Off Road in Nevada

Nevada is a spectacular state with a fascinating history, much of it completely unspoiled. More than half of the state is sparsely populated with less than one person per square mile. This makes it a perfect state for off road adventures. There are literally hundreds of documented off road trails in the state. Most of them are in the western part within a hundred miles of Carson City. Take the time and go off road in Nevada.

Western Nevada is where the romance of Nevada’s history took place. Nevada was founded by Mormons who migrated from neighboring Utah in the 1850s wanting to establish a social paradise. However the discovery of gold and silver in 1858 quickly changed the culture of the state into a capitalist frenzy. The Comstock lode in the Virginia Range of mountains in the North West of Nevada brought silver prospectors from all over the world. With gold and silver discoveries, boom and bust towns sprung over the western part of Nevada.

Places to Go:

Off road journeys in the western part of Nevada will take the curious traveler into a world of wild west history.

  • Take a ride along the Talapoosa Mining District Trail, North of Reno. Climb into the hills of the Virginia Mountains to view the wild horses.
  • Nevada DesertOphir Grade trail starts at Virginia City’s main street. It rises into the hills with broad views of the mines in Gold Canyon.
  • Or head to the southwest part of Nevada and take the Big Dune Trail through the dune hills that reach almost 2,500 feet in elevation.
  • The California Trail in the Northeastern part of Nevada crosses the rutted tire tracks of 150,000 immigrants who headed west into the gold fields 150 years ago.

Things to Remember:

  • Always leave gates as you find them and respect property signs.
  • Never go out alone.
  • Always tell others where you are going, what route you are taking and when you will return.
  • Follow the principle of leaving no trace.
  • Never drink water directly from a stream, lake or pond. Always boil water or use water purification.
  • Bring extra supplies and be prepared for changing conditions.
  • Don’t rely on cell phones or GPS systems. Use up-to-date maps.
  • Be aware of dangers from poisonous animals, poisonous plants, or dangerous areas like rock falls or abandoned mines.

Obey Off Road Laws:

  • Always stay on marked trails. ATVs may only be operated in designated areas on state park lands. Trails are marked with logos for ATVs or SUVs.
  • ATVs may not be operated on paved highways except as provided by law.
  • All off-road vehicles must be registered within 30 days of purchase. Stickers or decals must be visible on them.

Photo credit: MiguelVieira / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Photo credit: Artur Staszewski / Foter / CC BY-SA

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