|Nevada is an arid state of the USA, lying between California and Utah. Most of the state is within the Great Basin, while the southern portion is within the Mohave desert and the Colorado river drainage. Its official nickname is "The Silver State". Other nicknames include "The Sagebrush State" and "The Battle-Born State". Located in the western United States, best known for its legalization of gambling and prostitution (in some counties). It also has some of the country's strictest drug laws. The capital is Carson City. |
Nevada achieved statehood in 1864, becoming the 36th state, despite its tiny population. The primary purpose of this early grant of statehood was to pack congress with two more Senators and thus help preserve Northern/Republican dominance in the post-civil war era. At the time, Nevada's economy was dominated by the mining industry, thus tying the state to the industrialized North. Nevada was also seen as a counter-balance to the more agrarian and confederate-sympathizing California.
Over the years, Nevada's economy has diversified somewhat into agriculture, light industry, distribution, and gaming. However, over 87% of the land in Nevada is still owned by the Federal Government.
There are fairly large cultural differences between Urban and Rural areas. The urban areas, consisting of the Reno and Las Vegas areas, are heavily dependent on tourism and thus very welcoming to outsiders. In addition, these areas have seen a huge influx of immigration in recent years from both inside and outside the USA and thus have a cosmopolitan feel. In a gambling town, everyone's your friend as long as you have money. Recent immigrants from California are widely complained about (especially by the less recent immigrants from California), but that's about the extent of it. Rural folk in Nevada are about like rural folk in the rest of the US, except more so. Although they are mostly conservative and highly individualistic, you'll be surprised by their helpful, easy going nature and tolerance of people that they don't feel threatened by. As the entire rural economy of Nevada is dependent on access to Federal lands for mining and grazing, environmental activists, and BLM and US Forest Service employees may be viewed as a threat. Young and hip people, especially from the north-eastern US, may be assumed to belong to one of those groups.
Most of Nevada is cold desert, except the Las Vegas area. Daily temperature swings can be drastic, and sub-freezing nighttime temperatures are the norm throughout the winter. Be prepared for winter conditions between October and April. Autumn and spring are especially dangerous, as winter storms can intrude on summer-like conditions with astonishing speed. Summer precipitation is rarer, but often more intense and can cause flash-floods. A hat, long shirt, long pants, sunblock and plenty of water is your best bet for avoiding heat stroke and sunburn in the summer.
There's an awful lot of desert to explore in Nevada, and it's very easy to leave civilization behind. While that is a worthy goal, common sense is necessary to avoid life-threatening situations. Here's some tips for traveling to the more remote desert areas of Nevada:
Vehicle breakdown is the easiest way to get into a survival situation in the desert. Don't travel far from the pavement in a low-clearance vehicle. Four wheel drive is strongly recommended for the winter months, and is necessary for traveling unpaved mountain roads in the winter. It is best to travel in a convoy of multiple vehicles, so that one breakdown will not strand you. Gas stations are few, far between, and often not open around the clock, so it is a good idea to carry extra fuel. If you do break down or run out of fuel, your best bet is to stay with the vehicle unless you're within 10 miles or so of civilization - Odds are that someone will come by in a day or two.
Nevada is criss-crossed with unpaved roads, some of which are maintained, most of which are not. Due to the slow growth rate of vegetation, once a road is established it can remain passable for decades with no maintenance and little traffic. Few roads have culverts, so be on the look-out for washed out areas. These generally aren't a problem if traversed slowly, but can cause serious damage if you don't slow down in time.
The boundaries between grazing allotments are fenced as are the boundaries between public and private land. On higher volume roads there will be a "cattle-guard" on the road which is passable by vehicles but not by cattle. Lower volume roads will have a gate across the road. Always leave the gate in the same condition as you found it - if open leave it open, if closed make sure you close it behind you. Gates leading into private land will sometimes be locked or marked with a "No Trespassing" sign, in which case you should respect the property owner's wishes and find another way to get where you want to go.
In open rangeland (just about everywhere in Nevada), cattle have the right-of-way. It is not uncommon for ranchers to leave hay and water for their stock close to a road, and thus it is not uncommon to encounter herds of cattle on or near the road. You should always slow way down for these herds, as the calves especially have a nasty habit of running out in front of cars. You break it, you buy it.
Navigation in Nevada is fairly easy if you keep your wits about you. The poverty of vegetation gives astonishingly long sight distance, and mountain ranges are ubiquitous for reference. Large-scale topographic maps of the entire state are available in bound form at most bookstores and many gas stations. These should be sufficient for most purposes. Smaller scale topographic maps are published by the US Geologic Survey (USGS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and can be purchased at outdoors-oriented stores (such as the REI in Reno) or photocopied at the University of Nevada-Reno (UNR) library. The BLM maps tend to be more up-to-date with regards to roads, but are more difficult to find. Due to the small scale of these maps, they are not practical for long-range vehicle travel, but can be very useful on hiking trips.
Las Vegas brings countless attractions ranging from the ever-popular casinos, stunning hotels and spectacular shows. Some of the highlights include:
Caesars Palace - experience the free Fall of Atlantis fountain show or stop by the exotic car showroom among many options
Circus Circus - the world's largest permanent circus
Imperial Palace Hotel & Casino is home to Auto Collections, a rotating display of more than 300 classic cars. It's also the location of the nation's first off-airport airline baggage check-in service.
