel boat ride, but the lake is spectacular even viewed from the surrounding roads and shorelines. Lake Mead is the largest reservoir in the United States and measures 112 miles long. It lies less than 30 miles from the center of Las Vegas. A cruise around the lake is a fantastic platform for photography and wildlife viewing. Some cruises offer historic lectures on the construction of the Hoover Dam and the formation of the great Colorado River and the nearby Grand Canyon.
5 The Valley of Fire
An hour north-east of Las Vegas lies the oldest state park in the state of Nevada: The Valley of Fire. It covers more than 42,000 acres of otherworldly sandstone formations created from giant sand dunes that solidified here during the age of the dinosaurs, nearly 150 million years ago. Human occupation dates to 3,000 years ago. This is a rugged landscape, perfect for hiking and wildlife viewing. Just be careful in the summer when temperatures can climb to a toasty 120 degrees Fahrenheit. The park is open year-round.
6 Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area covers nearly 200,000 acres just 17 miles from the Las Vegas Strip. Massive red rock formations up to 3,000 feet high jut above the Mojave Desert. The area boasts an amazing 13-mile scenic drive as well as more than 30 miles of hiking trails to explore. Rock climbing, horseback riding, mountain biking, road biking, picnicking, and wildlife watching are also popular activities here. The park is open year-round.
7 Pyramid Lake
Nevada's amazing landscapes offer a wide range of hidden lakes. Pyramid Lake is one of the most beautiful. About 33 miles northeast of Sparks and 16 miles north of Interstate 80 on Nevada Route 447, Pyramid Lake is managed by a Native American tribe. The lake spreads out between gorgeous low mountains and reflects a stunning blue sky. It is dominated by limestone formations in the middle, which give the lake its name. Water sports abound, and other popular activities here include hiking, fishing, and wildlife watching.
8 Lamoille Canyon
Lamoille Canyon lies at the heart of Nevada's Ruby Mountains in Elko Country. The Lamoille Canyon Road is an officially designated National Forest Road that winds around the base of the 11,387-foot Ruby Dome. The road then climbs up into a spectacular 8,800-foot-high canyon that was carved long ago by glaciers. During the summer, the alpine meadows explode with wildflowers. The area is also known for its waterfalls and wildlife such as big horn sheep, mountain goats, and a great diversity of bird life. The lower region of Lamoille Canyon is open year-round, but the upper section is buried under snow for several months in the winter. Come for the camping, fishing, hiking - and of course the drive.
9 Austin: The Living Ghost Town
The small community of Austin lies along Highway 50 and is the perfect example of a historic Nevada mining town. Established in 1862 during the silver rush, the town quickly exploded to a population of more than 10,000 in only a few years. Just 50 years later, the boom was over, and the population dropped to its current 340 souls. Several other ghost towns such as Berlin rest nearby. Hosting several churches, the Stokes Castle, and a multitude of abandoned buildings, Austin is a fun stop while on the road.
10 Great Basin National Park
In east-central Nevada, near the border with the state of Utah, Great Basin National Park protects nearly 80,000 acres of basin and range landscape. The park is dominated by the 13,063-foot Wheeler Peak and underlain by the Lehman Caves. It also protects Bristlecone Pines that are nearly 5,000 years old. The park offers a number of developed camping sites and a wide range of backpacking opportunities. The Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive is a must do as is the Baker Creek Road - but not in the winter. The park lies next to the massive Highland Ridge Wilderness area.