All About Nevada

Get the Lowdown on a Few Things Everyone Should Know About the Silver State

Nowhere but Nevada. That describes a lot here, from our official state reptile (and, even more so, our official state “spokes-tortoise”) to artifacts and gemstones found nowhere else on Earth to internationally significant events. Ever wondered how Nevada became the “Silver State,” or how Las Vegas became the Entertainment Capital of the World? Or where a mischievous reporter named Sam Clemens became “Mark Twain?” Get interesting facts about Nevada state plants, animals, and symbols, learn how a remote slice of the Mojave became home to modern marvels of the world, and more with this lineup of Nevada facts and history



  • Icons of the Silver State
  • The Largest Silver Strike in the World
  • Building Hoover Dam and Becoming Las Vegas




Discover a 40-foot-long state fossil that inspired some of the best damn beer around, a state flower blooming everywhere you look, and a gnarly old state tree species that’s been quietly growing since before the Giza pyramids were built.

Nevada State Symbols

Although our western neighbor California is the Golden State, did you know the most gold in the United States—and some of the most in the world—comes from Nevada? But before claiming that title, the largest silver strike ever occurred in Nevada, earning the everlasting moniker of the Silver State.

Comstock Gold Mill
Nevada State Flag, Boundary Peak

This massive, $300 million dollar silver strike — called the Comstock Lode — flipped the bill for most of the Civil War. During that time, Nevada was one of two states to officially enter statehood, securing its second nickname as the Battle Born State. You’ll see “Battle Born” on the Nevada State Flag, and all over clothing, hats and other apparel worn by Nevada lovers in every corner of the state. 

Mark Twain Historical Image

Fun Facts about Northern Nevada

Nevada has a way of enticing people, now and always. Back when the Comstock Lode was booming, Virginia City was THE place to be, drawing some of the most famous gunslingers, ladies of the night, and even a true Millionaires Club. Nestled one mountain range east of the majestic eastern Sierra Nevada mountain range and Lake Tahoe, it wasn’t long before Samuel Clemens came to the Nevada territory, tried his hand at—then immediately gave up on—prospecting, and landed a reporting gig at Virginia City’s now-legendary Territorial Enterprise newspaper. It was there Clemens would become Mark Twain, finding his humorous voice, stirring things up, concocting wild tales, and opening up bar tabs all over town under his newly adapted (and now famous) moniker. 

But hundreds of generations before Twain moved to the Comstock, Nevada was (as it remains) home to the Northern Shoshone, Western Paiute, Fremont peoples and beyond, many tribes called Nevada’s Great Basin home. The name “Nevada” comes from the Spanish “Sierra Nevada”—which means snow-covered mountain range, which is no wonder, considering Nevada is actually the most mountainous state in the Lower 48. Though some of the state’s tallest peaks can be found in both northern and southern Nevada, some of the state’s highest elevations can be found throughout northern part of the Silver State, where dramatic basin and range topography make the ideal backdrop for Nevada Basques and buckaroos, whose culture fingerprints can be felt in the art, attitudes, and even restaurant menus of pretty much every northern city and town. 

Interesting Facts about Southern Nevada

While the most famous Westward Expansion trails stretched through northern Nevada, southern routes brought early pioneers into what would become the Las Vegas Valley. As some of their last stops before enduring the sweltering temps as they crossed Death Valley, some of Nevada’s oldest establishments can be found at historic stage stops and natural springs throughout the region surrounding Las Vegas — whose name is Spanish for “the meadows” — as well as in the nearby Spring Mountains.  

After America suffered from The Great Depression, a determined president Hoover sought to get Americans back to work. One of his greatest legacies was spearheading efforts to build the mighty Hoover Dam to create Lake Mead—a monumental job in an unforgiving landscape, with brutal working conditions. This meant work for thousands of men, who brought their families to the Mojave Desert, forming the planned community of Boulder City. 

Travel Nevada Pro Tip

Be sure to get the PowerPlant Tour at Hoover Dam to learn the stories of the men who dynamite-blasted Black Canyon and poured more than 4 million cubic yards of concrete, see the world’s tallest concrete arch bridge, and admire custom terrazzo floors and other masterful Art Deco features original to this modern marvel.

