Nevada has 4 national park administered sites across this diverse state as well as 3 national trails that pass through the state. The National Parks cover a diverse biosphere of area from high alpine to hot low desert, to fossil beds and lakes. Some of the trails explore the diverse history of the area from pioneers and more.
National Parks in Nevada
National Parks are the crown jewel of the National Park Service’s charge. There are 63 major national parks that make up this list of venerable sites. Nevada has two of the 63 National Parks within it’s state’s borders.
Death Valley National Park
Containing the lowest point in the Americas, Death Valley National Park is one of the most unique and inhospitable places in the world. Known for its harsh environments and high temperatures, places like bad water basin feel like life could not exist. However Death Valley has a unique biology with creatures that only live in it’s harsh environment and incredibly beautiful wildflowers that bloom after spring and winter rains. Some are even mysteries like the boulders that seem to move on their own leaving beautiful desert trails in their paths. [ CA NV ]
Great Basin National Park
One of the most interesting and remote of the National Parks in the lower 48 states, Great Basin protects an incredible diverse set of nature and history. The Lehman Caves are one of the most beautiful caves in the US and are among over 40 within the park. Visitors can explore mountains, valleys, the elder bristlecone pines, endemic species, as well as the only glacier in Nevada. The park includes high alpine areas, a world away from what most expect in Nevada.
Other National Park Units
There are two other national park administered sites within Nevada. These include a National Recreation Area as well as a beautiful national monument.
Lake Mead National Recreation Area
With its strikingly beautiful waters, Lake Meade NRA covers over 1.5 million acres of incredible land to explore and enjoy. The NRA was established in 1936 and was actually the first designated national recreation area. Explore the Hoover Dam, the waters of the lakes, or trails along the lake side as well. There’s really quite a lot to do here. Just be careful too as the waters and area are an important source of water for many states. [ AZ NV ]
Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument
Located in Southern Nevada (just north of Las Vegas), Tule Springs Fossil Beds NM protects an incredible fossil bed in the United States. Located here include, incredible mammal fossils from Mammoths, to ancient camelids, sloths, and lions. Excavation of the quarry and areas started in the 1930s, however, it did not become a National Monument until 2014. This protects the area for future generations as well. The nearly 23,000 area land allows visitors to learn about the fossils, history, as well as hike many trails in the area.
National Trails are trails that often span across states for various geological or historical nature. Three of these trails transit through Nevada. These trails are national park service administered (with cancellation stamps) but are so diverse and connect across various parks and other sites that its not necessarily just one spot to visit. Some of the other National Park Sites are along the trails as well.
California National Historic Trail
California National Historic Trail covers over 5,000 miles of trail (over several branches) and traces the historic emigrants who traveled across the west in search of rich farmland and gold. The trail itself hits portions of 10 different states across the west. Among sites to see in Nevada include, Pilot Peak, Willow Creek, Carlin Canyon, Haystack Butte, and many more. [ CA CO ID KS MO NE NV OR UT WY ]
Old Spanish National Historic Trail
Explore the old historic trail that took people and goods from Santa Fe New Mexico and Los Angeles California. The trail spanned over 2,700 miles and ran through 6 states. The Old Spanish Trail National Historic Trail protects this trail which was one of the most arduous trade routes for travelers over the years.
The Trail cuts through Southern Nevada and travels through places such as Las Vegas, Mesquite, and Lake Meade. [ AZ CA CO NV NM UT ]
Pony Express National Historic Trail
One of the most ingenious ideas in America, the Pony Express brought mail from Missouri to California (over 1,800 mile) in 10 days! Young men would ride and drop mail bags for other men to take and continue on the journey on. The service itself only lasted about 18 months, but the legend still enthralls Americans to this day.
The trail cuts through the center of Nevada with places of interest such as Schell Creek Station, Diamond Springs, Egan Canyon, Cold Springs Pony Express Station, and more. [ CA CO KS MO NE NV UT WY ]
Check out Nearby States National Park Sites