As the driest state in the country, it’s hard to imagine Nevada is overflowing with natural waterfalls. In fact, most maps of waterfalls in the nation ignore our state completely. Yet Nevada is home to several hidden waterfalls that will take your breath away.
They’re no Niagara Falls; they’re not as powerful or wide, but the hidden waterfalls of Nevada are impressive in their unexpectedness. Many are an oasis in the desert, formed by melting snow or excessive rainfall, while others flow from rivers and creeks (yes, we have some of those). Depending on the time of year you may be greeted by a gush or a trickle. Either way, Nevada’s hidden waterfalls are a refreshing way to cool off.
1. Kings Canyon Falls - Carson City
Best viewed in the spring, but also worth exploring in summer and fall, the 25-foot Kings Canyon Falls is pretty easy to reach. It’s less than a mile-long hike, making it the ideal trail for families with young children. You may even see some wildlife along the way. To get to the falls, take King Street west from downtown Carson City until you see signage and a parking area for the waterfall trailhead.
2. Hunter Creek Falls - Reno
Hunter Creek Trail on the outskirts of Reno leads you to this beautiful cascading waterfall. Sometimes muddy or snowy (depending on the time of year), the hike passes through gorgeous wilderness and Hunter Creek from the west. It’s considered moderately difficult, about three hours one way, and can be slippery.
To reach the falls, look for the Michael D. Thompson Trailhead at the end of Woodchuck Circle in southwest Reno. There’s a map, picnic tables and a bathroom by the parking lot.
3. Mary Jane Falls – Spring Mountain National Recreation Area, Las Vegas
Located on Mount Charleston, this snow-fed desert waterfall is found two miles into a moderate hike on the Mary Jane Falls trail head, offering scenic views of the pine-covered mountain. Depending on the time of year, it may be more of a trickle (or possibly even frozen), but the rock waterfall is still a refreshing relief from the dry desert heat below. Mary Jane Falls has its own marked trail and parking lot at the end of Kyle Canyon Road.
4. Big Falls– Spring Mountain National Recreation Area, Las Vegas
Also on Mt. Charleston Big Falls splits off from the Mary Jane Falls trail at a signed junction for a campground that formerly was washed away in a flood. The moderate hike to Big Falls is also about four miles round-trip. When active, the waterfall between the limestone cliffs and falls into a pool of water.
VIDEO This is an unofficial trail, but it’s worth the scramble—though not for the novice hiker.
5. First Creek Waterfall – Las Vegas
A good family hike, this is one of the smaller hidden waterfalls in Las Vegas. It is located outside the Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area between the fee area and Bonnie Springs Ranch. Just look for the First Creek parking area along SR 159 and follow the trail. The shady waterfall, when flowing, pills into a large pool filled with fish and other creatures. Though the trail can get confusing it shouldn’t take more than a couple hours.
6. Ice Box Canyon Waterfall – Red Rock Conservation Area, Las Vegas
It’s best to visit the 160-foot Ice Box Canyon waterfall after the rain; you may even see multiple waterfalls along the way. The moderate to difficult hike through the gorgeous red rocks, trees, cacti and wildflowers will take you about two hours roundtrip. It can be strenuous at times, so be prepared.
VIDEO To get there, take the Scenic Loop past the turn for Willow Springs and park in the Icebox Canyon parking lot.
7. Thomas Canyon waterfalls –Lamoille Canyon
Located about 30 miles from Elko in Lamoille Canyon, Thomas Canyon will almost always reward you with beautiful hidden waterfalls. The 2.5-mile, family-friendly trail to the top of the canyon begins at the campground. Thanks to almost year-round snow at Lamoille Canyon, you can expect to come across several waterfalls along the way.
8. Lost Creek - Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area, Las Vegas
Located along the scenic loop drive at Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area, the Lost Creek Canyon Trail is an easy path for the entire family and young children. It’s less than a mile and leads you directly to the 200-foot waterfall. You can even stand beneath the water. To get there, follow signs for Willow Springs Picnic Area and Lost Creek Trail on Rocky Gap Road. There is a small parking area.
If you plan to explore any of Nevada’s hidden waterfalls, you’re probably in for a hike. Be sure to bring drinking water, sunscreen, good shoes and a camera.