Nevada is not only known for its casino and entertainment cities of Las Vegas and Reno; it is also home to the Great Basin National Park.



Arid High Ground

The Sierra Nevada Mountains that sit to the west of Nevada create a rain shadow across this state, a barrier preventing many Pacific storms from reaching the land. The mountainous high desert is rich in metal ores and was a destination particularly for silver prospectors in the 19th century; the state is still the largest producer of silver and gold in the country.



Majestic Mountains

The most mountainous state in the US, Nevada boasts over 150 named mountain ranges with over 30 peaks exceeding 11,000 feet in height. Most of Nevada’s mountains are rocky and arid, popular for hiking, each with distinct biomes and rock formations.

The Sierra Nevada Mountains briefly appear in far western corner—the perfect day trip from Reno, Nevada’s second-largest city. At the state’s western bend, its shared border with California cuts the through length of Lake Tahoe. Golden beaches and tree-lined shores overlook the lake’s varied blue tones along Tahoe’s eastern shore.


Las Vegas
Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Desert Oasis

Las Vegas grew out of the Mojave Desert to become is one of the world’s leading casino hot spots. Along a magical, four-plus-mile Strip, each resort seeks to draw in visitors beyond table games with fine-dining, high-end shopping, and spellbinding nightlife and shows.

The Cosmopolitan mesmerizes with sleek, ultra-modern luxury. Twins Wynn and Encore dazzle with intricate floral creations. Canals with singing gondoliers flow through the Venetian. Under a whimsical Eiffel Tower, Paris transports visitors to a playful version of the City of Lights. And the Bellagio bestows grandly choreographed, music-filled fountain shows.

This fantasyland and adult playground is Mecca for food and entertainment enthusiasts, gamblers, and shoppers. Kids are welcome in some environments, but parents beware … They may ask, “Mom, What’s a peep show?”, as mine did. I just responded with, “It’s like peek-a-boo sweetie.”

Great day trips from Vegas (as its referred to) are the areas Valley of Fire and Hoover Dam at Lake Mead, or venture into Arizona to Grand Canyon West.