Perhaps no other landscape evokes such deep longing for the old west than the stretching red desert of Nevada. Natural rock formations, vast river canyons, plunging gorges, and spouting geysers — it’s easy to see why camping in Nevada is so popular. Nevada has seen a near 40% increase in campers to the state year over year since 2020.
Whether you plan on tent camping, RVing through the state, or planning a glamping getaway, there’s something for everyone in the Silver State. There are plenty of great spots for camping in Nevada, with 24 state parks and four National Park Service sites. Let’s discover the most popular types of camping in the state, activities to plan for your trip, and tips for camping in Nevada.
Tent Camping In Nevada
Camping traditionalists will tell you there’s nothing better than pitching your tent under the stars with no one else around. Camping in Nevada brings just that. There’s no better place to set up your gear with expansive, unobstructed views. Nevada is one of the few remaining certified Dark Sky locations, so many campers choose to take advantage of it by roughing it with just a tent.
Tent camping in Nevada, while popular, takes a bit more thoughtfulness and planning than if you were tossing your things into an RV and hitting the road. Many places near Great Basin National Park or Lake Mead have great campgrounds.
Most of the tent campgrounds in Nevada feature amenities like community showers and bathhouses, fire pits, and lantern posts. Other, more developed campgrounds near state and national parks offer premium amenities like outdoor pools, playgrounds, dog parks, and convenience stores.
What to Bring
Depending on whether you prefer car camping or hike-in camping, your gear may look slightly different for your trip. Frequently, developed campgrounds will place your car parking spot next to your site. Having your vehicle close to your site is excellent if you’re camping with small kids or large groups with a lot of gear. Hike-in campsites offer a more rugged experience, and you’ll need to hike from your car to your site. Hike-in sites may require more lightweight gear, to not weigh you down on the way.
If you are car camping or hiking, you will need a few items of equipment for any Nevada camping trip. You’ll, of course, need a sturdy tent with a rain fly, covered windows and doors, and a footprint underneath. Covered windows and doors are essential to keep the desert sand and dust from creating a layer of grime inside your tent.
Essential items you should bring on your tent camping trip are extra clothes for layering, bear-proof food storage containers, sleeping bags, pillows, and any gear for planned activities, such as hiking boots and trekking poles.
Glamping in Nevada
Glamping in Nevada may be your style if you’re looking for a step up from traditional tent camping. First appearing in the dictionary in 2016, glamping may be a relatively new word, but the intent has been around for a long time. Glamping, or glamorous camping, is a type of elevated tent camping that brings more modern comforts to traditional camping.
Glampsites may feature large tents or yurts, usually climate-controlled, large, comfortable beds, additional seating areas like sofas or dining tables, and even televisions and WiFi. In some luxury glamping resorts, you may have dedicated butler service, private decks or balconies, and other amenities like on-site fine dining restaurants, dog parks, swimming pools, or spas.
There are a lot of great glamping resorts and parks throughout Nevada, making day trips to places like Death Valley or Charleston Peak easily accessible from your base camp.
What to Bring
Fortunately, if you plan on glamping in Nevada, you can leave most of your heaviest gear at home. Glamping resorts come standard with a tent, bed, and seating area already set up for you. Check with the resort about the need to bring linens, pillows, or toiletries, as some resorts provide them.
You’ll want to bring your camp food just as you would in a tent while on a glamping trip and store it in a bear-proof container. Along with food, be sure to pack any gear you may need for activities such as hiking or rock climbing. Many glamping spots in Nevada feature a fire pit, so pick up extra wood near the place you intend to burn it.
Full-Hookup RV Camping in Nevada
There are few better ways to explore the Silver State than by RVing in Nevada. With miles and miles of flat desert roads, RVing across the state is a great way to cover much ground on shorter trips. Many great RV parks and resorts feature full hookup RV camping throughout the state.
RV campers feature three connections that run electricity, clean drinking water, and dirty black water to and from the rig. In many campgrounds, RV sites have either full, partial, or no hookups. The most significant advantage to full hookup RV campsites is that you don’t have to spend time waiting in line to dump your black water tank. Full-hookup RV sites can make getting in and out of your campsite super easy!
Nevada is home to over 250 RV parks and campgrounds, with many being near popular attractions such as Lake Tahoe, Valley of Fire State Park, and Red Rock Canyon Park. No matter which area of the state you’re in, there is a fantastic RV site just around every corner.
What to Bring
Before you head out for RVing in Nevada, you’ll want to do a few routine maintenance checks on your RV. Inspecting lines, emergency features, and engine parts should be part of preparing for your RV road trip. Besides necessities like food and water and personal items like clothing and toiletries, there are a few other items you may want to bring along on your trip to the Silver State.
Sunscreen, eye protection, and face protection are the three most essential items to pack for a desert trip. Depending on the time of year you plan on traveling, the heat in Nevada can be overwhelming. However, the sun is doubly brutal if you forget your sunscreen. Eye and face protection is crucial if you go trekking through the desert.
It’s also a good idea to store your food in bear-proof storage containers. Even though you’re traveling in an RV, it could attract unwanted visitors throughout the night if anything gets left out. For extra protection, pack bear spray or an air horn.
