16 Moments That Aim To Please At Nevada State Parks

You know it when it hits you… it just clicks into place, right? You might be tipping up your water bottle for a quick drink before jumping in the car to head home, bummed you didn’t see any of those bighorns Valley of Fire is known for. As your head tilts back to take a swig, you look up and—bam—13 of those guys perfectly silhouetted against vibrant red rocks—and at golden hour. A totally unplanned magic moment hits you square in the face, something you know you won’t be able to re-create… something you could never ever again pay to achieve. It just unfolds in all the right ways… it’s a perfect, happy accident.

Moments like these change the way we remember that place from then on. And here’s the deal when it comes to Nevada: so many of these enchanting instances are actually surprisingly easy to attain. They’re not just entries on some weird wishlist that you have to pay gobs of money to tick off, there’s no need to be in competitive bodybuilder shape to get there, and you definitely don’t need to fight off thousands of other people to grab that specific spot at exactly that right time. When it comes to exploring the unsurpassable and unexpected beauty at Nevada’s State Parks, their most cherished quality is totally simple: It’s easy to be there. No fighting for parking, no squashing up against the hordes against a handrail… none of that mess. In fact, you may even find yourself absolutely alone with nobody else but mother nature in some stunning scenic situations. It’s that next-level.

You may know already what’s up with Lake Tahoe State Park and the Valley of Fire. Which is great—they’re famous for a reason. But the rest of Nevada’s State Parks are equipped with plenty of other marvelous qualifiers —things that set them apart from any other, boasting totally snag-worthy magic moments you’ll soon be striving to add to (and then tick off) the damn list.

beaver dam state park
Cathedral Gorge State Park
Night skies at Fort Churchill State Historic Park

1. Earning Polar Bear Club cred in one of the clearest and coldest bodies of water on Earth… and learning to crave its tasty bite.

Lake Tahoe Nevada State Parks

2. Hiking through a forest of beaver stumps, realizing you’ve finally snagged that “one with nature” moment of solitude you’ve been chasing.

Beaver Dam State Park

3. Getting knee deep in (and outside of) 160+ year-old history at the true birthplace of Las Vegas.

Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park

4. Catching a charge off those storied Washoe Zephyrs, understanding that even Twain’s quip couldn’t fully articulate their exhilarating fury.

Washoe Lake State Park

5. Realizing that with even the slimmest physique, you’re still going to have to suck it up to “suck it in”, if it means seeing the very back of some very otherworldly slot canyons.

Cathedral Gorge State Park

6. Dialing in that EMF detector for a good ol’ fashioned army fort ghost hunt, right in the heart of your very own galaxy.

Fort Churchill State Historic Park

7. Having a lookie-loo inside six beehive-shaped kilns that were once used as the lawless hideout of choice for Wild West renegades.

Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park

8. Zeroing in on the names of 1870s pioneers who left their mark with wagon axel grease.

In between Echo Canyon and Spring Valley State Parks

9. Taking in that enchanting essence the Mojave swiftly delivers after a warm spring rain.

Spring Mountain Ranch State Park

10. Keeping a running tally of just how many wannabe fingers you can count on gigantic fossilized Ickys.

Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park

11. Letting Eagle Valley’s panoramas pull you out of Nevada and straight into what feels like the set of a Harley Davidson commercial.

Spring Valley State Park

12. Paying homage to the 158-year-old mill that processed the world’s largest silver strike, which built a lion’s share of the West Coast.

Dayton State Park

13. Relishing the ultimate road trip breather in an unsuspecting oasis.

Kershaw-Ryan State Park

14. Riding the (fire) wave at Nevada’s oldest and largest state park.

Valley of Fire State Park

15. Experiencing oldest town in Nevada, with Pony Express history as the cherry on top.

Mormon Station State Historic Park

16. Ripping some of the Silver State’s completely crowdless singletrack.

Cave Lake State Park


To get the lowdown on all Nevada State Parks and Nevada National Parks, keep reading, here.