71 Interesting Facts About Nevada

Last updated on January 23rd, 2024

Nevada is the 32nd most populous and the 7th most extensive of the 50 states of the United States. It lies in the western region of the United States. The state attained statehood on October 31, 1864, becoming the 36th state to join the union. Nevada shares its border with Idaho, Oregon, Utah, Arizona, CaliforniaSee the full list of the 50 states and their borders here. Nevada (nicknamed: the “Silver State”, the “Battle Born State” and the “Sagebrush State”) has 16 counties. The state’s capital is Carson City. The postal abbreviation for Nevada is NV. With these facts about Nevada, let us learn more about its history, geography, people, economy and more.

Facts About Nevada 

1. The name of the state, Nevada, is an old Spanish word meaning “snow-covered.” That appellation refers to the white-topped Sierra Nevada Mountains, which inspired early settlers to name the place after one of the area’s most beautiful sights.

2. There were only nine counties when the state of Nevada was formed in 1861. The rest were only established in the next fifty years.

3. Nevada was the first state to ratify the 15th amendment, on March 1, 1869. The amendment gave the African American men the right to vote. One day after it was ratified, Thomas Mundy Peterson of Perth Amboy, New Jersey, became the first black person to vote under the authority of the 15th Amendment.

4. Did you know that the longest telegram sent in the US is the state constitution of Nevada? The governor, James Nye, sent it to President Abraham Lincoln in 1864.

Nevada on the map


5. There’s no corporate or individual tax in Nevada.

6. Except for fundraisers and church raffles for charity, lotteries are illegal in the state of Nevada, according to the infamous law known as “four-twenty-four,” which indicates the state legal code, Article IV, Section 24.

7. The first train robbery in Neva ṃ̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̣̇da took place on November 4, 1870. About $40,000 in gold coins were stolen, but the robbers were all caught, and 90 percent of the gold was recovered. 

8. The Federal Government owns more than 80 percent of Nevada. It is a weird fact, considering that only about 28 percent of the rest of the US is federally owned.

Fly geyser - Nevada USA
Fly geyser – Nevada USA

9. A drilling accident in 1916 unintentionally burst opened a below-ground geothermal vein. The result is a 5-foot by 25-foot (at the base) spout known as Fly Geyser. It’s on private land about 20 miles north of the town of Gerlach.

10. The Great Basin National Park in Nevada is notable for its groves of ancient bristlecone pines, the oldest known nonclonal organisms. One of the species of this pine tree is more than 5,000 years old, making it the oldest known individual of any species.

11. Did you know that on a clear moonless night in Great Basin National Park, the Milky Way, man-made satellites, meteors and thousands of other stars can be seen with the naked eye?

US Route 50
U.S. Route 50 is a “non-Interstate” U.S. Highway that crosses the U.S. from California (West Sacramento) to Maryland (Ocean City). It crosses many deserts, great cities, and many small towns. Image credit – Mobilus In Mobili

12. U.S. Route 50 (US 50) cuts directly across the center of the state of Nevada, and includes the section, which was famously nicknamed “The Loneliest Road in America” by the now-defunct Life Magazine back in 1986. The highway’s 408 miles traverses desert, mountain valleys and otherwise uninhabited areas known for their high boredom factor among long-haul drivers. The total length of the route is 3,000 miles (4,800 km) linking Ocean City, Maryland on the Atlantic Ocean to West Sacramento, California, on the Pacific Ocean.

13. Life Magazine meant the term “The Loneliest Road in America” as something of a criticism, but state officials decided to use the term in advertising, and the ploy worked. Not only did the nick-name seem to intrigue the public, it actually boosted tourism among curious drivers who wanted to see what the desolate stretch of road was like.

14. The richest known deposit of silver in the United States was discovered on Mt. Davidson in the Virginia Range, in western Nevada.

