The Bristlecone Pine Tree Is The World's Oldest Living Species
The Bristlecone Pine can be found all over Nevada, in fact the largest population in the Intermountain West can be found in Mt. Charleston in Southern Nevada. With an uncanny ability to thrive in the harshest of environments, many are found in Great Basin National Park. In fact, the oldest Bristlecone ever documented was in Great Basin National Park at the mind-melting age of 4,900 years old.
Nevada's Portion of Highway 50 Is Considered To Be The Loneliest Road in America
After a Life Magazine writer encountered very few souls while traversing Nevada’s portion of Highway 50 in the '80s, he quickly dubbed this now famous stretch of land "The Loneliest Road in America." While you might not see a ton of other travelers when crossing Nevada on this legendary stretch, your trek will be far from lonely with quite the list of quirky Nevada stops along the way. You can even be a certified survivor!
Said to be the hottest place on earth, Death Valley National Park is certainly not for the faint of heart. Fascinating enough, it’s also home to Badwater Basin, which is the lowest, hottest, and driest part of the U.S. sitting at a whopping 282 feet below sea level. National Park enthusiasts can enter Death Valley National Park from Nevada just outside Beatty and check into the Furnace Creek Visitor's Center for all the information you'd ever need to make your visit a slam dunk.
Photo courtesy of Nick Pelletier
Lake Tahoe Is The Largest Alpine Lake In The U.S.
At 22 miles long and 12 miles wide Big Blue is the largest alpine lake in the United States. Its vastness is undoubtedly something worth writing home about, but if you’ve never had the luxury of visiting this world-class destination, you might not guess it’s also one of the clearest bodies of water in the world. With 70+ feet of clarity, you’ve gotta take a dip in Tahoe before you kick the bucket.
Burning Man Is The World's Largest Temporary City
With over 65,000 people in attendance to Burning Man in 2014, it officially makes this temporary city, Black Rock City, the largest temporary city in the world. This 1.5-mile diameter circle is comprised of theme camps, villages, art installations and individual camps and is so large that it even has it’s own police force, the Black Rock Rangers, and three medical stations. While the annual, weeklong festival is happening, it is Nevada’s 7th largest urban environment. Once the festival ends, the entire thing comes down with a serious ‘leave no trace’ mentality.
Photo courtesy of Dust To Ashes
Nevada Is The United States' Second Largest Turquoise Producer
While it’s no secret that boatloads of gold and silver is sourced from the Nevada countryside, you might not realize there’s something else in them thar hills. We’re talking about turquoise. So much of it in fact, that Nevada’s the nation’s number two turquoise producing state, with more than 120 mines to sink your pick into.
The Stratosphere Is The Country's Largest Free-Standing Observation Tower
As a distinctive silhouette in the Las Vegas skyline, the Stratosphere Casino Hotel and Tower offers one signature attraction: a visit to the top of the tallest freestanding observation tower in the U.S. Interestingly, it’s also the second tallest in the Western Hemisphere, the tallest building west of the Mississippi River and also the tallest structure in Las Vegas. Thrill-seeking visitors can enjoy the Big Shot, the world’s highest thrill ride, or opt for a more restorative experience by drinking in the unforgettable 360-degree views.
Photo courtesy Jay Abramson
Wild West saloons? No problem, we’ve got those too. True to Wild West Form, the first establishment in Nevada’s first, uh, establishment was what? You guessed it, a saloon. Nevada’s oldest saloon, or Thirst Parlor in fact. Built in 1853, the Genoa Bar and Saloon served up some suds to the famed Mark Twain, has been a movie set for John Wayne and Clint Eastwood and hosted several U.S Presidents. If that’s not enough to get you psyched, perhaps some mementos that line the bar walls will. When visiting, keep your eyes peeled for Raquel Welch’s bra and Willie Nelson’s hat.
Winnemucca Lake Is Home To The Oldest Rock Art On The Continent
Nevada is home to some pretty cool stuff, but this one takes it to a whole new level. Just a stones throw from Pyramid Lake is a dried lakebed known as Winnemucca Lake. Carved in Tufa, or freshwater coral, these rock carvings are estimated to be 14,800 years old…the oldest in North America. Although the meanings of the carvings are unknown, the carvings consist of variety of swirls and straight lines and range from 8 inches to 3 feet. In addition to being the oldest in the entire continent, the petroglyphs at Winnemucca Lake are deeper and larger than those typically found in the US, making them that much more special.
Photo courtesy Bob Forsyth at Nevada Rock Art
Some Of The Nation's Darkest Skies Can Be Savored in Nevada
Home to some of the last remaining dark skies in the US, Nevada skies are spectacular for stargazing. On a moonless, clear night, astronomy aficionados can take part in the holy grail of stargazing at Great Basin National Park in eastern Nevada. Why? The area is deliciously remote with essentially no light pollution to deter you. Here, visitors will be amazed by the thousands of stars, galaxies and planets visible to the naked eye. If you want to kick it up a notch, be sure to check out the Park’s free astronomy festival held each fall.
