Painted canyons, verdant valleys, cobalt-blue lakes, ancient dinosaur fossils, wild horses, waterfalls, and extensive trail systems are some of the highlights of the numerous state parks in Nevada. This dry desert landscape is anything but dull. Nevada State Parks have plenty of protected areas filled with wonder, adventure, and beauty.
Whether you want to hike for days on end or just a quick casual walk, there are hiking trails for all different hiking abilities and length desires. Many of the state parks in Nevada have designated tent and RV sites for rent, as well as educational centers and attractions.
Except for Sand Harbor State Park, Spring Mountain Ranch State Park, Valley of Fire State Park, and Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park, the entrance fee is only 5 USD. Any time of the year is a good time of the year to take a hike in one of Nevada’s inspiring state parks.
Waterfall Trail In Beaver Dam State Park
Designated as a Watchable Wildlife Area, the Overlook Trail in the Beaver Dam State Park in Nevada is a dreamscape environment that any nature enthusiast will find magically enthralling. Home to mule deer, porcupines, turkeys, jackrabbits, coyotes, foxes, bobcats, mountain lions, and an eclectic collection of lizards and snakes, you could spend days marveling at all wildlife here. Aside from the animal life, the landscape is laced with ponderosa pines, juniper, sparkling streams, and waterfalls.
There are trails for all levels of hikers in Nevada state parks. The Waterfall Trail passes by several warm springs, and of course waterfalls. You can enjoy the natural jacuzzi on this trail, which at one point in time drew the Civilian Conservation Corps to this part of Nevada in 1934. This is an easy-to-moderate level trail with incredible scenery.
Juniper Draw Loop Trail In Cathedral Gorge State Park
Located in southeastern Nevada, the Cathedral Gorge State Park is famous for its unique cathedral-like spires that are the result of violent volcanic explosions that were frequent tens of millions of years ago. The dramatic bentonite clay formations are highly photogenic! But aside from admiring these ancient rock formations, hiking through this park lends exquisite views of the canyon within the park. Hiking, camping, picnicking, and nature photography are very popular here.
The 3-mile-long Juniper Draw Loop is the longest of the five trails within the Cathedral Gorge State Park and is the best trail is you want to explore the majority of this walkable park in one long loop. This trail overlaps with a portion of the Nature Loop and Miller Point Trail, as well.
Canyon Overlook Trail In Kershaw-Ryan State Park
The Kershaw-Ryan State Park is often referred to as an oasis in the desert. One of the best Nevada State Parks, it’s located in a canyon where the walls tower up to 700 feet high. Like many Nevada State Parks, this protected land is full of colorful plant life. The natural spring that runs through the park allows for wild grapevines, fruit trees, willows, white oaks, and wildflowers to flourish. All these freshwater and plant-life attracts wild horses and deer.
The 1.5-mile-long Canyon Overlook Trail is a backcountry trail that is better suited for the intermediate to experienced hiker. During the summer months, rattlesnakes and flash floods are a legitimate risk, so make sure you are careful where you step or sit and pay attention to the weather. It is best to hike in the morning.
Marlette Flume Trail In Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park
Spooner Lake Backcountry is part of the Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park and includes a giant lake surrounded by 12,000 acres of forest. This recreation haven is a great place to go hiking, biking, or horseback riding as there are fifty miles of trails. There are camping spots and cabins available for rent for those who want to enjoy more than just a day-hike.
The 4.4-mile Marlette Trail can be accessed from the south via the North Canyon or from the north via Tunnel Creek Road. This moderate hike is a beautiful walk and way to experience the enchanted backcountry park. There are several shorter hiking trails within the park, as well. If you aren’t camping, the park is open for day-visitors 365 days a year from sunrise to sunset.
Rainbow Vista Trail In Valley of Fire State Park
There are eleven hiking trails in the Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada. With so many options, choosing one might seem like a daunting task. The good news is all of them are spectacular! The one-mile Rainbow Vista Trail is a short and sweet hike with some pretty sensational views. The colorful landscape inspires both the name of the trail and the name of the park.
There are 40,000 acres of red, tan, and gray limestone, Aztec sandstone, petrified trees, and petroglyphs dating back 2,000 years. Also, the ancient landscape is swirled with all different colors and is truly a unique and beautiful sight to see.
The Valley of Fire Visitor Center is also a great resource to help you choose the proper hike based on your ability and hiking goals.
Deadman’s Creek Trail In Washoe Lake State Park
The Washoe Lake State Park is located in a gorgeous valley surrounded by extraordinary views of the Sierra Nevada, Carson, and Virginia mountain ranges. Bald eagles, American white pelicans, and Canadian geese love this park! Washoe Lake is also close to Reno and Carson City, so getting here is a breeze. There are eight hiking trails and one paved bike path in this state park in Nevada.
The Deadman’s Creek Trail is only 0.6 miles long but is one of the best hikes in the park. The breathtaking views start as soon as you set foot on this trail. After a little uphill trek, you will reach a gazebo where you can stop and admire the expansive Washoe Valley and the high-reaching Sierra Nevada. There are several loop options you can take from this trail, as well.
Sand Point Nature Trail In Sand Harbor State Park
Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in all of North America, and on the eastern shoreline is the gorgeous Sand Harbor State Park. The crystal-clear waters inspire swimming, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and even scuba diving. The Sand Point Nature Trail is only a third of a mile long but it grants you access to several secluded beaches. This gentle walk along the lake is also handicap-accessible.
Berlin Townsite Loop In Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park
Over 225 million years ago, the Pacific Ocean covered central Nevada. During this period, an enormous marine reptile, the Ichthyosaur, patrolled the seas. Today, the Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park is home to the most abundant collection of Ichthyosaur fossils. The Fossil House, which is in the park, houses these ancient and impressive remains. This fascinating state park also contains an authentic ghost town. The town that was built in the 1890s is now abandoned and decrepit. However, it is protected as a historical site and quite an interesting place to see.
What’s unique about hiking in this park is that along the trail is a comprehensive series of informative signs that share the history. They also carry some interesting facts of the various features of Berlin. There are several other hikes within the park including the longer Richmond Canyon Loop.
Additionally, from the campsite, there is a nature trail that directly connects you to the Fossil Hose. You can also sign up for a 40-minute tour of the Fossil House from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Tours are available Monday through Friday at 10 AM and 2 PM and Saturday and Sunday at noon.
Ash Canyon Trail In Echo Canyon State Park
Eastern Nevada is a birder’s paradise! This region is home to mallards, teals, heron, eagles, hawks, owls, waterfowl, and a variety of songbirds. Coyotes, deer, and bobcats also love this part of the state. They are sometimes seen in the Echo Canyon State Park.
The Ash Canyon Trail takes you into the park’s backcountry. You will hike along the rim and then down into the alluring Ash Canyon on this 2.5-mile hike.
Sandstone Canyon Loop Trail In Spring Mountain Ranch State Park
The Spring Mountain Ranch State Park is adjacent to the mesmerizing Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. The land here was once used for ranching but is now open to the public. You can take a guided tour and learn about this area’s interesting ranching history, or just spend your time picnicking and hiking. There are five looped hiking trails to choose from ranging from 0.3 miles to 1.4 miles in length.
The Sandstone Canyon Loop Trail is 1.2 miles long and is rated as an easy hike. This enjoyable hike passes over the Sandstone Wash Creek and intersects with Lake Harriet and the Lake Harriet Loop Trail. You can even take your furry friend on this or any of the other five hikes as long as they are leashed up.