Known worldwide for its sparkly city of Las Vegas, Nevada is one heck of a state to visit. That being said, a trip to Nevada doesn’t need to be all about the slots. In fact, there’s a heap of gorgeous places, events like Burning Man and natural spots to explore all across the state; which are easy to see whilst joining some of the best hikes in Nevada.
Totally unique, the state has a load of different landscapes that’s so diverse and totally beautiful. It’s so surprising that there’s so much diversity across one state; I suppose that’s the beauty of the US states really; they’re usually big enough to be quite different depending on which part you visit.
From amazing peaks, vast national parks and desert regions, there are so many best hikes in Nevada that you can easily join on your trip around the state. Though, as with any hike, responsibility is key in Nevada. You see, temperatures can be inhospitably extreme; From baking hot to freezing cold terrains, it’s a state you need to prepare (extremely well) for any outdoor adventure.
In fact, the first time I went to Death Valley (on, and over, the border with California), I was actually turned away due to unpreparedness. That’s how important it is to hike responsibly in Nevada. Be cautious, sensible and always plan ahead.
Anyway, enough rambling, take a look at some of the best hikes in Nevada to experience across the state. Some are easy rambles, whilst others are for the expert hikers amongst us. Whatever the case, find one that suits you and have an epic time!
1.) Turtlehead Peak, Red Rock Canyon
Located in the Red Rock Canyon just outside of fabulous Las Vegas, Turtlehead Peak Trail is a wonderful way to spend the day when you are tired of slot machines and the glitz and glamour of the strip.
The five-mile trek is fairly strenuous and takes anywhere from four to five hours to complete, yet your efforts will be well-rewarded at the top, where you will be treated to a panoramic view of the Red Rock Canyon and the Las Vegas Valley.
Just remember to head across in the early morning if you’re planning a summer hike here. That sun strength is beyond strong!
2.) Fire Wave Trail, Valley of Fire State Park
If you are looking for an otherworldly experience while vacationing in the Las Vegas area, look no farther than the Valley of Fire State Park.
A fairly short, relatively easy hike, the Fire Wave Trail is great if you want a half-day adventure from the city. One thing that makes it special is the gorgeous sandstone and red rock formations that line the walkway; hence the name, wave.
If you’re spending a little longer out of Las Vegas, then make sure to stay for sunset. The red hues are just stunning with the sunny glow bouncing off the red rock. This alone makes it one of the best hikes in Nevada to experience.
Oh, and pack lots of sunscreen and water; there’s no shade on this trail. For parking, head over to the free ‘parkplatz point’ right at the trailhead (see Google Maps point, here).
If you’re staying longer in the area, head out on the White Domes Trail that’s totally close by. Just wear some good boots here; the sand can get quickly between your toes.
3.) Cathedral Gorge Trails, Cathedral Gorge State Park
Not just one but many different trails, the Cathederal Gorge Trails are some of the best hikes in Nevada that are pretty easy to meander.
Great for families and with totally unique trails through the slot canyons, it’s a spot that’s gotta be seen to be believed. Oh, and make sure to see the Moon Caves, too! Stunning.
Fancy staying longer, camp up at the Cathedral Gorge Campground and spend a few days in this beautiful area of Nevada.
4.) The Sierra Canyon Trail, Lake Tahoe-Nevada State Park
Give or take a little, the Sierra Canyon Trail is a 4-mile long hike that is chock-full of switchbacks.
Not for the faint-hearted and pretty strenuous, this hike can be tough if you’re not a hiker at heart, especially with the steep inclines at times. Along the way, you’ll get some magnificent views of the Carson Valley and the iconic Lake Tahoe that’s too beautiful to miss.
For a longer hike, you can easily join the Tahoe-Rim Trail; just plan in advance and prep accordingly. It’s easily one of the best hikes in Nevada if you’re looking for a longer and slightly challenging route.
After completing your hike, be sure to take time to stop in the nearby town of Genoa. This little town carries the distinction of being Nevada’s oldest settlement! The Genoa Bar and Saloon is the oldest saloon in all of Nevada and carries some serious historical charm.
