WHEN PEOPLE THINK OF NEVADA, they often think only of Las Vegas, but Nevada is much more — especially when you get up north. There’s something for everyone in Northern Nevada, whether you’re into nature and outdoor adventure; beaches along the shores of alpine lakes; ghost towns of the Old West and cowboy poetry; helicopter skiing; or delicious Basque food and a vibrant art scene.
Depending on the season, pack your car with your skis and snowboards or mountain bikes, hiking boots, and kayaks, and get ready to explore.
1. Lake Tahoe
The Nevada side of Lake Tahoe has some of the most scenic beaches on the shore. Pack your paddleboards and kayaks (or rent them there) and head to
For something more remote, head to Secret Cove along Highway 28. This clothing-optional beach is a short hike from the road and features turquoise coves and plenty of rocks for sunning. This is also a favorite spot among kayakers.
2. Incline Village
After your beach day, hit the
3. Mount Rose Highway
This highway, with its hairpin curves and sheer dropoffs, is one of the most gorgeous drives in all of Nevada. The road leaves Lake Tahoe and climbs the Sierra, passing Mt. Rose-Ski Tahoe and through a wildflower-strewn meadow, before winding down with overlooks of Washoe Valley and Reno beyond. In the winter, check weather conditions and chain requirements before you head out.
4. Carson City and Carson Valley
Once you hit the Interstate, change direction and head south to
A short trip from Genoa brings you to
5. Virginia City
Virginia City is a town full of Old West stories: tales of old silver mines, gambling debts, and prostitution. Today, you can visit the famed Suicide Table in the Delta Saloon, which purportedly claimed three of its unlucky owners, or visit the eclectic Prostitution Museum. In addition to its wooden boardwalks, candy shops, and gem and antique emporiums, Virginia City holds some of the most interesting festivals in the country, including the
In the summer months, you can catch a staged gun fight in front of the Bucket of Blood Saloon.
Many travelers associate
Wander along the riverwalk to watch kayakers play in the pools and eddies. The
7. Pyramid Lake
8. Black Rock Desert
No trip to Northern Nevada would be complete without seeing the
The surrounding hills are full of sagebrush, wild horses, jack rabbits, and antelope and are perfect for camping and stargazing, hiking and mountain biking. Take a soak in the
The place to stay in
Across the gravel highway you’ll find
10. Elko and the Ruby Mountains
In the high desert,
11. Ely and Great Basin National Park
After driving through the desert landscape,
Drive west from Great Basin National Park along Highway 50, America’s Loneliest Highway, until you reach
Just outside of Austin is a whole lot of hiking, backpacking, and mountain biking in the Toiyabe Mountain Range. Wildlife enthusiasts should keep an eye out for deer, elk, bobcats, and coyotes.
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