Nevada: A state with bright lights and dazzling natural wonders


STUNNING: Nevada is full of wonders

Instead, I’m 50 miles away in the middle of the desert surrounded by some fabulously photogenic scenery.

The Valley of Fire state park got its name from its unique red sandstone formations.

These were created during the age of dinosaurs and when the sun shines strongly they appear to be on fire as they reflect the rays.

Valley of Fire Park

AMAZING: The Valley of Fire Park got its name from its unique red sandstone formations

“You can stand in the exact spot where USS Enterprise captain James T Kirk died in Star Trek Generations”

Tourists are allowed to climb them via specially-built stairs for the bargain price of $10. They can even set up camp next to them and watch them change colour as the sun goes down.

It’s hardly surprising that this slightly surreal, other-worldly place is such a popular location for filming.

You can stand in the exact spot where USS Enterprise captain James T Kirk died in Star Trek Generations.

The Professionals and Viva Las Vegas were also shot here. Just an hour’s drive from the razzmatazz of Vegas, this naturally beautifully area couldn’t be more different.

In Sin City there’s non-stop entertainment, endless shows on the renowned four-mile strip and elaborate displays that leave you wondering whether they’re tacky or genius.

The Tropicana Hotel, where I stayed, has just undergone a $200million makeover. Its glamorous pool area is the place to hang out on white daybeds and sleek loungers surrounded by waterfalls and palm trees.

There’s even swim-up blackjack, a private island and a Mandara Spa. But once you’ve been dazzled by the bright lights of Vegas, it’s worth venturing out across the arid landscape to discover the heart of America’s seventh largest state.

Nevada is home to four major American Indian tribes – Washoe, Northern Paiute, Southern Paiute and Western Shoshone – whose lives are driven by the land. Take the Duckwater Indian Reservation, on the northern trip of Nye County, for example.

Las Vegas

SIN CITY: Las Vegas offers non-stop entertainment with endless shows on the renowned four-mile

The tribe there still draws water from a large geothermal hot spring where there’s a swimming hole open for public use.

In the Great Basin, in the west of the state, is the Hidden Cave near Fallon. Thousands of years ago it was used by tribes as a storage facility.

Today, it can be visited via a guided tour. Donna Cossette was on hand to show us round and she spoke with raw emotion, recalling tales of how her ancestors from the Fallon Paiute-Shoshone tribe relied on the place to stay alive.

Further north there’s Lake Tahoe, which straddles the border of California and Nevada. It is the highest alpine lake in the United States, 6,225 feet above sea level, and home to some of the best winter ski resorts in the world. In summer, you can jetski, kayak and paddleboard here, as well as enjoy big-name entertainment and casinos.

Meanwhile, Reno is now firmly on the map as one of the coolest cities in the state thanks to the recent renaissance of its downtown arts district.

The Nevada Museum of ArtPR

CULTURE: The Nevada Museum of Art consists of more than 1,900 works of art

The Nevada Museum of Art consists of more than 1,900 works of art, organised around the themes of land and environment, while the Stremmel Gallery specialises in contemporary paintings, drawings and sculpture from American and European artists.

MidTown District has seen an influx of new bars and eateries. Chapel Tavern, whose mantra is “redemption through revelry, deliverance through drink” offers cocktails as well as an afternoon ‘Happ-eritivo Hour’ every weekday.

Brasserie Saint James, located in the historic Crystal Springs building, serves rustic European and American dishes, plus their famous beer brewed on site using mountain water and Pilsner malt.


COOL VIBE: Reno had a recent renaissance of its downtown arts district

Lake TahoeNC

PEACEFUL: Lake Tahoe is the highest alpine lake in the United States

There are plenty of outdoor pursuits to try in Reno including rafting on the Truckee River and hiking through the pine forests of the Ophir Creek Trail.

The Whitney Peak Hotel, next to the historic Reno Arch in the heart of downtown, is also famous for its 164ft climbing wall. Known as BaseCamp, it is the tallest in North America and scales the side of the hotel’s exterior.

Kicking off in May, there will be a year of events leading up to Reno’s 150th birthday celebrations, including parties and parades, so there’s never been a better time to visit.

Getting there: Flights from Heathrow to Las Vegas with Virgin Atlantic are from £634 per person. Book at

Where to stay: A Club Tower King bedroom at Hotel Tropicana, Las Vegas, starts from £63 per night. Book at Grand King rooms at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno are priced from £43. To book, visit

For more information on Nevada, visit

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