15. Always known as the Silver State, Nevada’s own gold rush began in 1961 when the Newmont Mining Company announced the discovery of a vast area of gold ore in the Gold Canyon region of the state. Humboldt County is the modern-day location for most of the gold-mining activity on the part of amateur miners who come to Nevada seeking their fortunes. Other, less adventuresome fortune-seekers head to the gambling tables of Las Vegas.

16. Compared to the California Gold Rush of 1848, the modern Nevada Gold Rush is by far the larger of the two, producing more gold over a longer period of time. California’s rush only lasted for seven years. Nevada’s has been going on since 1961.

17. Three of the world’s top ten producing gold mines are in the US and all of them are in Nevada: Carlin, Cortez, and Goldstrike.

18. Nevada is now a major gold-producing region, second only to South Africa. In 2015 alone, the state produced more than $6 billion worth of gold or about 165 tons of the sparkly stuff. That amount accounted for nearly 80 percent of ALL gold mined in the U.S. that year.

Untreated turquoise, Nevada, US.
Untreated turquoise, Nevada, US. Rough nuggets from the McGinness Mine, Austin. Blue and green cabochons showing spiderweb, Bunker Hill Mine, Royston. Image in public domain

19. Nevada is one of the top producers of Turquoise in the U.S.

20. The Lunar Crater landmark site in Nye County features a 400-acre crater that resulted from a long-ago volcanic explosion, so the theory goes. The odd place was designated a national natural landmark in 1973. Before that, it was a training location for NASA astronauts who were headed to the moon.

21. Just southwest of Groom Lake (by about 12 miles) is the Sedan Crater. It’s the result of a 104-kiloton nuclear test in 1962 that displaced 12 million tons of earth. Sedan Crater is 320 feet deep and 1,280 feet wide.

22. Access to BREN (Bare Reactor Experiment Nevada) has been shut off since 2006, but the 1,527-foot steel mast was part of nuclear testing events for many years. It’s in restricted air space and is owned jointly by a company called National Security Technologies and the Dept. of Energy. No official word was ever given as to the reason for the site’s closure.

23. The only complete skeleton of an ichthyosaur ever discovered in the US was in Nevada. The complete fossil of this extinct ocean reptile is one of a kind.

24. The world’s largest digital screen is on Fremont Street, Downtown Las Vegas, Nevada. It is about 90 feet wide and 1,500 feet long.

Satellite image of Area 51.
Satellite image of Area 51.

25. Used as a flight testing facility, Area 51, is a top-secret U.S. Airforce Military installation located at Groom Lake in southern Nevada. In the past, this area has been linked to various speculations including UFO sightings. Another conspiracy argued by Bill Kaysing suggests that NASA astronauts never made it to space and that all the footage of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walking on the lunar surface was filmed at Area 51.

26. Chocolate lovers will love this: The world’s largest chocolate fountain is in Las Vegas, Nevada. It stands 27 feet high, and about two tons of chocolate are circulated.

27. You will find the Valley of Fire in the Mojave Desert, Nevada. Apart from the bright red sandstone outcrops, there are rock carvings that date back 2,000 years.

28. A house in Rayolite, Nevada, was built from glass bottles by a stonemason in 1906. The house of Tom Kelly is famous for the odd material used to build it.

29. The Pershing County, Nevada Courthouse is one of only two perfectly round courthouses in the U.S (the other is Bucks County Courthouse in Pennsylvania).

30. The Colorado River was diverted via a tunnel system in order to prepare the area for construction of the Hoover Dam. Four giant tunnels were chiselled out of the canyon’s walls and the river was entirely dug up before any of the actual dam-building work could begin.

31. A fact about Virginia City: Samuel Clemens, later known as Mark Twain, began his journalism career in the town, working as a writer for the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise.

Jeans stacked up: nevada fact file

32. Jacob Davis is known all over the world for one of his inventions, though his name is known only to a few people. Mr. Davis was a tailor who created the first pair of blue jeans in his small shop in Reno, Nevada. Levi Strauss is credited as co-inventor, and the year was 1873. The men used the Italian city of Genoa (the home of so-called “jeane cotton”) to name the pants “blue jeans.”

