If this is your first time here – WELCOME! If not, welcome back!! As full-time RV’ers we travel and see a lot. This is part of our Opting Out of Normal series where we explore the hidden treasures in every state. We love the big popular attractions like everyone else, but there is just something incredible about discovering something unique and different. We love finding the road less traveled and taking it. We certainly can’t explore them all, so we’d love you to share your own off the beaten path stories with us. Each series will include at least 1 epic boondocking area, with GPS coordinates.
We love Nevada – but as most full-time travelers, it’s only fun in the right weather. We were lucky enough to visit when the weather was cool and had a great time exploring.
By all means visit the Valley of Fire and the Lehman Caves. I always feel a little bad when I write these blogs, because I want to make sure everyone knows we do explore those places too. And we think they are fantastic, breathtaking places. But we also know not many people know about the small, unique places that you on the roads less traveled and are uniquely grand. Hint: If you visit the Valley of Fire, make sure you take the easy short hike The Mouse Tank Trail. And make sure you get to the end and see the Mouse Tank. Super cool! Another popular place not to miss is Mono Lake. They call it hauntingly beautiful for a reason!
Nevada is covered with ruins, abandoned mining towns and even older ghost towns.
So … Here you go!
Little Finland is located in a remote part of Southern Nevada by the Gold Butte National Monument. You’ll need either a vehicle with 4WD to reach it, or you can make a 12 mile hike from a more accessible area in. It’s definitely worth the trip! I mean look at this!! The red rock formations here are very unusual, and account for the area’s other nickname, “Hobgoblin’s Playground.” To get there, drive north on the I-15 towards Mesquite and take exit 112, then drive down New Gold Butte Road (about 40 minutes). As you get closer to the area you will need a high clearance vehicle. The other option is to hike in from Gold Butte Road, 3-1/2 miles south of the junction at Whitney Pocket. Seriously don’t miss this! If you have to borrow or rent a 4WD vehicle to get in, do it. You won’t regret it. The formations are the most unique and crazy things you’ve ever seen.
Beaver Dam State Park
Beaver Dam State Park is one of Nevada’s parks that may not get as much attention as other larger ones. This park, just off the Utah border near Panaca, and is a real hidden gem. Camping, fishing and hiking are typical activities, as well as photography. The park is a “Watchable Wildlife Area” with many opportunities to see beavers (of course!), foxes, bobcats, mule deer, and even mountain lions. You can reach the park by taking US-93 north toward Panaca and to Beaver Dam Road.
Lake Tahoe is a pretty popular place, but have you seen Bonsai Rock? Easy to see from the road. Bonsai Rock is about a 20 mile drive from Carson City, between Hidden Beach and Sand Harbor Overlook along Rt. 28. Once there, you’ll see a couple of foot paths down to the water. It’s a little steep, but just a few yards to the shore. Just a really fantastic stop for lunch or some neat photography.
Rhyolite Ghost Town
Do you love ghost towns? We do!! Rhyolite is a ghost town in Nye County. It is in the Bullfrog Hills, about 120 miles northwest of Las Vegas, near the eastern edge of Death Valley. The town began in early 1905 as one of several mining camps that sprang up after a prospecting discovery in the surrounding hills. The story ending is sad like most ghost towns, but you really will feel quite “in the moment” if you visit this place.
Paddling the Black Rock Canyon
Visiting the Hoover Dam is a classic Nevada experience. But have you done any kayaking or rafting near this manmade wonder? Watch for bighorn sheep, ospreys, and great blue herons. Rafting this natural gorge is a once in a lifetime experience. Expect visits to the photogenic Emerald Cove, hot springs soaks, and lunch on a perfect sandy beach by the river. The Black Canyon section of the Colorado River is entirely flat water. There’s not even a hint of rapid. So even if it’s your first time paddling, you shouldn’t really run into any problems doing it self-guided. When the shuttle driver drops you off with your boat at the launch point, they will provide you with a map showing all of the cool spots to check out along the river. There are also mile markers on the river bank, so it is easy to navigate and keep track of your progress. On the flip side, if you are feeling a little nervous about doing this trip self-guided, it’s totally worth inquiring about a guided kayak tour. A tour guide will be able to tell you all about the local geology and make sure you don’t miss the best canyon sites. There are a few different kayak business’ in the area you can check out. We personally love our inflatable Sea Eagle Kayaks. We’ve used them a lot in the last 3 years, and they are extremely well made!
- Lake Mead – You’ll find a lot of amazing big rig friendly areas to camp around Lake Mead. We personally stayed in two locations here. Government Wash (GPS: 36.130915, -114.837129) and Stewarts Point (GPS: 36.378967, -114.401642) Both had great cell coverage, and amazing views. Government Wash had large dumpsters at the entry way but Stewarts point did not have dumpsters or trash cans. No hookups. No water available at either. You can camp for free if you have your National Park Pass. Otherwise, fees are: $20 for 7 days or $40 for the year.
- Sand Mine Road – GPS: 36.471602, -114.440813. Dispersed camping on BLM land near Valley of Fire State Park and Lake Mead. Level, quiet, and wide open. Full sun. Services and a dump station are 7 miles away in Overton. The road in is in great shape for the first few miles. Great cell service. Highly recommend not going in the summer. Temps can be over 100* even at night.
- Logandale Trails System – GPS: 36.593724, -114.526805. Logandale Trails System is open Year round. Big rig friendly. No limit here. It’s wide open. Can get extremely hot in the summer. If you time it right in the spring or Fall it’ll be beautiful!
Have you found a secret, off the beaten path place in Nevada? We’d love to hear about it. Thank you very much for heading to our little corner of the internet to check out our epic finds. We hope you Live Simply ~ Give More and Expect Less!
Since you know this is a series, we hope you’re following along and enjoying all the other states too. We’d love you to share these blogs with your friends! Here are just a few!