Is there anything more quintessentially American than taking off for the horizon on an epic road trip? It seems to almost be ingrained into the bones of the US – that most magical experience of hopping in a car and hitting the open tarmac. We’re sure you’ve heard of Route 66 and the Pacific Coast Highway, but how about the Silver State? That’s right – more than just the bright lights of Las Vegas, Nevada has over 100,000 miles of road to travel. From the Loneliest Road in America to the Extraterrestrial Highway, adventure awaits behind the wheel. But where to begin? We’ve rounded up some of the best road trips to discover in Nevada, each with its own Spotify playlist, for that extra tuneful tour.

Black Rock Hotsprings

Sun, sand and snow

When you conjure up a mental image of Nevada it might be dusty swathes of desert and scorching hot landscapes that spring to mind, but the northwestern corner is home to Lake Tahoe, nicknamed the ‘Jewel of the Sierra Nevada’. Whether you’re visiting the world-class ski slopes during the winter months, stopping by for a refreshing dip in some of the clearest waters in the world when the mercury rises, or catching some culture in Reno, this region of Nevada is a chameleon. Home to 72 miles of shoreline, the lake’s beaches are some of the best in the country and you can look over them from the 470 miles of skiable piste in the winter. Pick up your car in Las Vegas, giving yourself a few days to explore the state’s myriad breweries and bohemian art scene before setting your coordinates for the wilderness at North America’s largest alpine lake.

Seven Magic Mountains

Open-air art

Fancy yourself something of an aesthete? Trade in city streets for hip highways on the open-air gallery that is the 500-mile stretch from Reno to Las Vegas. At the eight-acre Goldwell Open Air Museum, founded by a group of Belgian artists, the artworks range from the surreal to the spooky. Come to see the supernatural, lifesize rendition of DaVinci’s The Last Supper or a 24-foot steel prospector and penguin duo, set to a backdrop of scrub-strewn ridges and peaks. We can assure you, it’s an otherworldly experience. Swing by the Seven Magic Mountains, a vivid installation from Swedish artist Ugo Rondinone, and finish up at the Neon Museum in Las Vegas, a classic homage to the city’s penchant for bright lights.

ET Highway in Nevada

Out of this world

If Las Vegas is the state’s best-known spot then Area 51 is its worst-kept secret. A stretch of Nevada’s central region is colloquially known as Alien Country, home as it is to many sights of extra-terrestrial significance. Running through what is, for all intents and purposes, the absolute middle of nowhere, this is the perfect way to discover the Silver State’s quirky side. From a giant corrugated-iron alien sculpture at the Alien Research Center to the black mailbox that a certain former Area 51 employee claims is a common location for UFO spotting, this roadie will have you starry-eyed by the end – just don’t forget to look up.

I walk a lonely road

Running across the state from east to west, Nevada’s Highway 50 was dubbed “The Loneliest Road in America” by Life magazine in 1986, thanks to its distinct lack of civilisation. It doesn’t get more classically America than this. Home to ghost towns, historic mining communities and expansive state parks, this is the kind of road you could imagine is soundtracked by the shuttering of saloon doors. Visit a slice of the Sahara in the middle of Nevada at Sand Mountain, a two-mile-long sand dune that quite literally sings with spookiness. It’s a breathtaking sight. