Nevada is a home to some of the country’s driest, wildest and most beautiful parks. Visit the world-renowned Valley of Fire State Park with its bright red Aztec sandstone outcrops petrified trees and petroglyphs dating back more than 2,000 years. Head into the stark arid landscapes of the Death Valley National Park and experience a land of extremes. Or enjoy a wealth of water-based activities in the crystal-clear waters of Lake Tahoe.
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Located in an uninhabited, hilly region in the far east next to the Dixie National Forest in Utah, Beaver Dam is the most remote state park in Nevada. The preserve covers four miles of the deep, wooded canyon of Beaver Dam Wash, which features extensive outcrops of volcanic rocks, small waterfalls and warm springs, and the remains of a pioneer settlement, Hamblin Ranch. It also covers the lower end of the cliffy tributary of Pine Park Canyon and offers an array of outdoor recreational activities such as hiking, fishing for rainbow trout, camping, picnicking, and wildlife watching. The park is a designated Watchable Wildlife Area and is home to porcupines, coyotes, bobcats, jackrabbits, mule deer, and the occasional mountain lion.
Panaca, NV 89042, Phone: 775-728-4460
Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park is a state park and public recreation area that was established to protect and preserve undisturbed ichthyosaur fossils and the historic ghost town of Berlin in northwestern Nye County. Resting on the slopes the Shoshone mountain range in central Nevada at an elevation of 7,000 feet and covering more than 1,100 acres, the park is home to the true Nevada ghost town of Berlin, a town built in the 1890s that is preserved in a state of arrested decay. The park is also home to an abundant concentration of fossils from Ichthyosaurs, an ancient marine reptile that once swam in the ocean that used to cover what is now central Nevada. Activities in the park include hiking, picnicking, camping, and guided tours of the fossil sites and the ghost town.
State route 844, Austin, NV 89310, Phone: 775-964-2440
3.Big Bend of the Colorado
Situated on the shores of the Colorado River in southern Clark County, Big Bend of the Colorado is a state park and public recreation area that offers miles of sandy shoreline and clear waters for swimming, sunbathing, fishing, camping, and other outdoor activities. Located within the city of limits of Laughlin in the Lower Colorado River Valley, the family-friendly park is downstream from Davis Dam, providing water that is cool and clear year-round and home to a wealth of waterfowl and shorebirds such as coots, mallards, herons, and geese. The nearby town of Laughlin offers the amenities of a Nevada gaming town, such as hotels, restaurants, bars, and nightlife.
4220 Needles Hwy, Laughlin, NV 89209, Phone: 702-298-1859
4.Cathedral Gorge State Park
Covering more than 1,600 acres in a long, narrow valley in Lincoln County, Cathedral Gorge State Park features dramatic landscapes of eroded soft bentonite clay where erosion has carved dramatic and unique patterns. The state park and public recreation area is a renowned geologic preserve with cave-like formations and cathedral-like spires that date back tens of millions of years and is a photographer’s dream. Located one mile north of the town of Panaca, Cathedral Gorge State Park offers a variety of activities, including hiking, picnicking, camping, and nature study.
111, Cathedral Gorge State Park Road, Panaca, NV 89042, Phone: 775-728-4460
5.Cave Lake State Park
Cave Lake State Park is a 4,000-acre state park and public recreation area next to the Humboldt National Forest in the Schell Creek Range. Located five miles southeast of Ely at an elevation of 7,300 feet, Cave Lake is home to a 32-acre reservoir which offers boating, fishing, swimming, craw-dadding, hiking, picnicking and camping. Open year-round, the park’s facilities campgrounds, picnic areas, hiking trails, and a boat launch, and it boasts outstanding scenic views and spectacular natural scenery for nature study and photography. Winter sports include cross-country skiing, ice fishing, and ice, and snow sculpting is growing in popularity.
