10 Things To Do in Nevada Besides Las Vegas
We have all heard of Las Vegas, but Mike East discovers that there are plenty of other pace to visit and things to do in Nevada besides Las Vegas and its gaming halls.
Eldorado Canyon and Techatticup Mine
If you start in Las Vegas and drive south for 45 minutes you will arrive at this picturesque stop, which is a combination of natural beauty, historical tour and a chance to take some interesting photos. You can canoe and kayak on the Colorado River – though check beforehand as you have to get the canoe or kayak from the hire shop to the water yourself –, or go hiking and mountain biking.
Techatticup is a 19th century gold mine and the tour lasts just over an hour. Dotted around are historical cars and buildings that make interesting photographs, though there is a charge for this in some places.
In the east, on Route 50 and once part of the Pony Express, is the small town of Ely that will bring out the inner train spotter within at its Nevada Northern Railway Museum. Nearby Steptoe Park offers hiking opportunities, especially to the old charcoal ovens once used to extract silver from the ore brought out of the local mines. There are restored historical houses in the Renaissance Village, though don’t expect to bump into Michelangelo.
The Lehman Caves are an hour away and offer 60- or 90-minute tours of the underground caverns. They are within the Great Basin National Park, which has a fierce winter, yet some great landscapes to explore.
On the border between Nevada and California, Lake Tahoe is the largest body of freshwater in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. In the winter the area is a huge draw for its ski resorts and in the summer, the 71 miles of shoreline are popular for the beaches and the water sports that take place on the lake itself. There are numerous opportunities for hiking and camping in the area and, because it is a popular destination, many hotels and restaurants to choose from.
This is one for bikers and hikers. And is a spectacular trail through some incredible views of the Ruby Mountains. The beginning is at Elko and from here you will reach Spring Creek and Lamoille. It is best to bring your food and supplies with you as you are very much in the great outdoors here.
The Loneliest Road in America
Though Route 50 stretches from the Atlantic to Sacramento, the 287 miles of desert in Nevada gained it the moniker of the Loneliest Road in America in Life magazine in 1986. If you have seen the type of film where a group of disparate people fight off the end of the world in some grim gas station diner with a beautiful waitress then it may have been shot here.
You will certainly get peace and quiet along with views of the desert and the occasional ghost town. Four things that are worth taking a break for include signs that indicate a chance to bathe in a hot spring, the Great Basin National Park and its great hikes and views, the Hickson Petroglyph, which is a 10,000 year-old rock carving and the Shoe Tree of Middlegate that is exactly as you would imagine it to be.
The legend of Route 50 has grown, so it now comes with its own Survival Guide that you can get in advance by ordering it here. By the way, fill up the tank before you start off.
Located near Reno, Nevada, Pyramid Lake gets its name from the pyramid-shaped rock rising from the deep blue waters, which is also home to a protected colony of white pelicans.
In the 19th century the Paiute tribe defended the area from settlers and two battles were fought here. In the first the Paiute destroyed an undisciplined militia sent against them by trapping them in a canyon. In the second a larger military force clashed with the Paiute and a ceasefire between the two sides was established. There is more on this at the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Museum, see here.
The Reno Riverwalk
The Riverwalk district in downtown Reno has a comprehensive website that details a range of activities for visitors to the city. It can be found here. There’s a wine walk along the Truckee River and through the streets of central Reno, for example.
There are a range of different cuisines available in the immediate area and other attractive walks including some that are interactive. How about the Zombie Scavengers Game to prepare you for the coming apocalypse? The city itself is known for its casinos and calls itself ‘the biggest little city in the world’.
Each August to September, Nevada is home to one of the most alternative festivals in the world – Burning Man.
Tonopah Brewing Company
The tiny town of Tonopah has a population of less than 3,000; indeed some would call it a village. It sits halfway between Las Vegas and Reno and its brewery is perhaps its best known attraction with nine beers on the menu and a range of barbecued food to eat with it. Located on Main Street, it shouldn’t be too hard to find.
Alternative try these four great trails to hike in Nevada.
The Valley of Fire
This is so-named due to the reddish hues of the sandstone terrain of this state park. The terrain is arid, but this also makes the views more spectacular. If you start at the Visitor’s Centre you will get an idea of the range of possibilities including the different landmarks, with great names like The Fire Wave and Mouse’s Tank, and you’ll discover where to find the three thousand-year-old petroglyphs of the Anasazi people. The park is particularly attractive to hikers, picnickers and campers. The website can be found here.
Built during a mining boom in the mid-19th century, this ‘city’ has less than a thousand people living here, but it has recreated the feel of the old wild west, through its well-preserved buildings (including an opera house), museums and the characters that stroll about in historical costumes. If you are here in October you can catch the World Championship Outhouse Races, though there are many events and parades throughout the year.
Feeling thirsty? You can drink in a restored saloon and Virginia City has its own brew called Cemetery Gin which boasts that it is “guaranteed to embalm you while you’re still breathing”. Sounds like any plans you had to leave Nevada were premature.
Flights to Las Vegas
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Hotels in Nevada
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Further things to do in Nevada
For more information on Nevada, visit: www.travelnevada.com
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