By the 1950s, Nevada made the atomic history books with the Nevada Test Site (home to infamous Area 51), just beyond city limits. Fremont Street hotels even used this as a marketing tool, tempting visitors to view atomic blasts in the distance while they lounged poolside at their properties. Las Vegas has transformed from a quiet pioneer town into a world-class destination known for its premier hospitality, entertainment, and culinary industries. Today, Las Vegas offers more than 150,000 hotel rooms — more than any other city on the planet — in some of the most famous hotel and casino destinations in the world.

Aside from pioneer traffic and a few boomtowns, this major historical event is what really beckoned a massive population to southern Nevada. A freshly built modern marvel of the world drew world leaders, politicians, celebrities, and everyone in between. Before long, Downtown Las Vegas came onto the scene with its first casino (or “gambling hall”) opening for business in 1931. With gaming re-legalized that same year — yet prohibited, as it still is, in the federally supervised town of Boulder City— the Las Vegas Strip came to life and never looked back, becoming flashier and more and more over-the-top as the years flew by. 


Whether you’re rockhounding Nevada’s state gemstone or exploring caves where Nevada’s state artifact was first discovered, bring us along for the ride and tag #TravelNevada. If we love your photo, look for it here and maybe even in next year’s Official State Visitors Guide.

Lake Mead just north of the Hoover Dam.
Happy tongue 👅
Look at how red those colors are!
The historicfourthward is a beautiful piece of history and a must-see on any visit to Virginia City. Open May - October. [📸 wolfie_wintermoon]
#virginiacity #onlyinvc #visitvirginiacity #virginiacitynv #stepbackintime #travelnevada #comstock #history #nevada #renotahoe #travel #historictown #dfmi #renotahoeusa #miningtown #boomtown #oldwest
The oldest living organisms on Earth lying patiently in the shadow of Wheeler Peak and the glacier. These freakin trees are older than Jesus guys. Also the trail through this forest was full of so many loose rocks I swear I nearly twisted my ankles a dozen times. Be safe out in the middle of nowhere guys. I also love this first photo because you can see the Great Basin desert stretch off into the distance at roughly ~6,000ft less elevation in a dozen miles. 
#GreatBasinNationalPark #GreatBasinGroovin #TravelNevada #BristleconePine #MtWheeler
At the top of a mountain looking over the whole world is the best place to clear your mind and reflect. 📷by 11.06am
#lovewhereyoulive #outwest #wildwest #travelnevada #nevadadesert #nevadalife #adventureseeking #goexplore #getoutstayout #optoutside
I’m not going to lie, this climb kinda scared the crap out of me. So much about climbing is trusting your guide and your gear, but it had been a few years since I’ve been on a wall and I was also pretty hungry, so it was safe to say my mind wasn’t in the best place. Either way, it is pretty cool to be able to shoot photos from the middle of a multi-pitch route. Maybe I’d do it again…for the gram of course.
#lasvegas #redrockcanyon #nevada #desert #mountains #rockclimbing #tradclimbing #universityphotographer #upaa #alwaysexploring #optoutside #stakelinphoto
#fbf for this postcard-worthy day at redrockcanyonlv. This was just after I sliced my ankle to pieces on the cog and FaceTimed nurse_catchit instead of going to the doctor. #oops I now have a gnarly scar to always remember this trip by. There’s never a bad day in this park, and I’ll be back in September. Hopefully with less injuries and a few climbing ropes this time. (Cough cough benjisaurus.) #redrockcanyon #vegasbaby #outdoorvegas #ventureready #nevada #adventure #cycling
Throwback to an 'out of this world' roadtrip 👽
It's time to apply for tickets to tour this gorgeous freak. Fly Geyser, not far from the putty-colored playa known as Black Rock Desert, is a technicolor blend of iron (red), sulfate (yellow), and algae (yup, the green crud) on private property in northern Nevada. It was born in 1964 when the drill from a geothermal company accidentally exposed it. After 55 years, it's getting a little taller and a touch lovelier by the year. Details and ticket info at

#dfmi #burningman #landscapephotography #westbysouthwest #earthescope #ourdailyplanet #wildernessculture #geology #theoutbound #americanwest #travelnevada #getoutside #optoutside #LPM #earth_pix #landscape_love #outside_project #geysers #blackrockdesert #wondersofourplanet #earthfocus