Things to Do While Camping in Nevada
Many great outdoor activities throughout Nevada are perfect for every age, activity, and skill level. The Silver State is filled with great hiking and biking trails, dedicated rock climbing areas for both trad and sport climbing, horseback riding trails, scenic routes for road trips, and much more! Let’s dive in and discover more about the great outdoor activities that Nevada has to offer.
Whether you’re looking for a casual stroll with small kids or a vigorous multi-day hike, Nevada has thousands of miles of trails to discover. Many hiking trails at popular parks, like Death Valley or High Rock Canyon, are ADA accessible and are perfect for strollers and wheelchairs. Other routes, like the Tahoe Rim Trail, are recommended for expert-level hikers for the ultimate adventure.
For a unique path that’s perfect for small children, check out Valley of Fire State Park. One of Nevada’s most popular state parks, Valley of Fire combines easy trails with breathtaking immersion in the surrounding rock formations. Visitors can view ancient petroglyphs and explore wind caves and natural rock basins.
Besides hiking trails, there are hundreds of great biking trails throughout Nevada. For the ultimate experience, check out Bootleg Canyon in Boulder City. This bike course features 35 miles of single-lane track and is recognized as a top course by the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA). Bootleg Canyon has trails for all experience levels, from beginner to novice.
Clear Creek Canyon in Carson City is an excellent choice if you’re looking for something a little off the beaten path. The track starts at around 5,000 feet and is a perfect moderate track. The course is heavily shaded for the most part, so it’s also a great way to beat the desert heat.
Curating a set of Instagram-worthy photographs is accessible no matter where you are in Nevada. Around each corner is another stunning landscape or historically significant site that is great for setting up the perfect shot.
Mount Charleston and Valley of Fire State Park are the two most photographed locations in Nevada, but natural wonders aren’t all there is to see. Check out the Neon Museum, just outside of Las Vegas, for a great photo spot with a more artistic feel. The Neon Museum is an outdoor graveyard for old neon signs used in Vegas and features special photography hours and photo walks.
Horseback riding is another popular outdoor activity that lets you experience the state of Nevada as if you were in the “Old West.” Many horseback trails can be accessed from major cities like Las Vegas or Reno. For a truly unique experience, take your stock and ride across the Pony Express National Historic Trail. The Pony Express welcomes overland vehicles, thru-hikers, and horseback riders to take the trail as the United States Postal Service once did.
For a multi-day ride, the Logandale Trail System just outside Las Vegas features over 50 miles of horse trails stretching through the red rock canyons of Valley of Fire State Park. If you’re looking for something a bit shadier, check out the Ruby Crest Trail near Elko, Nevada. The 43-mile horse trail winds through the Ruby Mountain Wilderness and is filled with glacier lakes, bluebells, and tree-lined canyons. Many scenic places are great for having a midday picnic along your route.
Rock climbing is very popular in Nevada, with tons of great places for trad and sport climbers to test their grips and gear. While Red Rock Canyon in the Valley of Fire is one of the most heavily climbed areas, a few others are often less traveled. Check out Big Chief at Lake Tahoe if you’re looking for well-bolted short climbs.
On the other hand, Donner Summit at Lake Tahoe is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a trad climbing spot. Slabs, cracks, and gnarly overhangs help you complete this advanced climb. There are several places to rent climbing equipment for the day if you need it, and many locals will share secret climbing spots with you if you ask!
RVing in Nevada is a great way to explore the state, and it’s easy to take the scenic route! There are many scenic highways and byways throughout Nevada, and no matter where you are in the state, one is sure to be easily accessible. While you can make a scenic drive out of anything, a few in Nevada are more popular than others.
Take a trip down U.S. Route 50, affectionately known as “America’s Loneliest Road,” for a scenic drive without the traffic. RVers on Route 50 need to ensure they have everything they need for a survival situation because once you’re on the road, there is nothing else around for a long time. Ghost towns, deserted mining cities, and historic landmarks line the state’s highway.
Takeaway Tips for Camping in Nevada
Whether you tent camp under the stars, travel the scenic route in your RV, or elevate your outdoor experience by glamping with fine dining, the Silver State has everything you could want. Exploring the nature of the west in Nevada is an excellent way to get away from the hustle and bustle and transport yourself to a seemingly slower time. Here are a few tips to make your next camping trip in Nevada one to remember.
Sunscreen, face, and eye protection are necessary if you spend time outside in Nevada. Sudden dust storms are harsh without the proper protective gear.
Nevada is home to a thriving wildlife population, including black bears, mountain lions, bobcats, bighorn sheep, lynx, and wolves. Protect yourself and your camp with bear-proof food storage, predator warning systems like airhorns, and bear spray.
A GPS tracking system is sound, especially if you’re RVing in Nevada. Taking scenic routes in the Silver State often means little to no civilization in the area. GPS systems can help rescuers find you in the event of an emergency.
Bring plenty of water! Camping in Nevada is in the desert, and dehydration can happen quickly. Bring enough water for your trip, and remember to stay hydrated.
Be sure to pack in and pack out everything along your journey and remember to leave no trace.
What is the best time to camp in Nevada?
Fall and winter are the two best seasons to camp in Nevada.
What are the best events and festivals in Nevada?
Burning Man and Electric Daisy Carnival are the two most prominent events in the Silver State.
How many state and national parks are located in Nevada?
There are 24 state parks and four national park sites in Nevada.
How can I book a campsite in Nevada?
Find and book your perfect campsite in Nevada at BookOutdoors.com.