US Highway 93-Success Summit, Ely, NV 89301, Phone: Phone: 775-728-4460
6.Dayton State Park
Located at the foot of the Virginia Range, on the banks of the Carson River, the Dayton State Park is a 152-acre state park and public recreation area in the town of Dayton, 12 miles east of Carson City that offers a variety of recreational activities and outdoor pursuits. The park is divided into two sections by the U.S. Route 50, namely the Lower and Upper sections, each with their character and features. The Lower part offers excellent walking and hiking trails along the banks of the ever-changing Carson River, dense woodlands that teem with birds and wildlife, a campground, and group picnic areas. The Upper section is home to the site and the remains of the Rock Point Stamp Mill, a remnant of Dayton’s mining glory days, which was built in 1861 to process silver ore mined from the Comstock Lode in Silver City and Virginia City.
US-50, Dayton, NV 89403, Phone: 775-687-5678
7.Death Valley National Park
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Straddling the border between eastern California and Nevada, Death Valley National Park is a land of extremes. Set in a below-sea-level basin, Death Valley experiences extreme heat and steady drought in the summer and snow and rare rainstorms in the winter, creating a vast diversity of fauna and flora in one of the harshest landscapes in the world. Established as a national monument in 1933 and as a national park in 1994, Death Valley National Park is the most significant U.S. National Park outside Alaska, spanning 3.4 million acres with more than 1000 miles of paved and dirt roads. The Park is made up of a variety of landscapes, ranging from low valley floors crusted with barren salt flats, deep and winding canyons, spring-fed oases that teem with wildlife, rolling dunes, and high, rugged, snow-capped mountains. Famous attractions in the Park include Titus Canyon, Badwater Basin’s salt flats, Telescope Peak Trail, the Devil’s Golf Course, and the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes.
Death Valley, CA 92328, Phone: 760-786-3200
Echo Canyon State Park is a 65-acre reservoir and state park that showcases the beauty of Eastern Nevada with an array of year-round recreational opportunities and great outdoor activities to enjoy. Home to a variety of waterfowl, including mallards, teals and herons, the reservoir is also filled with rainbow trout, crappie, largemouth bass, and German brown trout and offers excellent fishing. Other activities in the park include camping, boating, swimming, picnicking and hiking the 2.5-mile Ash Canyon trail, which leads into the park’s backcountry.
Pioche, NV 89043, Phone: 775-962-5103
9.Fort Churchill State Historic Park
Fort Churchill State Historic Park is a state park that protects and preserves the remains of a 1860s United States Army fort, as well as an old waystation that was located on the famous Pony Express and Central Overland Routes. Located south of Silver Springs town in Lyon County, Fort Churchill State Historic Park has a visitor’s center with informative exhibits on the history of Fort Churchill, and the Native Americans that inhabited the area. Facilities in the park include a 20-site campground on the banks of the Carson River, group-camp and day-use picnic areas, hiking trails, and a self-guided trail with interpretative signs around the fort ruins.
10000 US-95 ALT, Silver Springs, NV 89429, Phone: 775-577-2345
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10.Gold Butte National Monument
Spanning nearly 300,000 acres into the enchanting Mojave Desert, Gold Butte National Monument is a national monument located in Clark County that encompasses striking and rugged landscapes in an extremely remote section of southeastern Nevada. Situated south of Mesquite and Bunkerville, the monument and park is home to a wealth of breathtakingly beautiful and striking terrain made up of twisting canyons of dramatically chiseled red sandstone, other-worldly rock formations, and tree-clad mountains. The area is world-renowned for beautiful rock art and thousands of petroglyphs dating back over 12,000 years and traces back to the Moapa Band of Paiute Indians and the Las Vegas Paiute Tribes who inhabited the region. Visitors to the monument can also explore the Gold Butte Backcountry Byway and the mining ghost towns or tour the area’s peaks and canyons on horseback.
Gold Butte, NV 89007, Phone: 702-883-7777
11.Great Basin National Park
The Great Basin National Park is a national park in White Pine County near the Utah border in eastern Nevada which is renowned for its groves of ancient bristlecone pines, which are the world’s oldest known nonclonal organisms. Established in 1986, the park is named after the dry and mountainous region between the Sierra Nevada and the Wasatch Mountains known as the Great Basin, and features the Lehman Caves, which are found at the base of 13,063-foot Wheeler Peak, and the Wheeler Peak Glacier. The Great Basin National Park lies next to the Highland Ridge Wilderness, and these two protected areas make up 227.8-square-mile contiguous wildlife habitat and protection.