5.) Historic Railroad Trail, Lake Mead
This is an absolute one-of-a-kind hike that is perfect for people of all ages and easily accessible whilst in the Lake Mead area.
Being around four miles in length, it’s one of the best hikes in Nevada to visit to follow the historic railroad route and tunnels that used this area. In fact, this is the only part of the original Hoover Dam Railroad that is still accessible for public view.
Just be aware that you’ll need to pay a fee to enter Lake Mead National Recreation Area; so make the most of your time and explore more of the region whilst you’re there.
Oh, and if it’s parking you’re after, head to Alan Bible Visitor Center and stroll from here.
6.) Mount Rose Trail, Mount Rose
At close to 11,000 feet, Mount Rose is the highest mountain peak in Washoe County, making for one of the best hikes in Nevada if you’re looking for a serious challenge.
Taking around 12-miles to complete, you’ll get to see this gorgeous area of Nevada whilst also climbing a whopping 2000+ feet! This is a proper dawn-to-dusk trail so plan accordingly. Oh, and if you’re heading here in winter, be sure to take a GPS to guide your route; it can be hard to follow the trail in snowy conditions.
For ease of access, this Google Maps point will help you start at the trailhead.
In the wintertime, this areas has an epic ski resort, too; meaning there are loads of snowshoe trails to pick from if you’re fancying something less challenging.
7.) Marlette Lake Trail, Spooner Lake
Although this hike is fairly long (at nearly nine miles), it is also relatively moderate to tough (as hikes go) and can be completed in about five-six hours.
Along the way, there are plentiful opportunities for wildlife spotting, especially to see the mountain chickadee, sage grouse and scrub jay. Plus, Beavers, marmots and even the occasional coyote or bobcat have been seen on this trail as well.
It is not just the plethora of wildlife that makes this one of the best hikes in Nevada. Marlette Lake is absolutely gorgeous, a crystalline sea of blue set against the dramatic desert mountain landscape.
8.) Goldstrike Hot Springs Trail, Boulder City
While it may seem weird to visit hot springs in the desert, it is a common misnomer that the desert is always hot. In fact, during the nighttime hours or winter and fall months, it can become very cold indeed.
The pretty difficult trail is a little over six miles round trip and offers two different options that both get quite steep.
You can either hang out at the top and relax in the hot springs or if you are feeling adventurous, you can lower yourself via rope to the bed of the Colorado River below.
Just keep your eyes peeled for rattle snacks, too. They love soaking in the sun on the warm rocks (and roads). I saw one of the road taking in the final bit of heat and it totally freaked me out!
To help you along your way here’s the Google Maps point to the trailhead.
9.) Black Mountain Trail, Sloan Canyon
Probably one of the most popular hikes in the McCullough Mountain range, the Black Mountain Trail is one of the best hikes in Nevada if you’re looking for a challenge – especially the last 1/2 a mile that gets steep!
Being around 8-miles long and is a hard hike, be sure to wear good shoes and take along plenty of water and other provisions to stay safe. This one isn’t for the leisurely hikers amongst us.
10.) Tahoe Rim Trail, Lake Tahoe
This is an extremely long hike (170+ miles) that takes anywhere from ten to twelve days to complete across both Nevada and California.
While it is certainly strenuous, it guides you along the rim of one of the most picturesque lakes in the western United States, Lake Tahoe.
Along with fellow hikers, you can expect to encounter a number of mountain bikers and horseback riders on the path as well.
The Tahoe Rim Trail is so vast that it’s almost impossible to detail it all. So, check out the Tahoe Rim Trail Association for all the routes and updates to hike.
Just remember, you don’t need to do the whole trail and you can easily take sections that appeal to you most.
11.) Pine Grove Ghost Town Trail, Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest
If you’re looking for a long (around 10-miles, or so) trail that’s moderately-easy, then the Pine Grove Ghost Town Trail is for you.
Located near Yerington, it’s a great way to explore the canyon and ghost town (though, not much remains of that). Just remember, this trail and town is pretty spread out, so be sure to head up to the hill summit and see what you can spot.
One thing to note; unlike some of the naturally grander geological trails in Nevada, you might find the Pine Grove Ghost Town Trail a bit dull if you’re not into the more human history of the area.