Each of these five areas of natural beauty in Nevada becomes even more stunning in the fall. Find out where they are and what to do once you’re there.
Valley of Fire State Park
Valley of Fire State Park is Nevada’s oldest and largest state park, located about an hour northeast of Las Vegas. It’s home to stunning red sandstone formations, ancient petroglyphs, and a diverse desert landscape (40,000 acres of it, to be exact!).
The park is especially beautiful in the fall, when the temperatures are cooler and the leaves of the cottonwood trees turn golden. Other times of year, you might feel like you’re in a literal valley of fire, which is far from wonderful!
One of the most popular attractions in the park is the Fire Wave, a swirling red sandstone formation that resembles a wave. Other attractions include the White Domes, a series of white sandstone domes that contrast beautifully with the red rocks; the Beehives, a series of tall, thin sandstone formations that resemble beehives; and Elephant Rock, a sandstone formation that — you guessed it — resembles an elephant.
The park also offers a variety of hiking trails, ranging from easy to strenuous. Some of the most popular trails include the Fire Wave Trail, White Domes Loop, and Mouse’s Tank Trail, which takes you through the famous Petroglyph Canyon.
Great Basin National Park
Great Basin National Park is a hidden gem located in eastern Nevada, about four hours northeast of Las Vegas. The park is home to towering limestone peaks, alpine meadows, and pristine lakes. It’s also home to Lehman Caves, a spectacular system of limestone caves with intricate cave formations.
In addition to the caves, one of the most popular attractions in the park is Wheeler Peak. The 7.3-mile-long trail that takes you to the peak is open for hiking, horseback riding, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing. Another popular attraction is Bristlecone Pine Trail, a 3.5-mile loop trail that passes through a grove of ancient bristlecone pine trees.
The park offers a variety of other hiking trails as well, ranging from easy to strenuous. Some of the most popular trails include Alpine Lakes Trail, Baker Creek Trail, and Lehman Creek Trail. No matter which trail you choose to embark on, you’ll want to bring a camera to capture the changing leaves and stunning views.
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is so naturally stunning that you won’t believe it’s located just 17 miles west of the Las Vegas strip. The park is home to petroglyphs that are thousands of years old and towering, red sandstone cliffs. It’s especially beautiful in the fall, when the leaves of the cottonwood trees turn golden.
One of the most popular attractions in the park is the Scenic Drive, a 13-mile loop that offers stunning views of the red rock cliffs. Timed entry reservations are required from Oct. 1 to May 31. If you want to explore by foot rather than car or bike, consider hiking the Calico Tanks Trail, which is a 2.6-mile loop trail that passes through a series of red rock formations, or the Keystone Thrust Trail, a 1.3-mile loop trail that offers views of the Keystone Thrust fault line.
The park also offers a variety of other hiking and biking trails, ranging from easy to strenuous. Some of the most popular trails include the Ice Box Canyon Trail, the Lost Creek Canyon Trail, and the Turtlehead Peak Trail.
Black Rock Desert
The Black Rock Desert is located in northwestern Nevada, about 3.5 hours northeast of Reno. The desert is home to the annual Burning Man festival, but it’s a beautiful and unique place to visit year-round. The desert is covered in a thick layer of black sand and is home to a variety of geothermal features.
One of the most popular attractions in the desert is Fly Geyser, a geothermal feature that shoots 199-degree water five feet in the air. Other popular attractions include the Black Rock Hot Springs, a series of hot springs located in the northern part of the desert; and the Black Rock City site, the location of the annual Burning Man festival.
The desert also offers a variety of other activities, such as hiking, camping, and birdwatching. Two of the most popular hiking trails include Black Rock Desert Loop Trail and Black Rock Hot Springs Trail.
Cathedral Gorge State Park
Cathedral Gorge State Park is located in southeastern Nevada, about 2.5 hours northeast of Las Vegas. The park is home to a series of slot canyons, giant rock formations, and petroglyphs.
One of the most popular attractions in the park is Miller’s Point, a 2-mile hike that leads to a staircase and overlook area. If you time it right, you’ll get excellent views of the autumn sunset. Other popular attractions include the Moon and Cathedral Caves as well as Bullionville Cemetery, which dates back to the 1800s and is the perfect place to visit during the spooky season. The park also offers camping and a variety of hiking trails, ranging from easy to strenuous. Some of the most popular trails include Juniper Draw Loop , Cathedral Gorge Nature Loop, and Eagle Point.
This story was generated in part by AI and edited by The Nevadan staff.
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