Even though Las Vegas is pretty darn amazing, Nevada has a ton lot more to offer, especially for those keen to explore the wonderful natural landscapes the state is home to!
Ranging from snow-capped mountains to expansive deserts, verdant valleys, and sweeping canyons views, the landscape in Nevada is as diverse as it can get.
Whether you’re feeling in the mood to put your hiking skills to the test in the desert or spending a day lounging by the beach in the middle of the mountains, Nevada guarantees an amazing experience no matter the adventure you’re after.
If you’re searching for inspiration to plan your next Nevada road trip, here’s the ultimate Nevada bucket list every nature lover needs to complete!
The Ultimate Nevada Bucket List for Nature Lovers
Located only 35 miles northwest of Las Vegas, Spring Mountains National Recreational Area is not only one of Nevada’s best nature destinations, but it’s also a wonderful place to easily escape the ritz of the Sin City.
Boasting 60 miles worth of trails, hiking is the ultimate activity to do here, with gorgeous views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Death Valley, and Las Vegas featured on many of its trails. Wildlife viewing is also huge here, with species like bighorn sheep, bobcats, and wild horses being just a few of the regular sights.
Come winter, activities in the snow become the stars of the show, with sledding, snowshoeing, winter wildlife watching being a few of the activities on offer. Moreover, you can also do some skiing and snowboarding at Lee Canyon!
If you want to explore nature but can’t necessarily leave Vegas, this gorgeous botanical garden is a fabulous choice.
Located inside a chocolate factory (yep, you read that right!), Ethel M Botanical Gardens is a perfect escape from the city without actually having to leave at all. Not only will you find over 300 species of cacti and succulents during your visit, but you’ll also get to walk amid the largest cactus garden in the Southwest!
Located in the alluring Mojave Desert, Valley of Fire State Park boasts 46,000 acres of red Aztec sandstone that glows into swirling hues of reds, oranges, and pinks when sunlight hits, making the entire landscape look as though it’s on fire!
Hiking at Valley of Fire is a truly unique experience, especially if you’ve never been hiking in the desert. The White Dome Trail is perfect to get to know the park, with various lookout points providing views of slot canyons, strange rock formations, and caves.
If you love history, other recommended hikes include the Mouse Tank and the Atlatl Rock trails, both of which are lined by ancient petroglyphs.
Located on the eastern border near Utah, Great Basin National Park is one of the most naturally diverse destinations in the state, with lakes and streams, limestone caverns, ancient bristlecone forests, and abundant wildlife being just a few of the things on the menu.
With over 60 miles of trails available, hiking is a great way to get to know the park’s varied scenery up close. Rock climbing is also king here, and if you’re up for a challenge, there’s nothing quite like braving the 13,000 feet ascent to Wheeler Peak.
Moreover, thanks to the park’s remote location, Great Basin National Park is one of the darkest places in the entire United States, making camping and stargazing here an experience that feels almost out of this world.
Straddling Nevada and California, Death Valley National Park may sound like anything but a nature destination, but it’s actually one of the liveliest places in entire Nevada!
Home to mountains pained in every color of the rainbow, miles of pristine sand dunes, canyons, and wildlife you wouldn’t expect to find in the desert, this gem of a park is a haven when it comes to striking landscapes.
Aside from its wonderful nature, Death Valley is also home to tons of historical gems, including Hell’s Gate, Coffin Peak, Funeral Mountain, and Starvation Canyon, all of which have been witnesses of the history of the region and the people who have called it their home.
Moreover, the park is also sprinkled with ghost towns and abandoned borax mines, which makes a visit here perfect to get a dose of history and nature in one go!
Boasting shimmering waters that range from emerald greens to kool-aid blues and white sandy shores, you could easily confuse the beaches at Lake Tahoe for a Caribbean Island if it weren’t for the looming snow-capped peaks that backdrop the lake!
As an alpine lake, Lake Tahoe is the perfect destination to experience Nevada’s mountainous side. During the hotter months, the lake becomes a mecca for hiking, sunbathing, boating, canoeing, and more fun in the sun activities.
Come winter, the surrounding mountains put on quite a show with snowboarding, skiing, and various winter sports on offer! See our complete guide to Lake Tahoe in Winter here!
We hope this list of the best destinations in Nevada for nature lovers inspired you to plan your next getaway. Even though there are plenty of more places worth checking out, these ones, in particular, stand high above the crowds!
More Tips For Road Tripping Nevada & the Southwest
- Think you can visit all 15 of Nevada’s State Parks? Pick up a Nevada Passport and take on the Passport Challenge to win yourself an annual pass.
- If you want to extend your trip onwards through the southwest, check out our 7-day Southwest itinerary.
- Summer’s in the desert can be brutally hot. Always set out with plenty of water and observe our desert driving tips.
- Never forget a road trip essential again with our downloadable family road trip checklist.
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