Nevada, Phone: 775-234-7331
Kershaw–Ryan State Park is a 265-acre state park and public recreation area at the northern end of Rainbow Canyon, which was once a homesteaded area in the late 1800s. Located two miles south of the town of Caliente, Kershaw-Ryan State Park is an oasis in the desert, set in a colorful canyon with towering 700-foot walls and a long, verdant valley with natural springs that feed a variety of vegetation including fruit trees, willows, white oaks, and wild grapevines. Wildlife abounds ranging from wild horses and deer to many species of birds, and activities in the park include hiking, picnicking, camping and nature study. Hikers can enjoy the 1.5-mile Canyon Overlook Trail and slightly shorter Rattlesnake Loop.
300 Kershaw Canyon Road, Caliente, NV 89008, Phone: 775-726-3564
13.Lahontan State Park
The Lahontan State Recreation Area is a state park and public recreation area surrounding the ancient Lake Lahontan, an impoundment of the Carson River. Located 18 miles west of Fallon, the 17-mile reservoir has 69 miles of shoreline and 10,000 acres of water at full capacity and is surrounded by the park which features a range of vegetation from cottonwoods and willow trees to desert sagebrush. Activities in the park include boating, fishing, camping, and hiking, along with horseback riding, waterskiing, and canoeing from Fort Churchill. The park is home to a wealth of wildlife and birds, including deer, bobcat, foxes, and wild horses, and is a nesting site for bald eagles.
16799 Lahontan Dam Road, Fallon, NV 89406, Phone: 775-577-2226
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Located on the Humboldt River 22 miles northeast of the town of Lovelock, the Rye Patch State Recreation Area is a park surrounding the 22-mile long Rye Patch Reservoir which features 72 miles of shoreline and 11,000 acres of water surface. Providing water for the agricultural area surrounding Lovelock, the reservoir is a popular location for a variety of watersports, such as kayaking, canoeing, boating, swimming, waterskiing, and fishing for black bass, catfish, white bass, and walleye. Other activities include camping, picnicking, off-road driving, gold prospecting, and exploring ghost towns and the park is home to a diverse variety of waterfowl and wildlife from fox and deer to eagles and owls.
2505 Rye Patch Reservoir Road, Lovelock, NV 89419, Phone: 775-538-7321
15.Sand Harbor - Lake Tahoe
Renowned for its spectacular natural beauty, Lake Tahoe is considered the jewel of the High Sierra. Famous for its cobalt-blue water and surrounding snowcapped peaks, Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America and draws visitors from around the world to explore and experience the region’s magnificent landscapes. The largest alpine lake in North America, Lake Tahoe boasts gently sloping beaches, crystal-clear water, and interesting rock formations and provides a wealth of activities from swimming, kayaking, and scuba diving at Sand Harbor to boating, fishing, and water-skiing. The crystal clear waters of the lake are ideal for water-based activities in the summer, such as kayaking, canoeing, swimming or boating, and the surrounding state parks, national forests, and protected tracts of wilderness boast a plethora of hiking trails, cycling tracks and picnic areas to enjoy. The winter months bring snow-covered slopes that cater for all levels of skier and cozy lakeside restaurants with crackling fireplaces boast beautiful winterscape views.
Incline Village, NV 89452, Phone: 775-831-0494
16.South Fork State Recreation Area
South Fork State Recreation Area is a state park and public recreation area that includes the 1,650-acre South Fork Reservoir and surrounding wetlands, rolling hills and flourishing meadowlands. Spanning nearly 4,000 acres, the state park is located five miles south of Elko and boasts a wealth of northeastern Nevada wildlife. Activities in the park include boating, swimming, seasonal hunting, and fishing for the abundance of catfish, bass, and trout, which call the reservoir home. There is primitive and developed camping with a 25-site campground featuring campsite tables, grills and a restroom with showers, along with a boat ramp, parking area near the dam.
