There are 23 State Parks that call Nevada home. From the Colorado River to the Oregon border, they offer insight into a state that has many different landscapes and features, and a rich history. We have parks sitting on one of the deepest lakes in the world, in the middle of the desert and within large urban areas. These parks offer amenities and facilities like camping, showers, historic sites, boat launches and trails that would likely be forgotten and unavailable if they weren’t inside State Parks.
In an attempt to boost tourism and travel to these sites, Nevada’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources recently introduced a new program offering a passport booklet to visitors. The goal is simple: visit any 15 of the 23 State Parks in Nevada and get your passport stamped along the way. Once that is accomplished, you earn a free annual pass to all the parks. The passport booklet also includes photos, park descriptions, list of amenities and a space to log a journal.
But most Nevadans are simply unaware of the many wonders our state hosts. Here’s a glimpse at some of the parks you should visit and cherish throughout our great state:
Valley of Fire State Park, established in 1935, is Nevada’s oldest (and largest) State Park. The park features beautiful rock formations in vibrant colors, especially in red sandstone, as well as petroglyphs. Visitors can hike, camp, picnic or go off-roading.
One of the most popular activities at Nevada’s State Parks is hiking. The state park division has teamed up with The Great Basin Institute to provide a website of Nevada’s best hiking trails, where you can look up new trails and track ones already visited. They have alsopartnered in the past with other trail organizations to make Nevada a destination for hikers from around the country and for the lucky Nevadans that live here. One of our best examples is the Lake Tahoe Spooner Backcountry State Park, which includes 13 miles of theTahoe Rim Trail, a 165-mile trail that circles Lake Tahoe.
Another great destination is the Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park in the very central point of Nevada, where visitors can explore the fossils of the ancient Ichthyosaurs. Also known as “Icky,” the Ichthyosaur was a giant marine reptile that swam in the oceans covering Nevada some 225 million years ago.
If you’re in Las Vegas, get on a kayak and explore the Colorado River or take part in a living history tour at Spring Mountain Ranch State Park. If you’re in Reno, take in the stars by the old ruins of Fort Churchill State Historic Park or enjoy the hiking and great views of Mount Rose at Washoe Lake State Park.
Nevada offers endless opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. So get out there and explore Nevada’s State Parks – and remember to pick up a passport!