Off-Road Adventures: Discover Your New Favorite Backcountry Route
If someone knows just one thing about Nevada, it’s probably how huge the state is, or how almost 85 percent of its land is public. What they might not know is how seriously we take off-roading around here. In fact, Nevada is home to the very first congressionally designated off-road (as in dirt) trail in the country. Another thing we’re serious about? Helping you get onto the lesser-traveled backroads that traverse our landscape.
When there’s so much to explore, it also means there’s so many places to get lost. That won’t happen, however, thanks to Off Road Nevada. This is your one-stop shop for maps, KML and KMZ files for exact coordinates, rules and regulations (registration is a must!), plus tips on how to stay safe in the backcountry. There’s information on dozens of OHV trail systems, too.
Kick up some dust in these tried-and-true OHV areas
Silver State Off-Highway Vehicle Trail
The Silver State Off-Highway Vehicle Trail — the congressionally designated trail we mentioned — loops through 260 miles of wild backcountry in southeastern Nevada. Designed with families in mind, well-marked sections — from easy gravel roads to challenging tracks — traverse mountaintops and panoramic basins.
Located primarily in Lincoln County, the trail has three established trailheads (near Caliente, Pioche, and Panaca) with more to come. If almost 300 miles doesn’t seem epic enough for you, the trail has tons of offshoots that can take you to the state line, through four state parks, or into the town of Mesquite. We don’t believe in limits here, so let your imagination (and a great map!) guide you.
Nestled in the deliciously remote, high-elevation mountains surrounding Ely is a backcountry byway that should float to the top of any adventurer’s list. The Schell Creek Range is chock-full of trails — some OHV-purpose built — creeks, and campgrounds, but one standout gem is the Success Loop.
The trail is adjacent to Cave Lake State Park, and we recommend starting at Cave Lake and ending near McGill. The trail is rated easy and is often traversed by high clearance 4WDs. Starting at an elevation of 7,300 feet, the trail winds for 40 miles of incredible mountain views, aspens exploding with color, direct access to trailheads and singletrack, and maybe even a Basque arborglyph or two. Thanks to that elevation, this trail is off-limits during the winter…unless you have a snowmobile!
Note: As of June 2023, the lake is closed for dam reconstruction, but Cave Lake campground is still open.
Travel Nevada Pro Tip
Desatoya and Clan Alpine Mountain Ranges
A plethora of trails are tucked in the Desatoya and Clan Alpine Mountain ranges about an hour east of Fallon or west of Austin. So many, the total mileage isn’t known, but what is known is that off-roaders in this area can follow along the Pony Express Trail that runs through the area.
The landscape is also dotted with historic ranches, mining sites, and many seasonal springs and creeks which account for pockets of lush landscape. Petroglyphs, cabins made of ammunition cases and glass, reservoirs, and some of the darkest skies ever await those in search of central Nevada’s off-road treasures. The area is also popular with bird watchers.
Travel Nevada Pro Tip
No matter what kinds of outdoor recreation you’re into, the Silver State has you covered. Explore all the ways to enjoy Nevada’s natural resources.