This fall, get in a few road trips before winter comes! Here’s some ideas for Nevada adventure, by region:
Cowboy Country (northern Nevada)
The northern part of the state has a rich ranching culture – it’s where you’ll find Elko, home of the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. But there’s plenty of other adventures to be had in Cowboy Country. Dig into Nevada’s ancient past at Lovelock Cave, an archeological site that yielded a wealth of artifacts when it was excavated the early 20th century. Today, the cave is empty but open to visitors taking the Lovelock Cave Back Country Byway off Interstate 80. Managed by the federal Bureau of Land Management, the Lovelock Cave area has interpretive signs explaining the area’s ancient geology and human history. Overnight at the Old Pioneer Garden Country Inn in Unionville, a ghost town where Mark Twain once prospected. Or depart the beaten path for the lush Jarbidge Wilderness north of Elko to explore the mountains and Emerald Lake. Fall is also prime hunting season for small and big game, including Himalayan snow cock and mule deer.
Pony Express Territory (north-central Nevada)
The Pony Express, the horseback mail service in operation from 1860 to 1861, roughly followed the path of what is now U.S. 50 in Nevada, “The Loneliest Road in America.” Today, Pony Express Territory offers much to be explored. First, take a trip to Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge in Fallon, where thousands of shorebirds stop on their migratory route in the fall. Don’t leave town without visiting the Oats Park Arts Center, a historical building that now serves as a music venue and gallery. Further east is Eureka, where the restored Eureka Opera House, dating back to 1880, offers a step back in time. And on the eastern end of the state is Ely, where the Renaissance Village celebrates the town’s history with an outdoor art gallery featuring murals and sculptures. While you’re there, take the Haunted Ghost Train of Old Ely for a 90-minute, authentic steam-engine ride with demons, ghosts, and goblins along the Nevada Northern Railway.
Nevada Silver Trails (central Nevada)
South of U.S. 50 and north of Las Vegas is where you’ll find real adventure, as the Nevada Silver Trails organization puts it. Recreational opportunities abound, along with large-scale roadside art. Just outside of Goldfield, discover the International Car Forest — vehicles planted in the Nevada soil and serving as backdrops for murals. From there, drive south to Beatty to see more desert art at the Goldwell Open Air Museum. While you’re there, witness the famous tricycle and bed races and a 1900s reenactment during the Beatty Days Festival Oct. 26-28. The cooler fall temperatures mean it’s a pleasant time to explore Death Valley National Park — easily accessible from Beatty or the town of Pahrump. For an off-the-beaten path experience, plan an overnight at Queensland Vineyard Bed and Breakfast in Dyer, and unwind with a relaxing dip in Fish Lake Valley Hot Springs, about a half hour’s drive away.
Reno-Tahoe (northwestern Nevada)
Reno is lucky to have Lake Tahoe, the Virginia Range and Carson Valley in close proximity. Take advantage of the colorful, peaceful shoulder season up at the lake: enjoy a cruise on the M.S. Dixie, departing from Zephyr Cove; or hike in the mountains at Spooner Lake & Backcountry, part of the Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park system. Venture south of Reno to Genoa for a drink at the Genoa Bar, Nevada’s oldest saloon. Hunt for ghosts in Virginia City, one of the most haunted towns in the country, and while you’re there, participate in the legendary World Championship Outhouse Races Oct. 6-7. On Nevada Day, celebrate the state’s 154th birthday with the annual parade in Carson City. Reno-Tahoe Territory offers even more ideas.
Las Vegas Territory (southern Nevada)
A Las Vegas getaway is the sure cure for the monotony of the daily grind. Amazing entertainment, dining and attractions are right outside your door on the Las Vegas Strip — and there are a few quieter pleasures to enjoy just beyond the bright lights. Make the trip to Mount Charleston, an hour’s drive from the city, for hiking and leaf peeping adventures. Rock enthusiasts can venture into Valley of Fire State Park or Red Rock Canyon for spectacular sandstone rock formations and world-class climbing. Experience the living museum that is Springs Preserve, which offers new fall exhibits in addition to its botanical gardens and interpretive wetland habitat. At the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas, visitors can zipline under an LED canopy, listen to live music, meet celebrity impersonators and congratulate newlyweds. Las Vegas Territory is a resource when planning trips to the area.