Hiking and Backpacking in Nevada

Hiking in Nevada

With more than 300 named mountain ranges, millions of acres of rugged, untamed wilderness, and thousands of miles of trails, it’s safe to say the Silver State offers hikers and backpackers a lifetime of exploration. From celebrated Nevada state parks and national park wonders to crowd-free conservation areas and the (minimum) 36-mile long, peak-hopping Ruby Crest National Recreation Trail, learn where to get some Nevada dirt on those boots.

Hiking in Nevada ranges from easy ambles to alpine scrambles, with difficulty levels for everyone and sights to see from glittering city skylines to green, forested vistas. No matter if you’re looking for a chilled-out stroll through city nature preserves or a mountain hike that borders on rock climbing, the vast breadth of Nevada hiking has adventures perfect for you. Alluring to casual out-and-back day trippers, hardcore, toothbrush-chopping wilderness thru-hikers, and everyone in between, Nevada is a hiker’s paradise.

Highlights

  • Check out the new Nevada Trail Finder
  • Hiking in Reno and Backpacking the Tahoe Rim Trail
  • Quick Hiking Trips from the Strip
  • The Ruby Crest Trail and Jarbidge Wilderness Area
See All Nevada Trails

Hiking in Reno & Lake Tahoe: Northern Nevada Adventures

nv hiking map

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Region

State of Nevada

Looking to get after some hiking in Reno? While the Biggest Little City is surrounded by amazing hikes, some great places to start are local faves like the Hunter Creek Trail and Galena Creek Trail. If you’re feeling a bit more ambitious, head for the Mount Rose Wilderness Area, located between Reno and North Lake Tahoe.

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Named after the Carson Range’s highest peak, the Mount Rose Wilderness Area frames Lake Tahoe’s northeast rim. The 10,766-foot Mount Rose summit peaks every Tahoe hiker’s interest, thanks to en-route waterfalls, blazing midsummer wildflowers, and views of Lake Tahoe and Nevada’s sweeping desertscapes. 

Spend up to two weeks backpacking Lake Tahoe Rim Trail’s 165-mile, lake-circling, peak-bagging alpine circuit — or simply enjoy a morning meadow stroll on any leg of this iconic Sierra Nevada trail.

Beckoning hikers across the border, three of Lake Tahoe’s tallest and most famous mountains sit just above Lake Tahoe — Mt. Tallac, Jobs Peak, and Freel Peak.

Any passionate thru-hiker shouldn’t miss the jagged summits and countless backcountry lakes of the heavenly Desolation Wilderness—home to a fabled shared stretch of the Pacific Crest Trail and Tahoe Rim Trail.

tahoe rim trail hiking
Tahoe Rim Trail, Lake Tahoe
hike mt rose
Mount Rose Summit

Travel Nevada Pro Tip

THRU-HIKERS TAKE NOTE: Ready for some wilderness where you can count on having the trail to yourself? Head for the Toiyabe Crest Trail75 miles of trail that skim the top of the timberline to traverse the stunning Toiyabe Range, promising 100-mile views and access to the towering heights of the 11,477’ Bunker Hill and the 11,781’ Arc Dome.

Looking for a Trail?

View and download up-to-date maps, descriptions, and directions to thousands of miles of Nevada trails for hikers, mountain bikers, equestrians, OHV riders, cross-country skiers, kayakers, and more.

Recreate Responsibly

In love with the Silver State as much as we are? Learn what you can do to help us keep the places we cherish special—and open—for us and future generations.


Hiking in Las Vegas: Southern Nevada Tips, Tricks & Trails

There is no shortage of hiking near Las Vegas, either. 

Just 45 minutes northwest of Vegas, Charleston Peak rises from the Spring Mountains Wilderness Area, scraping the Mojave Desert skies at nearly 12,000 feet, with mountainsides cloaked in one of the largest groves of ancient bristlecone pines in the West. Check out views of Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and a panoramic view of the Las Vegas Valley and the glimmering Las Vegas Strip.

