93 Interesting Facts About Nevada

Last updated on June 21st, 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 IdahoOregonUtahArizonaCaliforniaSee 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. See the list of the area codes for the 50 states here. 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.

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

Where is Nevada on map?


6. A total of 44 U.S. states have state lotteries. Only six states don’t have one. Nevada is one of those six. The other five include Alaska, Hawaii, Utah, Mississippi, and Alabama.

7. 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.

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.

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.

Fly geyser - Nevada USA
Fly geyser – Nevada USA

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?

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.

U.S. Route 50 Nevada The Loneliest Road
U.S. Route 50 Nevada “The Loneliest Road.” Image credit – Mobilus In Mobili

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.

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. 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.

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

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.

19. As far as agricultural crops go, Nevada’s most profitable product is wheat, which brings in a whopping $9.3 million in profit each year.

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.

Lunar Crater as seen from the overlook
Lunar Crater as seen from the overlook. Image in Public domain

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. 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.

24. An interesting archaeological site was discovered in Nevada in the 1920s. The artifacts found in the cave suggest that it must have been a storage place for ancient people.

Nevada with bordering states

Nevada State with bordering states
Nevada (in red) on the map with bordering states.

25. A mummy, the Spirit Cave Man, was found in a hidden cave near Fallen, Nevada. It was found in the late 1940s and is the oldest skeleton of ancient people in the US.

26. 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.

27. 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).

28. 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 chiseled out of the canyon’s walls and the river was entirely dug up before any of the actual dam-building work could begin.

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

29. 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.

30. State Route 375 in Lincoln and Nye Counties, Nevada, was renamed the Extraterrestrial Highway in 1996. That is due to the many claims of UFO sightings.

Nevada State Route 375, The Extraterrestrial Highway
Nevada State Route 375, The Extraterrestrial Highway. Image credit – Ken Lund

31. Off route 375 in Nevada, there is an Alien Mailbox where alien hunters can leave a message. The black mailbox has fascinated many UFO hunters through the years.

32. Virginia City is a town in Nevada that is believed to be haunted. Some believe everything is haunted in the old mining town.

33. America’s scariest motel can be found in Nevada. It’s the Clown Motel on Main Street overlooking the old Tonopa cemetery.

34. A hundred-year-old Washoe saloon and museum has been featured in Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures. Visitors claim they have experienced hauntings and strange activities.

35. The first Air Mail flights started in Nevada early in 1920. That was after the US Air Mail service was established in 1918.

36. Tap water in the Lake Tahoe area is known for its good taste and purity. The clear tap water recently was named “Best Drinking Water in America.”

37. Lake Tahoe is so big! (How big is it?) It’s so big that each month it loses nearly 12,000,000,000 (that’s billion) gallons of water to evaporation. It is also one of the deepest lakes in the world.

38. Known for having some of the most beautiful sunsets on earth, Lake Tahoe has been around for more than two million years, according to geologists. That comes out to 730 million gorgeous sunsets.

39. The original name of the area was “da ow a ga,” which translates to English as “edge of the lake.”

40. Hikers love Lake Tahoe’s rim trail because of its natural beauty and challenging paths. In all, the trail is broken up into eight giant segments that stretch 170 miles in combined length.

41. Over the past few years, the water level of Lake Mead has receded due to draughts. What’s alarming is that several bodies were found that may date back to the 1970s.

42. At the bottom of Lake Mead is the town of St. Thomas. No one currently resides there.

43. The highest temperatures ever recorded worldwide were in Death Valley, Nevada. A hot 134 degrees Fahrenheit was recorded on 10 July 1913 at Furnace Creek.

44. The famous Death Valley is located in the Great Basin, east of Sierra Nedada mountain. It is not just a barren wasteland but attracts thousands of tourists annually.

A shot of death valley. facts about Nevada
Death valley. Image credit – Giuseppe Milo

45. The smallest desert in the US is the Mojave, located in the southern parts of Nevada. It spans over neighbouring states of Nevada and is about 50,000 square miles wide.

46. As the driest state in the US, Nevada receives only about ten inches of rain each year on average. The Southern parts of the state have the lowest rainfall of fewer than five inches.

47. The darkest night-time skies in the US are in Tonopah, Nevada. Most nights, you can see more than 7,000 stars with the naked eye.

48. The lake’s Rubicon Trail Lighthouse is still one of the world’s only such structures located at high elevation. The lighthouse at Rubicon Point has the highest elevation (more than 6,000 feet) of any American lighthouse.

49. The tallest free-standing observation tower in the US is the Stratosphere in Las Vegas, Nevada. The tower has its name because of a reference to its height.

50. The atrium of the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas is one of the largest enclosed, open spaces in the world, measuring approximately 29 million cubic feet.

51. The brightest light beam on Earth is Luxor Light in Las Vegas, Nevada. The light from 39 xenon lamps is focused in a narrow, upward beam.

52. In Las Vegas alone, there are in excess of 15,000 miles of neon lights.

53. The Las Vegas strip in Nevada can be seen from outer space. It is also the brightest spot on Earth when viewed from space and its night in Nevada.

The Strip, Las Vegas
The Strip, Las Vegas. The Southern end of the famous “Strip”. Image credit -Mike McBey

54. Reno is nicknamed, “The Biggest Little City in the World.”

55. The largest slot machine in the world can be found in Las Vegas, Nevada. It is 11 stories or 128 feet tall. It is known as Slotzilla and is the starting point of a zipline adventure.

56. When work on the Hoover Dam began, the U.S. President was Herbert Hoover, and it was going to be named after him. When he lost the 1932 election to Franklin Roosevelt, project planners changed the name to “Boulder Dam.” After FDR’s death, the name was changed back to Hoover Dam in honor of the former chief executive.

57. Containing an incredible 2.5 million tons of concrete, Hoover Dam took about five years to complete and went into operation at the height of the Great Depression, on March 1, 1936.

58. The amount of concrete in Hoover Dam is shockingly great. An entire two-lane highway could be built with it, running all the way from San Francisco, California, to New York City.

Hoover Dam, Originally "Boulder Dam."
Hoover Dam, Originally “Boulder Dam.” Image credit – James Watt

59. Besides being a national historic landmark since 1985, the Hoover Dam provides massive amounts of electrical power to three states: Nevada, California, and Arizona.

60. Artists Gordon Kaufmann and Allen True used an art deco style to design the exterior of Hoover Dam.

61. 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.

62. 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.

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

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

64. 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.

65. 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.

66. 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.

blue denim

67. 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.”

68. 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.

69. 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.

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