When you mention Nevada, most people immediately think Las Vegas and gambling, but that is only a small part of this beautiful state. The Nevada's state parks display the wonder and unparalleled landscape that is the real Nevada. Visit one of these parks and experience the wild, rugged, and historic part of the state that many visitors never come into contact with. If you spend all your time in Nevada in Las Vegas, you miss out on the true nature of the state.
Nestled on the western side of the state is one of the most popular parks in the state, Lake Tahoe-Nevada State Park. Located along Lake Tahoe, this popular recreation area is a far cry from the deserts that most people imagine when thinking of Nevada. This area offers visitors many different sections to enjoy including Sand Harbor, Memorial Point, Hidden Beach, and Spooner Lake. The popular spots offer access to the lake for fishing, boating, and swimming, hiking, and picnicking.
Sand Harbor is the most popular area in this region, boasting sandy beaches with picnicking areas that can handle larger groups. Spooner Lake is the trail head for direct access to the backcountry. The backcountry has trails for hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking. While there you can enjoy the primitive campsites, where no vehicles are permitted.
Eastern Nevada is host to many parks as well. One of the most popular areas is the Echo Canyon State Park. This region has a 65-acre water reservoir that offers boating, camping and a picturesque picnicking area. Echo Canyon is steeped in history. Archeologists believe this area has been occupied since 5,500 BC. It is believed to have been used for seasonal hunting and for gathering camps. In 1864 this area was settled by Mormon pioneers who discovered silver ore and set up a small tent camp. This camp was destroyed by a severe windstorm in 1873. The region was permently settled by farmers in the late 1870s and currently grows alfalfa as the primary crop of the region.
Central Nevada boasts the most historic parks in the state. One of the most popular areas is the Fort Churchill State Historic Park. Built as a U.S. Army fort in 1861 to protect the early settlers, Fort Churchill was abandoned nine years later and now is in ruins. There is a visitors' center that displays the artifacts and information about the fort's history.
Close to the site of the old fort is Buckland Station, a stop on the Pony Express. This area was a supply center and had a hotel that was built in 1870. Visitors to this area can enjoy hiking, camping, canoeing, and a history lesson.
Southern Nevada, home to Las Vegas, has many historic and recreational state parks. Spring Mountain Ranch State Park is one of the most popular tourist parks. This working ranch is nestled beneath the cliffs of the Wilson Range within the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. This oasis supplied by the many springs located in the mountains, has been used as a luxurious retreat by some famous former owners including Howard Hughes. Visitors are treated to a self-guided tour of the ranch house and fabulous picnicking and hiking areas.
Explore the many regions of Nevada's state parks and experience the side of the state that is very different than its famous city.