What do you think of when you hear the name “Nevada?” Perhaps you think of the Las Vegas Strip or the Stratosphere. Maybe you think of star-studded entertainment and high-stakes gambling. You might be surprised to know that the state of Nevada is home to some of the most strikingly beautiful and unique natural wonders you can find in our great country. Still can’t believe it? Here are five of the most beautiful natural wonders you’ll see in Nevada. Be sure to add them to your trip itinerary the next time to plan to visit Nevada.
Pyramid Lake is located nearly 40 miles northeast of Reno, Nevada, and is among the most interesting and unique lakes in the country. It encompasses almost 125,000 acres, making it one of the largest natural lakes in the entire state. The rock formations near the lake are breathtaking, and some of the best fishing in Nevada is done right here at Pyramid Lake.
The lake is fed by the Truckee River, which is mostly the outflow from Lake Tahoe. Pyramid Lake is the largest remnant of an ancient lake named Lahontan. What is now Pyramid Lake was once home to the Paiute tribe of Native Americans in the 1800s. The lake has no outlet, and water only leaves the lake by evaporation. It has about 10% of the area of the Great Salt Lake in Utah, but it has 25% more volume than the Great Salt Lake. The water here is somewhat salty, with about 1/6 the salinity of ocean water.
Pyramid Lake is not only beautiful and unique; it’s also the perfect spot for fishing and camping. There’s also a museum onsite dedicated to the Paiute Tribe. For more information on this beautiful lake, visit www.pyramidlake.us.
Valley of Fire State Park
Nevada’s oldest state park is Valley of Fire State Park, which is located in the Mojave Desert, approximately 50 miles from the Las Vegas Strip. Dedicated in 1935, Valley of Fire State Park covers an area of nearly 42,000 acres. It gets its name from the red sandstone formations that were created from shifting sand dunes thousands of years ago. The park is known for these formations. They often appear to be on fire as they reflect the sun’s rays.
Valley of Fire State Park is the perfect place for local residents and visitors to take a picnic, go camping and enjoy hiking. Tent camping and RV camping are available with electric hook-ups. The state park also has hiking trails of varying lengths, terrain and intensity.
For more information about Valley of Fire State Park, visit http://parks.nv.gov/parks/valley-of-fire.
The Jarbidge Wilderness is a designated wilderness area established in 1964 and located in the Jarbidge Mountains. The wilderness area is located in northern Elko County, Nevada and encompasses more than 113,000 acres of high mountains and deep glaciated canyons. The area is also home to eight separate mountain peaks that stand higher than 10,000 above sea level. Some of those peaks drop to canyons 4,000 feet below. These mountains form one single crest, and their elevations range from 9,800 feet to 11,000 feet for a length of seven miles. No trails lead to the peaks, but many hikers make the 10,565 ft. climb up Mary’s River to sign the register atop one of the peaks.
Jarbidge Wilderness gets an average of 7 to 8 inches of snow every year. The Jarbidge area is also home to a wide variety of animal life. When you visit, keep your eyes open for elk, deer and mountain lions in the area. Those who love the outdoors find themselves fast fans of Jarbidge because of the hiking and sightseeing available to them. Those who enjoy hunting also enjoy the Jarbidge Wilderness area. For even more information about the Jarbidge Wilderness area, visit www.nevadawilderness.org.
Lake Tahoe, located in both Nevada and California, isn’t only one of the most beautiful lakes in the United States, it’s also the country’s largest alpine lake. Lake Tahoe was formed nearly 2 million years ago and is well known for the clarity of its water. If you’ve never been to Lake Tahoe, it’s a destination that’s definitely worth checking out.
Lake Tahoe is the second deepest lake in the United States and the tenth deepest lake on earth. Tahoe is a freshwater alpine lake in the Sierra Nevada that straddles the state line between California and Nevada. It is as deep as 1,645 feet in some places. Close to 3 million people visit Lake Tahoe each year. They come to enjoy the hiking, kayaking, canoeing, skiing, camping, swimming, scuba diving and horseback riding available at the lake.
The “Most Beautiful Drive in America” is the name given to the scenic drive around Lake Tahoe. It’s a beautiful 72-mile journey around the lake that affords visitors the sites of several points of interest, as well as places to stop and enjoy the activities and the views. Visitors enjoy dining, shopping, and paddle-boating at Kings Beach Pier. They can also play their hands and test their luck at Crystal Bay Casinos. Sand Harbor is home to the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, and visitors love picnicking on the sandy beaches. Sailing cruises and horseback riding are among the favorite activities at Zephyr Cove.
Great Basin National Park
At just over 30 years old, Great Basin National Park is one of the youngest national parks in the United States. Established in 1986, the national park is located 290 miles north of Las Vegas and protects more than 77,000 acres of land in White Pine County in east-central Nevada, close to the border with Utah. It gets its name from the Great Basin—the mountainous region between the Sierra Nevada and the Wasatch Mountains. This area is known as Basin and Range Province.
Great Basin National Park is known for its groves of bristlecone pines. It’s home to the Lehman Caves, the Wheeler Park Glacier and more than 800 species of plants, as well as over 60 species of mammals. The park is full of sightseeing opportunities, gorgeous foliage and multiple hiking trails.
For information about the park, its amenities and accommodations, visit www.nps.gov/grba.