Now we need to plan a visit to Nevada, which just happens to be my state. I try to be fair to all the states, but there is a certain amount of pride in one's home. All the necessary materials are gathered here. The weather is still unfriendly so grab a coffee, a log, and we'll start.
Nevada, the Silver State, is the 36th state. The state metal is silver and the semi-precious gemstone is turquoise. A few things you'll find in Nevada are: nearly 2,000-year-old Tule Duck decoys, The Stratosphere Tower which is the tallest building west of the Mississippi and the highest freestanding observation tower in the United States, Boulder City is the only town in Nevada that does not allow gambling, many garnet mines charge a fee to let you hunt for and keep garnets but Garnet Fields Rockhound Area is free, Nevada is the only state where you can legally gamble on sports, in Loveland a couple in love can follow the Chinese tradition of fastening a lock to the never-ending chain and throw away the key thus sealing their love forever, Levis jeans were invented in Nevada, the average elevation of Nevada is 5,000 feet above sea level. (Short Pause!) The world's oldest species of tree is the bristlecone pine that can live for 5,000 years, many people think of Nevada as desert but there are also 314 mountain ranges which is more than any other state, since 1976 voters have had the option of voting for "none of the above", there is a tribute to mobster Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel in the gardens of the Flamingo Hotel which Bugsy opened in 1946, the Desert National Wildlife Refuge is 1.5 million acres including part of the Mojave Desert and is the largest wildlife refuge in the lower 48 states, the only night time National Scenic Byway is the Las Vegas Strip, and the Pioneer Saloon where Clark Gable waited for news of his wife Carole Lombard who died in a plane crash still operates.
Nevada is known for its hot springs. As a matter of fact, there are 312 of them. The earth's interior is made of molten rock and Nevada has some of the thinnest continental crust in the world. This causes the heating of water that bubbles up as hot springs. A word of warning, though. Pay attention to all signs and use common sense at all times. Some of the springs are so hot that you can receive severe burns. There are well-developed ones like the ones you find at spas like Carson Hot Springs Resort. Then there are undeveloped ones like Fish Lake Hot Well. And it can be really refreshing to soak in hot springs and then bound out into the snow.
This is the perfect place for people who like being outdoors. Hiking and biking are very popular in Nevada. In Great Basin National Park there are trails for everyone. Beginners can take a short hike. Experienced hikers might try spending six or seven hours to reach the top of Wheeler Peak. At Lehman Caves there are stalactites, stalagmites, and rare limestone shield formations. Be sure to take your camera.
Winter sports are available all year round because of the snow capped mountains. However, in the winter is the real fun. Wide open spaces make snowmobiling a new adventure every day. The more daring could try heli-skiing. And the scenery is out of this world.
Las Vegas is not just bright lights and gambling. Valley of Fire State Park is named for the red sandstone formations. Areas of petrified wood tell us about the ancient trees. And there are 3,000 Indian petroglyphs. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area offers some of the best rock climbing you can find.
Nevada would not be complete without horses. There is nothing quite like a trip, either short or long, to explore on horseback. There are trails in almost every area in the state. All you need to do is look for a place to rent your steed and go. There are tours for those who are not seasoned riders or for those who don't feel comfortable exploring on their own.
In short, Nevada is a great place to explore. We have Hoover Dam, botanical gardens, wetland habitats, Area 51, and ghost towns. Decide what you would like to do and then do it. Links are below. When you are done, let me know what you've seen. In the meantime, I'm going to Virginia City and see what I can find.
Official Nevada Site
Nevada Tour Guide
Nevada Division Of State Parks
Nevada Division of Cultural Affairs
Nevada Department of Wildlife
Offbeat Tourist Attractions