Nevada’s scenic byways
Lake Tahoe National Scenic Byway
State Route 28 and Highway 50 skirt the edges of picturesque Lake Tahoe, offering spectacular views of its crystal-clear water and the surrounding mountain forests of the Lake Tahoe Basin.
Mount Rose Scenic Byway
South of Reno, State Route 431 climbs Mount Rose Summit to the 8,911-foot pass, the highest in the state. It’s like sitting on top of the Sierra Nevada world, then descends into the Lake Tahoe Basin.
Pyramid Lake Scenic Byway National Scenic Byway
North of Reno, State Route 445 around Pyramid Lake is the only byway in the nation entirely within an American Indian reservation. The tribe offers fishing permits and boat rentals as well as a visitors center/museum with displays describing the lake’s fascinating history and geology.
Angel Lake Scenic Byway
Sometimes called the “highway to heaven” because it rises several thousand feet to divinely named Angel Lake, the road winds upward through sagebrush and pi-on pine, mountain mahogany, quaking aspen and limber pine. Angel Lake is tucked into a glacial cirque high in the East Humboldt range, south of Wells.
Fort Churchill to Wellington Backcountry Byway
Fort Churchill to Wellington is in west-central Nevada 10 miles east of Carson City. The eastern terminus is near Fort Churchill State Historic Park off Highway 95A. The byway heads west to Dayton and then south to end at the junction with NV 208 near Wellington. It follows NV 2B, Como, Sunrise Pass, and Upper Colony roads for a total of 67 miles. Best to take a 4-wheel drive on this one.
Lamoille Canyon Scenic Byway
The Ruby Mountains of Northeastern Nevada are among the state’s wettest and most lush mountain ranges. Lamoille Canyon, in the heart of the range, offers some of the most spectacular views found in the Rubies. The Lamoille Canyon Road winds around the base of 11,249-foot Ruby Dome and climbs through the glacier-carved canyon.
Those traveling Highway 93 from Highway 50 to Crystal Springs will want to explore Pioche. This mining camp dates back to the 1860s and is filled with historic sites. East of Pioche are Spring Valley and Echo Canyon state parks, each a haven for fishing, camping and hiking. Cathedral Gorge State Park rests to the south. Miller Point, at the north end, offers a good overview of the clay, gothic-like columns and walls. Lush, green farmland stretches from Cathedral Gorge to Caliente, a quiet, former railroad town noted for its imposing mission-style railroad depot. Between Caliente and Crystal Springs, the striking beauty of Oak Springs, and Pahroc Summits engulfs travelers.
The Las Vegas Strip was recently named an All-American Road, a prestigious federal designation awarded to roads recognized nationally and internationally for their outstanding and highly unique qualities. The Strip is the only scenic byway in the world that has the distinction of being as scenic and unique at night as by day. Extraordinary sights include a giant Egyptian pyramid, a medieval castle, the New York City skyline, an Italian lakeside village, the Eiffel Tower, Venetian canals, and a Roman temple. And there is neon everywhere. It’s like no place on earth.
Red Rock Canyon
Located a few miles west of Las Vegas, State Route 159 winds through the 83,100-acre Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area in the shadow of the scenic Spring Mountain Range. A loop trip from Las Vegas can be made in an afternoon. Multi-colored sandstone formations, unique flora, and a large number of animals such as Desert Bighorn Sheep, bobcats, gray foxes and wild burros are seen here often.
Valley of Fire State Park
The Valley of Fire State Park is a fascinating landscape of wind-sculpted red sandstone that is easily one of the Silver State’s most unique desert environments. With the movement of the sun, adventurers traveling in Valley of Fire can see the landscape mutate from benign oranges and browns to deeper, more dramatic shades of crimson and black.
For information, go to http://www.travelnevada.com