Nevada in Pictures: 14 Beautiful Places to Photograph
Nevada is a great destination for photographers, and the state offers many more subjects than the lights of Las Vegas. The western state is filled with some amazing national and state parks, with vast areas of extreme natural beauty.
Wildlife photographers may want to explore the area around Lake Tahoe, while nature photographers will have a field day at Red Rock Canyon, near Las Vegas. You may want to explore ancient cultures at one of the state's many museums or spend the day exploring and photographing an old ghost town.
Of course the lights and neon of the Las Vegas Strip, along with its over-the-top architecture, remain great places to photograph as well.
1. Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe is a large freshwater lake, providing a seemingly endless array of environments and landscapes to photograph. There are mountains, forests, and even beaches along the lakeshore. In the summer, it's all about boating and enjoying the lake. You can also enjoy the views from some of the hiking trails around Lake Tahoe. In the winter, Lake Tahoe is a winter sports photography paradise with a number of ski resorts.
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2. Red Rock Canyon
This striking natural landscape is filled with canyons and huge geologic formations. The area is easy to access by car, and the main places to photograph are located along a one-way, 13-mile scenic drive through the park. Off of this road are numerous hiking trails and lookouts. Red Rock Canyon is just minutes from the edge of Las Vegas.
3. Las Vegas Strip
Even if you never set foot inside any of the Strip's entertainment venues, the neon and digital illuminations of Las Vegas Boulevard provide some truly spectacular images. Highlights include the light and fountain show at the Bellagio Las Vegas, as well as the Fremont Street Experience, an LED-covered canopy in downtown Las Vegas.
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4. Valley of Fire State Park
This state park is in Clark County, about an hour's drive from Las Vegas. The park is known for its petrified wood (prehistoric wood turned to stone), as well as sandstone canyons and visually striking geologic features. Many photogenic highlights are easily accessible by car. You can see the park on a day trip from Las Vegas but you may want to spend a few days exploring the hiking trails in Valley of Fire to really appreciate the area. The park also has a few campgrounds set among the beautiful rocks and scenery.
5. Hoover Dam
This man-made wonder is over 700 feet (213 meters) tall and a beautiful example of Depression-era architecture and man's ability to sometimes control nature. The dam is a great subject for photos, both from the top and from the areas on either side.
6. Lake Mead
Lake Mead is the body of water created by the construction of Hoover Dam. It's a large recreation area, only about an hour from Las Vegas. It's a great place to photograph boats, water sports, and the beautiful natural landscape. The lake is in a desert environment surrounded by rugged cliffs. Like Red Rock Canyon and Valley of Fire, the area around Lake Mead also has some of the best hiking trails around Las Vegas.
7. Great Basin National Park
Great Basin is a vast park located in eastern Nevada near the Utah border. Photogenic highlights include the stalactites and stalagmites of the park's Lehman Caves, as well as the over 13,000-foot-tall Wheeler Peak.
8. The Neon Museum
Much of today's Las Vegas signage is made up of digital billboards. In the past, colorful neon was the only way to create the enormous, illuminated signs and facades that lined the Strip. The city's Neon Museum is the best place to photograph Vegas history. One of the best places at the museum to get some great shots is the vast sign boneyard.
Ghost towns are great places to photograph, and with its rich mining history, Nevada has a lot of them. Delamar is a great one to visit, as it's filled with lots of structures. The town was the site of a gold rush in the late 19th century and was abandoned in the early 20th century. Delamar is about two and a half hours from Reno.
10. International Car Forest of the Last Church
A unique pair of artists took 40 old cars and inserted most of them vertically, at angles, into the ground. Others are stacked on top of one another, and they're all covered with graffiti. The vertical cars create a surrealistic automotive Stonehenge in the middle of the Nevada desert. It's a great subject for photos. The site is about three hours north of Las Vegas in the town of Goldfield.
11. National Automobile Museum
Located in downtown Reno, this museum has over 200 cars in its collection. It's a great place for automotive photography, and many of the cars are big, bold American cars from the 50s and 60s that make excellent subjects.
12. Lost City Museum
Nevada has a long history of ancient native cultures. The Lost City Museum showcases artifacts from these ancient cultures, as well as their homes. The museum shows items that would have been lost when Hoover Dam was constructed. The artifacts are interesting to photograph as is the recreated village. It's off the 15 freeway, just north of Lake Mead, in the town of Overton.
13. Route 50, the Loneliest Road in America
This almost totally straight, almost completely deserted 400 mile stretch of Route 50, bisecting the state in half horizontally, has been officially called the loneliest road in America. It's a great place for photographs, as the road has striking mountains and geology on either side and is topped with a deep blue sky and fluffy white clouds.
14. Pyramid Lake
Pyramid Lake is a deep, alpine lake about an hour from downtown Reno. It's a great place for photography, as it gets its name from the huge, unique limestone pyramids that poke through the surface. The whole landscape is very unique, as the area has geologic remnants (limestone structures and formations) of the prehistoric sea that used to cover the region.