Photo courtesy Michael Wetzel, Great Nevada Picture Hunt
Nevada Is The Most Mountainous State In The Lower 48
Yes, Nevada is arid, but it’s definitely not flat. With over 300 individual mountain ranges spanning across the Silver State, this makes Nevada the most mountainous state in the continental U.S. Of those ranges, 42 are named summits over 11,000 feet and 172 have 2,000 feet of prominence. Best yet, of the 128 ultra-prominent peaks in the country, eight are in Nevada.
Nevada Is The Neon Capital Of The World...And It Ain't Just Vegas, Folks
One thing is for sure: Nevada has nailed neon. And, as the neon capital of the world, it’s not just Vegas with glimmering glamour to be enjoyed. Spanning out into small communities all across the Great Basin are tons of neon admiring opportunities that will knock your socks off. If you’ve got that neon bug and are up for an impressive surprise, grab your DSLR and get to Ely and Elko for some buzzworthy photo ops.
The Largest Concentration of Ichthyosaur Fossils Ever Discovered Is In Nevada
Spanning over an eye-opening 50 feet in length, Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park is home to the largest known concentration of ichthyosaur fossils. Rightfully earning its stripes in becoming the Nevada State Fossil, these intriguing marine reptiles once swam in a warm ocean that covered Nevada around 225 million years ago. Today, visitors can meander through the Fossil House at the park and get their fill prehistoric ribs and flippers of over 40 gargantuan ichthyosaur fossils.
The World's Tallest Concrete Arch Bridge Towers Over The Hoover Dam
The first concrete-steel arch composite bridge in the United States towers 880 feet over the equally impressive Hoover Dam in Boulder City. As the 1,905 foot-long manmade marvel saddles the Nevada/Arizona state line, it’s fitting that it’s named the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, honoring a hero from each state. With 30,000 cubic yards of concrete and 16 million pounds of steel, the massive engineered wonder is the first concrete-steel arch composite bridge in the US, and its twin-ribbed arch is the widest of its kind in the Western Hemisphere.
Some Of The Best Pictographs In The Nation Are At Toquima Cave
Visitors can feast their eyes on what are considered to be the best examples of pictographs in the nation at Toquima Cave outside Austin. Different than petroglyphs, prehistoric people painted drawings rather than etching them in this enchanting rock shelter between 3,000 and 1,500 years ago. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2002, visitors can view over 300 images of vibrant red, yellow, white and black drawings on the cave walls. One visit here, and you can see why this was, and still continues to be a culturally important and sacred site for the Western Shoshone.
Vegas Is Home To The World's Tallest Observation Wheel
Towering high over the famed Las Vegas Strip is the unmatched High Roller at the LINQ. As the world’s tallest ferris wheel, this beauty is an astonishing 550 feet tall and 520 feet in diameter. Illuminated by a multi-color, 2,000-LED system, each of the 28-passenger cabins can accommodate 40 people and is equipped with eight flat screens, an iPod dock and unmatched 360-degree views. Equally if not more as grand as a heli-ride over the Las Vegas Strip, this unforgettable ride takes the glimmering lights below to new heights.
The Highest Prehistoric Native American Hunting Ground In The Nation Is In Central Nevada
Looming 11,949 feet above sea level is the highest known permanent American Indian village in North America, and its tucked away in central Nevada about an hour north of Tonopah. Known as the Alta-Toquima Wilderness, the Western Shoshone occupied this range 7,000 years ago, living off the lush vegetation, streams and big game like the desert bighorn sheep. Interestingly, the largest known population of these creatures is also found at Alta-Toquima and are so successfully thriving that biologists have placed pairs in different regions of the world, hoping to adapt them to similar high altitude areas. Thousands of arrowheads, spear points and grinding stones, among other artifacts were excavated from the area. When hiking Mt. Jefferson, Nevada’s 4th tallest summit, take note of the prehistoric hunting blinds that can still be seen on the mesa.
The Oldest And Largest Bottle House in The Country Is In Rhyolite
Rhyolite is a photographer’s paradise with more than enough interest to keep you hooked. What you might not know is that one specific ruin in this amazing Nevada ghost town is special: here lies the oldest and largest bottle house in existence. Yep, a house that’s made entirely of bottles…soda, medicine, beer and whiskey bottles to be exact. Built in 1906 after lumber was few and far between, Tom Kelly miraculously [and quite resourcefully] constructed a residence. It took six months to complete, was resided in full time, and then renovated by Paramount Pictures as a movie set in 1925. Today, it’s the only one of its caliber and is in the heart of one of our favorites.
Nevada Is Home To The Most Hot Springs in U.S.
With more than 300 naturally occurring hot springs peppered throughout the state, Nevada has more hot springs than any other state in the country. Come to terms with the true definition of adventure at Ruby Valley, kick back and enjoy a face-melting sunset at Spencer, or redefine heaven at Paradise Valley. If you aren’t interested in becoming one with nature, Nevada also has a bevy of hot springs resorts for you to indulge in, like Steamboat Hot Springs, or David Walley’s Hot Springs Resort & Spa.
In Nevada, There Are More Ghost Towns Than Actual Populated Towns
Yep, you read that correctly...and how cool is that?! There are close to 100 towns in Nevada with an actual zip code, and 668 Nevada ghost towns in the record books. So, that officially means that there are more mining camps of yesteryear dotting the hillsides than actual populated communities. If that’s not a reason to grab the gazetteer, drop the top down and head for the hills, we don't know what is.