You don’t need the glitz or glam to have a great time
It’s hard not to think about Las Vegas when Nevada is mentioned. For many people, it’s probably the one Nevada city they can name. And, thanks to commercials, ads, and that often repeated “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” catchphrase, it often feels like Sin City is the only place in Nevada worth visiting. But, we’re here to tell you that’s just not true; there are quite a few other spots to check out across the state, especially if you are looking for an outdoor adventure. Here are some gorgeous areas that are a long way from the Strip.
Located in Overton, this park is comprised of 40,000 acres, making it the largest state park in Nevada. Opened in 1935, it is also the oldest. If you want to spend the night, there are dozens of campsites. There are also several hiking trails that will let you take in the stunning scenery, as well as many petroglyphs. And if you want to cool off, you can head over to nearby Lake Mead to take a dip.
Believe it or not, a million years ago or so, Nevada’s desert was buried beneath a lake, and when the water subsided, it created a new, breathtaking topography. In Cathedral Gorge State Park, located in eastern Nevada near Panaca, visitors can explore the many slot canyons and caverns that have been carved into the bentonite clay.
In addition to hiking – there is over 100 km of trails – there are tons of other things to do in Great Basin National Park, including biking, spelunking in the Lehman Caves, and stargazing. You may also spot some interesting wildlife, such as jackrabbits, bighorn sheep, and maybe even coyotes.
Located in Baker, there are over 100 campsites, and while many have tent pads and grills, there are also some “primitive” sites where it’s basically you versus nature.
The biggest forest in the lower 48 states, Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest is spread out over 6.3 million acres. As you can imagine, there are tons of things to see, including canyons, mountains that are over 10,000 feet high, meadows filled with wildflowers, lakes, and hot springs.
Near Gabbs, this park offers camping and hiking, but that’s not all. During the Gold Rush, Berlin, NV, proved to be very lucrative for miners, as over 42,000 troy ounces of gold were found underground. By 1911, things had dried up, and everyone was gone, but they left behind houses, stables, a blacksmith shop, and the ore mill, which visitors can still see today. Plus, in the last century, more than 40 fossils of Ichthyosaurs (225-million-year-old marine reptiles) have been found in the area, and many of those are also still there.
If you plan to visit the Ruby Mountains Scenic area – which is south of Elko – you definitely don’t want to forget your camera because you may not see scenery this spectacular anywhere else. This is also a great spot for both hiking and backpacking, especially along the 60 km Ruby Crest national recreation trail. If you are visiting in winter, you may want to bring along your ski equipment.
Black Rock Desert
If you know anything about the Black Rock Desert, it’s probably because every year in late August it’s visited by thousands of people for the Burning Man Festival. If that’s not your scene, pretty much any other time of year you will find a peaceful place to hike, bike, or camp. There are more than 300,000 acres to explore, and you can even see some wheel ruts created by wagons on the famous Oregon Trail.
Vegas may be fun, but if you feel like doing something else on your Nevada trip, it’s good to know that you have several other options. And to make sure you get where you’re going and back again, think about becoming a member of RV Advisor, and purchasing roadside assistance before you set off.