Nevada is a land of radically changing terrain, everything from stark deserts to lush mountain forests, and the best way to explore it all is in the Silver State’s many recreation areas. From top to bottom, Nevada is overflowing with these wilderness gateways, so whether you’re in the mood for fishing, hiking or even honest-to-goodness backcountry camping, the state has you covered.
Nevada’s magnificent Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest is home to a selection of these fine points of recreation, including the truly spectacular Spring Mountains National Recreation Area. Measuring more than 316,000 acres, the territory begins just 30 minutes from downtown Las Vegas. Locals know the area as Mt. Charleston and escape here regularly, drawn by its surprising ecological diversity. The recreation area boasts snowy peaks, hardy desert terrain, low meadows and steep canyons, offering recreational pursuits from snowboarding and skiing to wildlife viewing, camping, hiking, climbing and more. Another wilderness area in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, the Mt. Moriah Wilderness Area, offers extreme outdoorsmen a wilder experience. The remote, secluded region stretches more than 80,000 acres and draws hunters and fishers from miles around.
At the other end of the state lies a friendlier outdoor experience. Tucked away in northeastern Nevada is the Mill Creek Recreation Area, just 20 miles south of Battle Mountain. Avid campers routinely descend on the historic site, the former location of a Civilian Conservation Corps work camp, which sits at 5,200 feet. With its 11 designated campsites, picnic tables, fire rings and restroom facilities nearby, it’s a wonderful place for a family camping trip. The surrounding canyons offer a plethora of relaxed outdoor activities, including fishing, birdwatching and short hikes.
One of the most distinctive recreation areas in the Silver State is a haven to off-road riders, hikers and sandboarders. Sand Mountain Recreation Area, about 25 miles east of Fallon, is home to a mound of sand two miles long and 600 feet high, a thrilling and unbelievable site that just begs to explored, hiked, biked and ridden. That’s the story with many of Nevada’s incredible recreation areas – and they’re all out there, waiting to be discovered.