Nevada Road Trips

The Most Scenic Drives in Nevada

Nevada road trips are among the best in America, in large part due to the huge expanses of open space and the stunning stops along the way. It might be best known for Las Vegas, but the scenic drives all across the state are worth the visit alone.

From world-famous canyons to Lake Tahoe and some great small towns to stop in along the way, there is a route here for everybody. It could be a short day trip for some sightseeing, or a longer vacation over a few days exploring this truly majestic state.

Get ready for open roads, a big sky and make sure to bring lots of water to quench your thirst in that hot Nevada weather…

The Best Nevada Road Trips

1. Red Rock Canyon Scenic Drive

Red Rock Canyon is an area of worldwide geologic interest and beauty; a maze of canyons and peaks, ledges and chimneys, chutes and gullies.

The 13 mile Scenic Drive through Red Rock Canyon allows visitors to explore the highs and lows of the canyon from their vehicle or bicycle, with many scenic stops and and trailheads along the way.

Distance: 13 miles

Route highlights: White Rock, Willow Springs, Red Rock Canyon Overlook

When to do it: Year-round

Photo Cred: teresadrose


2. Big Smoky Valley Scenic Drive

This drive passes through the Big Smoky Valley, cutting into Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest’s snow-topped Toiyabe and Toquima mountain ranges as they rise from the desert. The route then passes the foothills of the San Antonio Mountains before descending into desert and the sweet town of Tonopah.

Distance: 118 miles

Route highlights: Toiyabe Range, Hadley, Carvers, and Kingston.

When to do it: Year-round

Photo Cred: dezcofab1


3. Burner Byway

There’s nothing like a wide-open highway that will make you fall in love with road trips all over again, and there is no better place for a wide-open highway than Nevada! Trace the route Burners take every August on their annual pilgrimage “home” to Burning Man from Reno, out to the Black Rock Desert and beyond.

Distance: 205 miles

Route highlights: Gerlach, Black Rock Desert, Guru Road

When to do it: Year-round

Photo Cred: blackrockdesert


4. Valley of Fire Scenic Byway

Valley of Fire State Park is known for red sandstone formations, which illuminate the valley, making it look like it’s on fire. This byway is just under 11 miles and connects both the east and west entrances of Valley of Fire state park. Just after sunset and just after sunrise, when the rocks are particularly luminous, are the best times to see how the park got its name.

Distance: 10 miles

Route highlights: Elephant Rock Vista, Seven Sisters Vista, Petroglyph Canyon Trail

When to do it: Year-round

Photo Cred: lawrencecastillo


5. Mt. Rose Scenic Drive

At the Northern end of the Lake Tahoe National Scenic Byway, you can pick up one of the state byways, which takes you from the pine forest of Mt. Rose to the desert sagebrush of Reno all in a half-hour’s time – 45 minutes if you take it slowly. It’s a steep lesson in Nevada’s elevation changes, but well worth the 4,000-foot plunge.

Distance: 37 miles

Route highlights: Reno, Mt. Rose Summit, Lake Tahoe

When to do it: Year-round

Photo Cred: dh1530


6. Walker River Scenic Drive

The Walker River Scenic Drive follows gravel roads for its entire distance. The route takes you along a sublime stretch of the East Walker River that’s a must-see to experience the unparalleled beauty of the Silver State.

Distance: 57 miles

Route highlights: East Walker River, Walker Lake, Mt. Grant

When to do it: Year-round

Photo Cred: kendallholback


7. Rainbow Canyon Scenic Drive

This spectacularly scenic 21-mile trip most certainly lives up to its name, serving up landscapes with every colour of the rainbow!

The Rainbow Canyon Scenic Drive skirts the main line of the United Pacific Railroad for its entire length, and one of the reasons Caliente became a town to begin with. To add to the natural beauty of the canyon, count on seeing Union Pacific locomotives running every 20 minutes or so.

Distance: 22 miles

Route highlights: Delamar, Clover Mountains, Meadow Valley Wash, Clover Mountains Wilderness Area

When to do it: Year-round

Photo Cred: colinrecchio


If you are spending time in the state check out 7 Mind-Blowing Airbnbs For The Ultimate Nevada Staycation.