353 Lower South Fork #8, Spring Creek, NV 89815, Phone: 775-744-4346
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17.Spooner Lake & Backcountry
Nestled in the Lake Tahoe Basin, Spooner Lake & Backcountry is a beautiful recreational area and natural oasis in the Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park, boasting over 12,000 acres of forested, open space and an aspen-lined lake. Located 12 miles east of South Lake Tahoe, Spooner Lake and the surrounding park features miles of hiking, equestrian and mountain biking trails, and rough roads for four-wheel driving with popular trails including Red House, Flume, the Marlette, and Tahoe Rim Trails. Other activities include camping with overnight cabins, nature study and wildlife watching.
Incline Village, NV 89452, Phone: 775-831-0494
18.Spring Mountain Ranch State Park
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Located within the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area in Nevada's Cottonwood Valley, Spring Mountain Ranch State Park is a state park and public recreation area with several excellent hiking trails and lovely picnic spots. Situated next to the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, five miles northwest of Blue Diamond, the sprawling Spring Mountain Ranch State Park lies beneath the spectacularly colorful cliffs of the historically significant Wilson Ranch, once home to millionaire Howard Hughes and German actress Vera Krupp. Visitors to the park can explore some of the antiquated buildings, which include a 1860s blacksmith shop, the Sandstone Cabin, and enjoy lunch at tree-shaded picnic sites with tables and grills.
6375 NV-159, Blue Diamond, NV 89004, Phone: 702-875-4141
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19.Spring Valley State Park
Spring Valley State Park is a state park and public recreation area next to the 65-acre Eagle Valley Reservoir in eastern Nevada. Located 20 miles east of the town of Pioche, the park is home to unique volcanic tuff and sediment which give the surrounding landscapes a spectacular light-gray, pink and white backdrop. Visitors can enjoy a range of outdoor activities including swimming, boating, fishing and camping, and several historic ranches dating back to the late 1800s can be explored. The Eagle Valley Reservoir is stocked rainbow, tiger and German brown trout and is home to a diverse variety of waterfowl and shorebirds, including avocets, herons, and trumpeter swans.
Pioche, NV 89043, Phone: 775-962-5102
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20.Valley of Fire
The world-renowned Valley of Fire State Park is a 40,000-acre state park and nature preservation area that features bright red Aztec sandstone outcrops surrounded by striking grey and tan limestone, ancient, petrified trees and petroglyphs dating back more than 2,000 years. Named for the magnificent red sandstone formations which formed from shifting dunes 150 million years ago, the park is Nevada's oldest state park and a National Natural Landmark. A modern Visitor Center showcases informative exhibits on the ecology, geology, and history of the park, and there are numerous campsites equipped with shaded tables, grills and water, and plenty of hiking trails in the park. The Valley of Fire State Park is open year-round.
Overton, NV 89040, Phone: 702-397-2088
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21.Van Sickle Bi-State Park
Straddling the border of California and Nevada, the Van Sickle Bi-State Park is a state park and public recreation area that was established to preserve the memory of Henry Van Sickle, who played a role in the founding on the area. Overlooking Lake Tahoe, the state park encompasses 575 acres on the Nevada side and 150 acres in California and features several excellent trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Notable features in the park include the Heavenly Ski Resort gondola, the historic 1917-era Van Sickle farm barn, and the popular Tahoe Rim hiking trail.
Incline Village, NV 89452, Phone: 775-831-0494
The Walker River State Recreation Area was established to restore and maintain Walker Lake and the vital agricultural and watershed areas along the Walker River. Stretching for 29 miles along the banks of the scenic East Walker River, the park features four important properties, namely the Pitchfork Ranch, the Flying M Ranch, the Rafter 7 Ranch, and the Nine Mile Ranch. Activities in the park include boating, fishing, camping, and hiking, along with horseback riding, waterskiing, and canoeing. The park is home to a wealth of wildlife, waterfowl, and shorebirds, including mallards, teals, and herons.
