One of the most fun things you can do at the spur of the moment is take a day trip. Exploring ghost towns, visiting an old saloon, and touring one of the greatest dams ever built are just a few of the many things you can do on a Nevada day trip. Listed below are 10 Nevada day trips that are an absolute must-do.
1. Red Rock Canyon
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is approximately 17 miles from the Las Vegas strip and has some of the most beautiful scenery you'll ever see. At Red Rock Canyon, there are many different types of activities you can participate in such as hiking, biking, rock climbing and horseback riding. Spring Mountain Ranch State Park and Bonnie Springs Ranch are also located within the conservation area. Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area is located at: 1000 Scenic Loop Dr, Las Vegas, NV 89161.
2. Gold Point
Gold Point was first settled by ranchers in the 1880s. During the boom of the mining industry, around 2,000 people referred to Gold Point as their home. Now it only has a population of 7. Because Gold Point is such a well-preserved ghost town, 50 buildings are still standing for your viewing pleasure. If you take a day trip to Gold Point, you might be lucky enough to catch the High Desert Drifters Western Historical Society perform theme reenactments and gun fights in the town plaza. If interested, you can also take a tour of the town on your own. The town may be small, but it's full of great history. Gold Point is located approximately 4 hours outside of Las Vegas.
3. Hoover Dam
If you're vacationing in Las Vegas, Hoover Dam is the perfect place to visit for a day trip. Hoover Dam is only a 35 mile drive from the Las Vegas strip and it's one of the greatest engineering achievements ever constructed. Hoover Dam attracts more than a million visitors each year and is located at: U.S. Hwy 93, Boulder City, NV 89005.
Rhyolite was once a mining town of about 10,000 people and had over 50 saloons and 18 grocery stores. Sadly, all that's left now are crumbing foundations. Rhyolite is a true ghost town and upon arrival, you're on your own to explore the ruins. The famous Goldwell Open Air Museum is located in this popular ghost town. Rhyolite is one of the most photographed ghost towns in the West and is located 4 miles outside of Beatty on Hwy 374.
5. Carson City
Carson City is perfect for a day trip. The best way to tour Carson City is to follow the Kit Carson Trail - a 2.5 mile walking tour that follows a blue painted line outlining Carson City's historic district. While in Carson City, be sure to visit the State Capitol Building, Nevada State Museum, and Nevada Railroad Museum. Carson City is located about 30 miles outside of Reno.
6. Pyramid Lake
Pyramid Lake is the largest remaining section of Lake Lahontan. As you travel to the lake, you'll be driving through high desert scrub and wondering how much longer until you arrive. Out of nowhere, you'll finally get a great view of the beautiful lake and realize the crazy drive was well worth it! Pyramid Lake is located about 30 miles northeast of Sparks.
7. Virginia City
In Virginia City, you'll get the chance to view many historic churches, homes and cemeteries. You'll also get the chance to explore the mining districts that were responsible for the town's history. A few of the other places you can check out if you decide to take a day trip to Virginia City include: Mark Twain Museum, Piper's Opera House, Western Historic Radio Museum and Comstock Gold Mill. Virginia City is located about 20 miles outside of Reno.
8. Fort Churchill
Fort Churchill was built to protect the early settlers of Nevada, and most of it was completely abandoned by the late 1800s. If you decide to visit Fort Churchill, you'll have the chance to walk through the old fort ruins and imagine what life was like back when Fort Churchill was thriving. There are quite a few facilities at Fort Churchill such as trails, a picnic area and access areas to the Carson River. Fort Churchill is located about 8 miles south of Silver Springs on U.S. 95A.
Most people travel to Goodsprings to visit the Pioneer Saloon. The Pioneer Saloon opened in 1913 and is one of the oldest saloons in Nevada. Upon entering the Pioneer Saloon, you'll find an interesting memorial room filled with photos from celebrity visitors. An assortment of souvenirs is sold next door at the Goodsprings General Store. The Pioneer Saloon is open 24/7 and is located at: 310 W Spring St, Goodsprings, NV 89019.
10. Ward Charcoal Ovens
The Ward Charcoal Ovens, located in White Pine County, Nevada, are 6 beehive-shaped ovens that were built during the late 1800s to provide charcoal for two silver smelters in the area. As soon as the ovens were no longer in use, they were used as a hideout for stagecoach bandits. Today, the Ward Charcoal Ovens are part of a Nevada state park. To get to the Ward Charcoal Ovens, you'll need to drive approximately 7 miles south from Ely on U.S. Highways 6-50-93. Then you'll need to drive approximately 11 miles southwest on Cave Valley Road. These ovens are such WONDERFUL pieces of Nevada history!