Nevada blooms with adventure this spring
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Nevada blooms with adventure this spring

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Mount Jefferson

Hiking on Mount Jefferson in central Nevada. Mount Jefferson is one of the five tallest peaks in Nevada. Do you know what the other four are?

CARSON CITY — Rockhounds, nature-lovers and adventure-seekers have their fun cut out for them this spring in the Silver State. Rounding out the recreation: a tasty food and beverage scene and a calendar full of festivals.

All you need for spring in Nevada is a map, a buddy and a knockout playlist for your road trip. Here, TravelNevada offers suggestions for an epic experience.

Hunt for gold and garnets –– Nevada is known as the Silver State because of its prolific silver mines of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These days, the state is a major gold producer — Nevada mines generated 5.6 million ounces of gold in 2017, according to the Nevada Division of Minerals — with much of the mining activity in the Elko/northern Nevada area. For information on mine tours, visit the Elko Convention and Visitors Authority web page. For more hidden gems, head to Garnet Hill outside of Ely. At this federally managed rockhounding site, hunt for garnets in the area’s volcanic outcroppings. For more information, visit the Bureau of Land Management’s Garnet Hill page.

Spot a baby animal –– Nevada has vast swaths of public land: beautiful landscapes supporting various mammal and bird species. Spot gangly spring ponies in the Carson Valley, Bighorn lambs roaming Valley of Fire, or find baby burros throughout the Black Rock Desert. Birders may want to visit the Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge near Fallon, where over 300 species of birds can be found across 79,000 acres of marshes and desert landscapes.

Hike the Nevada Big Five –– With 320 named mountain ranges, more than 172 summits and eight ultra-prominent peaks, Nevada is the most mountainous state in the lower 48. With sunny days and mild temperatures, the state’s five tallest peaks are well worth the climb. Hit the road this spring to discover them all.

1. Mount Charleston, 11,916 feet (part of the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area)

2. Mount Jefferson, 11,949 feet (part of the Alta Toquima Wilderness in central Nevada)

3. Mount Moriah, 12,073 feet (part of the Mount Moriah Wilderness north of Ely)

4. Wheeler Peak, 13,064 feet (inside Great Basin National Park in Baker)

5. Boundary Peak, 13,147 feet (inside Boundary Peak Wilderness near Dyer)

Cin Cin! Treat yourself to Italian cuisine and farm-to-flask distilleries –– Eataly Las Vegas has opened a new location in Las Vegas at the Park MGM. The gastronomic marketplace brings Italian culture to southern Nevada with 40,000 square feet of cafes, bars, chef’s counters, markets and restaurants. Inspired by the motto “anything is possible,” Eataly Las Vegas is open 24 hours and features cooking classes, wine on tap, street food from Rome, three pizza kitchens, fresh pasta and a Nutella bar.

In northern Nevada, the newly opened Bently Heritage Estate Distillery in Minden embraces a farm-to-flask culture, with liquor made from grains grown on the nearby Bently Ranch. The distillery is one of four estate distilleries in the country and occupies the 100-year-old Minden flour mill.

Spring Road Trip: The Reno-Tahoe Loop. Nevada is 110,572 square miles – the seventh largest state in the Union. It is made for road tripping, and TravelNevada has developed 10 signature road trips that take travelers from mountains to deserts, through ghost towns and on byways.

Drive the Reno-Tahoe Loop this spring, starting in the hip, eclectic and growing city of Reno. Enjoy the burgeoning Midtown and Riverwalk districts, with boutique shopping, craft beer, farm-to-table restaurants and a Burning Man-inspired art scene.

Then head to North Lake Tahoe for some alpine adventure and mountain culture. Rediscover the glamour of the 1950s at the Tahoe Biltmore or the Crystal Bay Casino –– two historical lakefront properties. In Stateline, enjoy a round of golf at Edgewood Tahoe — the golf resort’s newly opened Lodge at Edgewood Tahoe was named No. 1 Resort Hotel in the U.S. by Travel + Leisure in 2018.

Explore the past at the Genoa Bar in Genoa; which dates back to 1853 and claims to be “Nevada’s oldest thirst parlor,” or check out the Transcontinental Railroad Exhibit commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad at the Nevada State Railroad Museum in Carson City.

Celebrate spring, Nevada-style. Embrace Nevada’s unique and quirky festivals, dirt bike races through haunted ghost towns and Dutch oven cooking. Here is a list of upcoming events.

  • Genoa Western Heritage Days, April 26-28. Nevada’s oldest settlement celebrates its history with cowboy poetry, American Indian demonstrations, live music and Dutch oven cooking.
  • Virginia City Grand Prix, April 27-28. Dirt bikers race through the mountains, old mining roads and the historic and haunted Virginia City.
  • Wild West Extravaganza, May 3-5. A youth rodeo, outhouse races, trail rides and more are scheduled for this event celebrating southern Nevada’s Wild West heritage in Pahrump.
  • Reno River Festival, May 11-12. Music, craft beer vendors, and an adventure park with rides are part of the fun at this event in downtown Reno.

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