Deserts comprise nearly of all of the state of Nevada, making its climate and landscape truly unique when compared to the rest of the United States. There is much natural beauty within these deserts, from towering mountaintops to fascinating rare plants and animals. Nearly every region of Nevada has a desert, and at least some portions of each one can be easily accessed by roads despite the emptiness and sparse population of much of the state. They are an easy diversion for those who wish to escape the urban areas of Las Vegas and Reno.
The Armagosa Desert is located in the western part of the state in Nye County, and straddles the California border along the Funeral Mountains. A unique feature of the Armagosa Desert is its small springs and ponds, which are home to the rare Armagosa and Ash Meadows pupfish. Though seemingly uncharacteristic of a desert environment, you also can find dandelions and wild grapes within the Armagosa Desert. The largest Nevada city in the Armagosa's vicinity is Pahrump, with a population of over 40,000. It is located along Nevada Highway 160.
Black Rock Desert
The Black Rock Desert is located in northwestern Nevada and has an area of roughly 1,000 square miles. It is part of the Great Basin, which is a vast arid region that encompasses nearly all of Nevada. The Black Rock Desert is known for its natural hot springs, volcanic rocks and mines. In addition, the popular Burning Man Festival is held in the Black Rock Desert during the week leading up to Labor Day. The Black Rock Desert is accessible via Nevada State Route 447, which branches off from Interstate 80. The Reno-Sparks Metropolitan Area is around 90 to 100 miles south of the desert.
The Mojave Desert lies in southern Nevada, and extends into eastern California and northwestern Arizona. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Area also is located within the boundaries of the Mojave. Lake Mead National Park on the Nevada-Arizona border is a popular destination for hiking, sightseeing, camping and water sports, and it is open 24 hours every day of the week. One of the most famous plants found in the Mojave Desert is the Joshua Tree, which was made famous by the U2 album of the same name.
The Tule Desert, also known as Tule Flat, is located in Lincoln County, Nevada about 100 miles north of Las Vegas. The desert extends to the Utah state line, and its most prominent feature is the Mormon Mountain Range, where the tallest peak is over 7,400 feet above sea level. Not surprisingly, the Tule Desert and surrounding area is very sparsely populated. The town of Pioche is the county seat of Lincoln County, though its population hovers around 900. Rainfall around the Tule Desert is usually less than 15 inches a year.