We've made four main stops in Nevada this year, one while exploring the Rhyolite area of Death Valley National Park in March, and three in May: Las Vegas, Valley of Fire State Park, and of course, park 20/59: Great Basin National Park. We've both been to Nevada to visit Vegas and Tahoe in the past, but it was while exploring outward of those popular areas more recently that we started to truly embrace the beauty of lesser-known Nevada. The 36th state has draws reaching far wider than what it is best known for and we wanted to share with you some of that. And of course we will include Vegas (it would be a crime not to), an ultimate road trip destination and one of our few stops in civilization this year.
Vegas! (It should always have an exclamation point.)
No trip to Nevada can ever be complete without a stop in Las Vegas! Vegas—belovedly known as Sin City—is America’s favorite desert metropolis where quickie weddings, gambling, glitz, glamour, iconic hotels, showbiz, and wild nights coalesce. Aside from the hoopla, Vegas has morphed into one of the most sophisticated cities in the country drawing tourists from all over America and the world to experience 5 star-everything while still offering the mid-century mystique of leather banquettes, tables and slots, showgirls, buffets, and over-the-top light shows that made The Strip and state famous. We traveled to Vegas from Great Basin on the Great Basin Highway, Highway 93, a route where local Nevadians and tourists can check in this year (tag #DiscoverNV16) on six designated road trip stops while exploring the great state of Nevada. This is definitely the year of the parks! It's cool to see how states are participating at a local level.
Valley of Fire State Park
Just outside of Las Vegas is Nevada's oldest and largest state park, the Valley of Fire. This prehistoric landscape was long ago underfoot of dinosaurs and today offers a sanctuary just outside of Vegas where nature buffs can experience a very unique and vibrantly textured sandstone landscape that is endlessly fascinating. We didn’t have a whole lot of time to spend there, and as it’s a beautiful place to both photograph and explore, it’s going on the “go-back-to” list that we are compiling this year as we find ourselves leaving enchanting places much too soon...
Great Basin National Park
There are many, many, many, many reasons to visit this park—to catch a glimpse of the world’s oldest living trees, to wander inside the subterranean environment beneath our planet's surface, to brave world-class hikes and climbs, to observe with the lens dramatic weather patterns creating even more dramatic skyscapes … Great Basin National Park is a lesser-visited national park and a place of extremes and of immense wilderness and solitude. We hope you'll enjoy our writeup on park #20, and that you'll have a visit for yourself.
Cheers and happy trails!