nevada cowboys

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

Highlights
  • 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
Comstock Gold Mill
boundary peak
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. 

nevada mountains

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. 

joshua trees

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.  

hoover dam

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. 

hoover dam power plant

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.
nevada test site

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.

bellagio fountains

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. 

#TravelNevada

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.

We went for a drive last night to try and capture the Aurora Borealis and it was so subtle compared to Friday night we could baaaarely see it but you can see the “slight” purple and green!🌟🙌🏼
Definitely was still a fun late night drive with the pups and took a few Milky Way pictures while we were out and about!💫🤭 
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#auroraborealis #milkyway #shootingstar #desertdweller #nevada #travelnevada #explorenevada #nevadaskies #homemeansnevada #northernlights #desertlife #highdesert #nevadadesert #northernnevada
Aurora only showed herself for a few minutes last night, but we did get a fireworks show to make up for her fleeting visit. 
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#auroraborealis #northernlights #astrophotography #sandmountain #nevadaskies #starrynights #fireworks #travelnevada #moonshotdesignlab #nikonz8
RIVIERA STARDUST | THE NEON MUSEUM, LAS VEGAS

One of the highlights of my trip to Las Vegas was exploring the Neon Museum in the downtown area. There is so much Vegas history in these old signs. I highly recommend a visit here if you are visiting.
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#theneonmuseumboneyard #NevadaAdventures #theneonmuseumlasvegas #theneonmuseum #lasvegas #lasvegastourism #neonsigns #neonlights #signs #lasvegashistory #museum #travel #tourism #Fitzgeralds #Nevada #LasVegas #touristattraction #lit #USA #touristdestination #travelusa #desert #brightlights #Vegas #travelnevada #copyrightamandawhite2024
After a few trip plans didn’t work out tom.m.schroeder and I ended up with bikes in the northern Nevada desert camped next to a hot spring. The biking was epic and couldn’t ask for a better campsite.  On the way home we did a ride near Mount Shasta, California that also did not disappoint. #gravelbike #nevada #blackrockdesert #mountshasta #camping
Pure excitement! Z reeled in her first fish of the season. Gorgeous little rainbow trout; the marshes never disappoint. 
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#nevada #fishnevada #travelnevada #explorenevada #nevadawildlife #trout #dfmi
Spring in Nevada 💗

I’ve been loving these views from Carson Valley, Reno, and Tahoe. Having fun on pet-sitting adventures and can’t get enough of these spring blooms!

#travelnevada #carsonvalley #springtime #nevadaphotography #sierramountains #tahoereno #exploremore #tahome
A sight to behold 😌😌✨️✨️

#nevada #calico #hikingadventures #hiking #hikingtrails #womenhiking #hikinglife #redrocks #ontop #red #hike #hikingtheglobe #adventure #adventuretime #hikerbabesorg100 #hikeyourownhike
#LaterGram because all my INSTAgrams are stories 👽
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#outfitshare #ootd #outfitoftheday #lasvegas #vegas #nevada #travelnevada #wanderlust #fashionshare #dailyoutfits #westernstyle #lasvegaslocal #vegaslocal #ltk #ltkoutfits #springstyle #summeroutfitideas #momsbelike #momstyle #momoutfits #stylediary #outfitshot #igfashion #amazonfashion #under1k #ootdshare #jeepgirls
Wrapping up #NationalParkWeek with an incredible lesser-known park that we visited for the first time last year.

📍Great Basin National Park (Nevada)

Great Basin isn't a national park that you hear a whole lot about, but we were so impressed!

⛺We visited in August 2023 and camped in Wheeler Peak Campground within the park. The campground is at the top of Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive, sitting at 9,500 feet above sea level. This has been one of our all-time favorite camping experiences. The sites were well-spaced, and the views were incredible! We also liked that we could walk from our campsite to the trailhead for several of the Wheeler Peak area trails. 

🥾During our visit, we went on two hikes in the Wheeler Peak area. We hiked the Alpine Lakes Loop trail the afternoon/evening we arrived and enjoyed some sunset views on the trail. The next morning, we hiked the Glacier Trail, which also took us past Bristlecone Grove.

🔦Great Basin NP is home to Lehman Caves. The only way to tour the caves is by purchasing a ticket for a ranger-led tour. Two tours are offered. We chose the longer one, which was 90 minutes long. While it's not the biggest or the longest cave we've been in, I felt like it had some of the most impressive cave formations!

Photos
1) Hiking the Glacier Trail
2-3) On our Lehman Caves tour
4-6) Hiking the Alpine Lakes Loop Trail
7-9) Hiking the Glacier Trail and Bristlecone Grove
10) Our campsite at Wheeler Peak Campground
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#greatbasinnationalpark #wheelerpeak #wheelerpeakcampground #themountainsarecalling #bristleconepine #nationalparkgeek #national_park_photography #travelnevada #explorenevada
Wrapping up #NationalParkWeek with an incredible lesser-known park that we visited for the first time last year.

📍Great Basin National Park (Nevada)

Great Basin isn't a national park that you hear a whole lot about, but we were so impressed!

⛺We visited in August 2023 and camped in Wheeler Peak Campground within the park. The campground is at the top of Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive, sitting at 9,500 feet above sea level. This has been one of our all-time favorite camping experiences. The sites were well-spaced, and the views were incredible! We also liked that we could walk from our campsite to the trailhead for several of the Wheeler Peak area trails. 

🥾During our visit, we went on two hikes in the Wheeler Peak area. We hiked the Alpine Lakes Loop trail the afternoon/evening we arrived and enjoyed some sunset views on the trail. The next morning, we hiked the Glacier Trail, which also took us past Bristlecone Grove.

🔦Great Basin NP is home to Lehman Caves. The only way to tour the caves is by purchasing a ticket for a ranger-led tour. Two tours are offered. We chose the longer one, which was 90 minutes long. While it's not the biggest or the longest cave we've been in, I felt like it had some of the most impressive cave formations!

Photos
1) Hiking the Glacier Trail
2-3) On our Lehman Caves tour
4-6) Hiking the Alpine Lakes Loop Trail
7-9) Hiking the Glacier Trail and Bristlecone Grove
10) Our campsite at Wheeler Peak Campground
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#greatbasinnationalpark #wheelerpeak #wheelerpeakcampground #themountainsarecalling #bristleconepine #nationalparkgeek #national_park_photography #travelnevada #explorenevada
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