Other gotta-experience-it trails await at Valley of Fire State Park, barely an hour from Downtown. Beeline it for the White Domes Trail, Fire Wave, Rainbow Vista, Petroglyph Canyon Trail to Mouse’s Tank, and Balancing Rock to get a full spectrum of the spectacular vibrancy found within Nevada’s first state park.

Death Valley Hiking
Death Valley National Park
hiking trails in las vegas
Cathedral Gorge State Park

Visiting Las Vegas during our hotter months? Escape the southern Nevada heat by navigating Cathedral Gorge State Park’s otherworldly slot canyons.

Just 40 minutes from the Vegas Strip lies the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Stop by the park’s visitor center to learn how it was built and check out exhibits on the wildlife you might spot along your hike.

Hit the trails with the Historic Railroad Tunnel Trail, a hike that will bring you to sweeping vistas of Lake Mead and Hoover Dam and take you through old railroad tunnels drilled right through the mountain.

Nevada Hiking in the Places in Between

One of America’s most underrated national parks, Great Basin National Park offers gobsmacking views from its pleasantly uncrowded hiking trails. The 4.3-mile out-and-back Bristlecone-Glacier Trail rolls past the gnarled bristlecone pines to a stark, rock-rimmed cirque cradling Nevada’s last active glacier. The Wheeler Peak Trail climbs to an impressive elevation gain of 13,064 feet, and hikers who summit the mountain are rewarded with a panoramic vista stretching into Utah. For a gentler stroll, take the 2.7-mile Alpine Lakes Loop, which serves stunning vistas of ruggedly beautiful alpine lakes set against some of Nevada’s tallest peaks.

The Ruby Crest National Recreation Trail (RCT) follows the spine of one of Nevada’s most pristine, barely-touched locales: Elko County’s Ruby Mountains. Its sole paved access point—the drastic and picturesque Lamoille Canyon Road—sees its fair share of day-trippers and overnight visitors.

Ready for the triple crown of northeastern Nevada adventure? Hike into the Jarbidge Wilderness Area, not only for some of the best hiking in Nevada, but also incredible fishing and stargazing, too. Just shy of the Idaho border, plan for 10,000-foot-peaks dressed in wildflowers and glacier-carved river canyons, more than 126 miles of hiking trails, and even a dose of Wild West history at the site of the last stagecoach robbery in the American West. Sold? Yeah, we are too.

nevada backpacking
Ruby Crest National Recreation Trail

Get Some Dirt on Those Boots

Tapping into outdoor adventure in Nevada is true guilty pleasure. With all our crowdless surprises, it feels like you’re getting away with something you shouldn’t. Whether you’re summiting one of our 300+ mountain ranges or navigating a people-free trail through an ancient bristlecone pine forest, Nevada hiking beckons your boots. All you gotta do is get out here, go for it, and never look back.

#NVAdventure

Wanna let more Nevada-lovers hike vicariously through you? Use #TravelNevada and share your fave Nevada trails. If we love your photo, look for it here!

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Happy Memorial Day!!! 🇺🇸 I hope everyone has a fun and safe day! I’m heading out to Sedona, Arizona today to car camp for a week 🏜
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I spent my Memorial Day Weekend hiking A LOT! I started this hike at 4:30am and watched the sun rise over Las Vegas ☀️ In 4-5 hours I did 7.4 miles with 2,000ft of elevation gain! For me being out of shape from a month or two of not hiking, I’m happy to be jumping right back into it 💪
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What did you do this weekend?
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So proud of my kids & Charlie (the doggy)!! We hiked to Raintree today and they did great! It’s tough for littles, especially my youngest, but they endured. My oldest wants to bag a peak next and they were asking about overnight backpacking trips too! I see more fun hikes in the future for them!
Great Basin is incredible! Even more so for how remote it is... you really have to make an effort to get here. We hiked about 4 miles total, no joke at over 10,000 feet elevation.
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Even if you aren't a #PeakBagger Mt. Ralston is worth the effort! How many of you have climbed this peak🏔? Regram 📸 @honeyoats_adventure .
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