33. A Civil War officer killed during the Battle of South Mountain is little known except for the fact that part of his name, Major General Jesse Lee Reno, was given to a city in northern Nevada. Reno, Nevada; Reno County, Kansas; El Reno, Oklahoma; Reno, Pennsylvania; Fort Reno (Oklahoma); and Fort Reno Park in Washington, D.C. were named after him.

34. The Kangaroo Rat found in Death Valley, Nevada, can live without drinking a single drop of water. The unique desert mammal gets the moisture to survive from the seeds it eats.

35. The biggest deceased polar bear on earth is encased in glass near the coffee shop of an Elko, Nevada, hotel and casino. King is ten-foot-four and weighs in at around 2,200 pounds in his bare feet.

36. The bear ended up on display in Elko after a contest to locate the largest Arctic polar bear. King was also part of a famous Hunter Thompson story that was part of a Rolling Stone Magazine cover story in 1992.

37. Brad Snyder, a Reno-born swimmer on the United States Paralympic team, has a watch named after him – “The Bradley Timepiece.” The watch was built for use by blind people.

Koenigsegg Agera RS
Koenigsegg Agera RS. Image credit – Peter Miller/flickr

38. On November 4, 2017, an automobile sped along at 277.9 MPH on Nevada State Route 160 and didn’t even get a ticket! It was part of a world-record attempt by Koenigsegg Automotive AB to set the top speed for a production car. On that day, the Koenigsegg Agera RS made the grade and became the new world-record holder.

39. Andre Agassi, a tennis fame and former First Lady of the U.S. Patricia Nixon were born in Nevada.

40. The king of rock and roll, Elvis Presley, was a resident of Las Vegas for five years. His residency contract was later extended for another two years. Elvis Presley made his Las Vegas, Nevada debut in April 1956. It was an attempt by Colonel Tom Parker to provide Elvis Presley with national credibility.

41. The most fans of Elvis Presley are in Nevada, with all the impersonators in Las Vegas. You’ll find Elvis wherever you go in Las Vegas.

42. There are between 2,500 and 3,500 mountain lions in Nevada. The animals tend to scout for food in about a 100-square-mile area, are loners for the most part, and avoid human contact if possible. If you spot a mountain lion nearby, face it, walk slowly backwards away from it, and try to get to a secure location (like a car or house) as soon as possible. If you run, the lion’s hunting instinct will make it want to chase you.

Close up of rattlesnake.
Close up of rattlesnake.

43. Even though the chances of dangerous deer encounters, as in car crashes, are a common danger, people tend to perceive mountain lions and rattlesnakes as the biggest dangers in Nevada. The truth is that deer-car crashes actually result in hundreds of serious injuries and some deaths every few years, while mountain lion attacks are extremely rare.

44. In the city of Las Vegas, Nevada, people consume about 60,000 pounds of shrimp every day. That’s more than the rest of the US.

45. Nearly two-thirds of the wild horses in the US can be found in Nevada. Most of these animals were brought here during the settlement of the West.

46. Las Vegas, Nevada is known as the “Entertainment Capital of the World.”

47. The films “Sister Act,” “The Muppets,” and many other feature films have been shot in Reno since 1947.

Where the Sierra Nevada Begins,
Where the Sierra Nevada Begins, Hwy 395, CA. Image credit – Don Graham/flickr

48. The Sierra Nevada mountain range has one of the world’s most challenging bike trails. A popular event is riding the Wild Sierra Challenge.

49. Even though Nevada is east of California, driving from Los Angeles to Reno, you must go west. That is because of the layout of the border between these two states.

50. One of Reno’s top tourist destinations, the National Automobile Museum is an interactive collection of displays, activities, and one-of-a-kind vehicles from history and the future. There are four galleries full of historic cars, odd vehicles and even some of the Moon Rover contraptions. Top attractions at the National Automobile Museum include a 1913 Mercer, a 1961 Beatnik Bandit, and a 1907 Thomas Flyer.

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