Nevada, United States

About Nevada

Nevada is located in the western region of the United States. The capital is Carson City and the largest city is Las Vegas. The state's nickname is Silver State, due to the large number of silver deposits that were discovered and mined there. Nevada is the seventh-largest state in area, and geographically covers the Mojave Desert in the south to the Great Basin in the north. It is the most arid state in the Union. Approximately 86% of the state's land is owned by the U.S federal government under various jurisdictions both civilian and military. Nevada is almost entirely within the Basin and Range Province, and is broken up by many north-south mountain ranges. Most of these ranges have endorheic valleys between them, which belies the image portrayed by the term Great Basin. Much of the northern part of the state is within the Great Basin, a mild desert that experiences hot temperatures in the summer and cold temperatures in the winter. The southern third of the state, where the Las Vegas area is situated, is within the Mojave Desert. The area receives less rain in the winter but is closer to the Arizona Monsoon in the summer.

Nevada Tourism and Recreation

Tourism remains Nevada's most important industry, employing over 300,000 people. A majority of all tourists flock to Vegas for gambling and for the top-flight entertainers who perform there. The gaming industry had total revenues of about $10 billion. The Nevada Commission on Tourism has branch offices in Japan, the United Kingdom, and Seoul, Korea.

Nevada attractions include Pyramid Lake, Lake Tahoe, Lake Mead, and Lehman Caves National Monument. There are 21 state parks and recreation areas, and the Great Basin National Park. Lake Mead National Recreation Area attracts 43% of all park visitors (totaling over 25 million people). Grand Canyon National Park is the 2nd most popular parks destination, with 18% of all parks visitors.

Nevada Climate

The climate in Nevada is incredibly varied due to its diverse topography. Summers in the desert, particularly in the south in and around Las Vegas, tend to be hot, windy and dry, with temperatures getting up to about 100°F (38°C) between June and September. From December to January, temperatures stay mild, dropping to around 55°F (13°C) and sometimes lower. At higher altitudes, particularly in the mountain regions of the north and central part of the state, summers tend to be a lot milder, with cooler mornings.

Snowfalls occur in winter, causing temperatures to drop, particularly in the popular skiing area of Lake Tahoe. Popular times to travel to Nevada can vary, as winter outdoor enthusiasts would select wintertime at Tahoe, whereas those wanting to gamble in Las Vegas may choose the slightly cooler spring and autumn seasons. Nevada experiences very little annual precipitation and the weather tends to be fairly dry throughout the year, though thunderstorms are common in summer.

Nevada Transportaion

Amtrak's California Zephyr train uses the Union Pacific's original transcontinental railroad line in daily service from Chicago to Emeryville, California serving Elko, Winnemucca, Sparks, and Reno. Amtrak Thruway Motorcoaches also provide connecting service from Las Vegas to trains at Needles, California, Los Angeles, and Bakersfield, California; and from Stateline, Nevada, to Sacramento, California. The Union Pacific Railroad has some railroads in the north and in the south. Greyhound Lines provides some bus services.

Interstate 15 passes through the southern tip of the state, serving Las Vegas and other communities. I-215 and spur route I-515 also serve the Las Vegas metropolitan area. Interstate 80 crosses through the northern part of Nevada, roughly following the path of the Humboldt River from Utah in the east and passing westward through Reno and into California. It has a spur route, I-580. Nevada also is served by several federal highways: US 6, US 50, US 93, US 95 and US 395. There are also 189 Nevada state highways. Nevada is one of a few states in the U.S. that does not have a continuous interstate highway linking its two major population centers.

McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas is the busiest airport serving Nevada. The Reno-Tahoe International Airport (formerly known as the Reno Cannon International Airport) is the other major airport in the state.