211 East Walker Road, Yerington, NV 89447, Phone: 775-463-1609
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23.Ward Charcoal Ovens
Located 20 miles south of the town of Ely in White Pine County, the 700-acre Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park is public recreation and historical preserve established to protect the historically significant beehive-shaped charcoal ovens associated with the silver mining town of Ward, which is now a ghost town. Constructed in the latter half of the 19th century, the charcoal ovens were built by itinerant Italian masons known as carbonari and were used for preparing charcoal for the silver smelters at Ward. Today, six large ovens measuring 30 feet in height and 27 feet in diameter with two-foot-thick walls remain in excellent repair for visitors to explore. Activities in the park include camping, picnicking, and hiking, and mountain biking trails.
Ely, NV 89315, Phone: 775-289-1693
24.Washoe Lake State Park
Nestled in a scenic valley between Carson City and Reno on 3,775 acres of land, Washoe Lake State Park is a public recreation area that offers breathtaking views of the rugged and majestic Carson, Sierra Nevada, and Virginia mountain ranges and an array of outdoor recreational pursuits. The state park offers excellent hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, camping, picnicking, and a variety of watersports, as well as bird-watching and wildlife viewing. The Washoe Lake State Park is home to a diverse range of birds and waterfowl, such as Canadian geese and American white pelicans, a lake stocked with bullhead catfish, Sacramento Perch, channel catfish, and white bass.
4855 Eastlake Blvd, New Washoe City, NV 89704, Phone: 775-687-4319
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25.Wild Horse Reservoir State Recreation Area
Located 67 miles north of Elko, the Wild Horse State Recreation Area is a state park and public recreation area on the northeast shore of Wild Horse Reservoir. Established in 1937, the 120-acre park offers a wide variety of outdoor recreational activities from fishing and boating on the dam which was created in 1969 to camping, hiking, picnicking in the summer months and sledding, ice skating, snowmobiling, and skiing in the winter. The dam is stocked with rainbow and German brown trout, yellow perch, smallmouth bass, and catfish and attracts anglers year-round, while spectacular wildflowers blanket the park in the spring making for perfect picnicking and hiking the beautiful landscapes. The park is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including elk, mule deer, and pronghorn, along with a variety of waterfowl and upland game birds.
Elko, NV 89801, Phone: 775-385-5939
25 Best Nevada State & National Parks
- Beaver Dam, Photo: Ronnie Howard/stock.adobe.com
- Berlin-Ichthyosaur, Photo: Jimbo/stock.adobe.com
- Big Bend of the Colorado, Photo: zilvergolf/stock.adobe.com
- Cathedral Gorge State Park, Photo: tiva48/stock.adobe.com
- Cave Lake State Park, Photo: paulbriden/stock.adobe.com
- Dayton State Park, Photo: nd3000/stock.adobe.com
- Death Valley National Park, Photo: Zack Frank/stock.adobe.com
- Echo Canyon, Photo: paulbriden/stock.adobe.com
- Fort Churchill State Historic Park, Photo: neillockhart/stock.adobe.com
- Gold Butte National Monument, Photo: Charles/stock.adobe.com
- Great Basin National Park, Photo: trekandphoto/stock.adobe.com
- Kershaw Ryan, Photo: ivanko80/stock.adobe.com
- Lahontan State Park, Photo: neillockhart/stock.adobe.com
- Rye Patch, Photo: Jason Brawdy/stock.adobe.com
- Sand Harbor - Lake Tahoe, Photo: rmbarricarte/stock.adobe.com
- South Fork State Recreation Area, Photo: kichigin19/stock.adobe.com
- Spooner Lake & Backcountry, Photo: Dominic/stock.adobe.com
- Spring Mountain Ranch State Park, Photo: Zack Frank/stock.adobe.com
- Spring Valley State Park, Photo: bernardbodo/stock.adobe.com
- Valley of Fire, Photo: ellensmile/stock.adobe.com
- Van Sickle Bi-State Park, Photo: Andrei/stock.adobe.com
- Walker River, Photo: Q/stock.adobe.com
- Ward Charcoal Ovens, Photo: paulbriden/stock.adobe.com
- Washoe Lake State Park, Photo: neillockhart/stock.adobe.com
- Wild Horse Reservoir State Recreation Area, Photo: leekris/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: Dominic/stock.adobe.com