Skydive Las Vegas - 1-800-U-SKYDIV or 702-759-3483
Vegas Extreme Skydiving - 1-866-EXT-JUMP or 702-303-3914
Las Vegas Gravity Zone Skydiving Center - (702) 456-3802
Las Vegas Soaring Center - Glider plane flying adventures - (702) 874-1010
Take a relaxing gondola ride at the Venetian Hotel or visit either Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum or the Guggenheim Hermitage Museum both found there
Experience thrill rides at the Stratosphere including "Insanity" which spins you in the air at 3 G's
Visit the aquarium that holds more than 5,000 exotic fish at the Silverton Hotel
Check out the dolphins, lions and tigers at the Mirage
Star Trek fans will enjoy the Star Trek experience at the Las Vegas Hilton
Eiffel Tower Experience where you can view the Las Vegas strip from 460 feet above ground
Eagleriders-Las Vegas - (702) 876-8687
Other attractions around Nevada include:
Great Basin National Park - One of the lesser known National Parks and one of the newest national parks in the system, and therefore not so crowded or over-developed. It also is somewhat small, but has some lovely campgrounds and some nice hiking trails. Beware the altitude as the upper campground is around ten thousand feet. The aspens in autumn make this park SPECTACULAR!! Truly breathtaking!
Death Valley National Park is partly in Nevada and offers great camping and hiking year round
Other Recreation areas maintained by the National Park Service include California National Historic Trail, Lake Mead National Recreation Area , Old Spanish National Historic Trail and Pony Express National Historic Trail.
A.J. Hackett Bungy - Bungy Jumping... need we say more? - 810 Circus Circus Dr, (702) 385-4321
Desert Fox Hummer Tours - (702) 798-4866
Desert Odyssey Tours - (702) 837-7552
Escape Adventures Bike Shop & Tour Center - (702) 596-2953
Exotic Transportation - (702) 837-2666
Get It Wet - (702) 558-7547
Gun Store, The - Looking to shoot a real machine gun? - 2900 E Tropicana, (702) 454-1110
Hummer Tours - (702) 798-4866
Rebel Adventure Tours - (702) 380-6969
Single Track Tours - Offers Mountain Bike and Hiking Tours in the Las Vegas and Southern Utah Areas. - (702) 813-5750
The Reno Ice Pavilion is a 16,000-square-foot rink once dismantled and moved to Reno from Atlantic City, New Jersey
Once the highest concrete dam in the world, Hoover Dam offers guided tours and a museum of artifacts of the construction and its workers.
Las Vegas boasts an wide array of impressive hotels that combine both entertainment and attractions as part of the experience. This city has more hotel rooms than any other place on earth and holds most of the world's largest hotels. .Prices for these memorable stays range from a couple hundred dollars to well into the thousands of dollars per night. Another option is opting for a vacation rental, primarily condos and suites, that are ideal if you are planning for an extended stay. For those traveling in RV's, there are a handful of parks in close proximity.
Accommodations outside of Las Vegas aren't nearly as prevalent. Most hotels are found in the Reno-Tahoe region. Throughout Nevada you will find a small range of lodging options ranging from bed & breakfasts to guest ranches, but the majority of choices are found in these two areas.
| || |
City of light, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A.
McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas is one of the busiest airports in the United States.
The Reno-Tahoe International Airport (formerly known as the Reno Cannon International Airport) is the other major airport in the state.
Amtrak's California Zephyr train uses the Union Pacific's original transcontinental railroad line in a daily service from Chicago to Emeryville, California serving Elko, Winnemucca, Sparks, and Reno. Amtrak Thruway Motorcoaches also provide fast, frequent and clean dedicated connecting service from Las Vegas to trains at Needles, California, Los Angeles, and Bakersfield, California; and from Stateline, Nevada, to Sacramento, California.
Union Pacific Railroad has some railroads in the north and in the south.
Greyhound Lines provides some bus services.
Las Vegas has a bus network and a monorail system that is being extended.
Interstate 15 passes through the southern tip of the state, serving Las Vegas and other communities. It has spur routes I-215 and I-515. Interstate 80 crosses through the northern part of Nevada, roughly following the path of the Humboldt River from Utah in the east and passing westward through Reno and into California. It has a spur route, I-580. Nevada also is served by several federal highways: US 6, US 50, US 93, US 95 and US 395. There are also 189 Nevada state highways. Nevada is one of a few states in the U.S. that does not have a continuous interstate highway linking its major population centers: Reno/Carson City and Las Vegas. Even the non-interstate federal highways aren't contiguous between its two largest cities, though they are well marked by signs showing where to turn.
The state is one of just a few in the country that allow semi-trailer trucks with three trailerswhat might be called a "road train" in Australia. However, American versions are usually smaller, in part because they must ascend and descend some fairly steep mountain passes.
RTC RIDE operates a well-structured frequent system of local transit buses throughout the Reno-Sparks metropolitan area.
Other transit systems in the state include Carson City's JAC. Some counties do not have public transport at all, e.g. Storey, Eureka, Lander, and Nye.
In 1999 Nevada had 205,726 slot machines, one for every 10 residents.
In Death Valley, the Kangaroo Rat can live its entire life without drinking a drop of liquid.
Nevada has more mountain ranges than any other state.
Nevada is the largest gold-producing state in the nation. It is second in the world behind South Africa.