Photo By: Sydney Martinez

Photo By: Sydney Martinez

Photo By: Sydney Martinez

Photo By: Sydney Martinez

Photo By: Sydney Martinez

Photo By: Sydney Martinez

Photo By: Sydney Martinez


April 2014
Updated: June 2018


Points of Interest


BIGHORN SHEEP - Nevada State Animal 

The desert (Nelson) bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis nelsoni) is found throughout the southern, central, and western part of the state and in mountain ranges as far north as Interstate 80.

So, where can I spot some? Boulder City's Hemenway Valley Park is popular for its herds of bighorn sheep, which routinely come to the park to water and graze. Also, tons of sightings occur at Valley of Fire State Park [like the shot pictured above,] and near the shore of Walker Lake, too.

MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD - Nevada State Bird 

The mountain bluebird (Sialia currucoides) lives in the Nevada high country and eats insects, berries, and other fruit. Most vocal at dawn, its song is a clear, short warble similar to the caroling of a robin. The male is azure blue with a white belly, while the female is brown with a bluish rump, tail, and wings.

So, where can I spot some? When traveling northern Nevada, the Mountain Bluebird will not be difficult to spot. Keep your eyes peeled for them when frequenting places like Reno or Elko, but the more you make your way into remote mountain locations, the more spectacular these birds appear to be. To see some Mountain Bluebirds in their most thriving habitats, bust out your binos in places like Lamoille Canyon, or Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park.

ICHTHYOSAUR - Nevada State Fossil 

This fossil (genus Shonisaurus) was found in Berlin, east of Gabbs. Nevada is the only state to possess a complete skeleton (approximately 55 feet long) of this extinct marine reptile. Ichthyosaurs (meaning “fish lizards”) were predatory reptiles that resembled, in body form, modern dolphins.

So, where can I spot some? Visit Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park in central Nevada to learn more about this ancient sea creature—and see a ghost town. A 40-minute Fossil Shelter Tour is available most days of the year and a good place to get a thorough lesson [and front row view] on these ancient beauties. 

DESERT TORTOISE - Nevada State Reptile 

The desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) lives in the extreme southern parts of Nevada. It spends much of its life in underground burrows to escape the harsh summer heat and winter cold. It can live to be more than 70 years old.

So, where can I spot some? The Live Exhibits at Las Vegas' Springs Preserve give guests a firsthand view of how animals such as the desert tortoise have adapted to the harsh climate of the desert.


Nevada Relevance: State is home to nearly half the nation’s wild horses

These majestic animals move with the seasons within more than 80 Herd Management Areas on nearly 15 million acres of public Nevada land managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

So, where can I spot some? Wild Horses can be found all throughout northern Nevada, but it seems the hugest pockets of them linger around Silver Springs or Virginia City. If you're looking for more of a resort experience, try Mustang Monument, Madeleine Pickens' Wild Horse Eco-Resort and preserve near Wells in northeastern Nevada.


Nevada Relevance: Thrive in Nevada’s desert environment

The cactus at right is a Golden Cholla, spotted near the Southern Nevada community of Nelson, but the cacti family is vast in Nevada. From the Mojave Desert to the high mountains of central and northern Nevada, you can spot cacti just about anywhere in the Silver State.

So where can I see some? Henderson’s Ethel M Chocolate factory is home to the Ethel M Botanical Cactus Garden, open seven days a week for self-guided tours. Or, if you're looking to chase some in the wild, try Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge [pictured above] or Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

BRISTLECONE PINE - Nevada State Tree 

The bristlecone is the more celebrated of Nevada’s State Trees (the other is the Single-Leaf Piñon) because of its uniqueness—and its age. It’s the oldest-living organism on Earth, with some specimens in Nevada more than 4,000 years old.

So, where can I spot some? Hundreds of bristlecones exist in Great Basin National Park in three major groves: Mount Washington, Eagle Peak, and Wheeler Peak. Try hiking up to the Glacier in the ancient Bristlecone Pine forest at Great Basin National Park, or attempt hiking Mount Charleston, Nevada's fifth tallest peak. Here in the Spring Mountains, visitors will take delight in hiking through the largest concentration of Bristlecones in the entire Intermountain West. 


Nevada Relevance: Thrive in Nevada’s desert environment

The Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia) is native to the states of California, Arizona, Utah, and Nevada, where it is confined mostly to the Mojave Desert ranging between 1,000- and 6,000-foot elevations.

So, where can I spot some? Travelers on U.S. Highway 95—from roughly Goldfield to Las Vegas—will be treated to a steady dose of yucca. For more of a rural highway experience, consider the State Route 160 diversion to Pahrump, follow the Joshua Tree Highway on State Route 164 near Searchlight, or swing through Spring Mountain Ranch State Park [what's pictured below.]


With such a mind-blowing number of things to do in one state, use these tools and resources to help you prepare for an absolutely killer Nevada experience.


suggested adventures

Point of Interest Go››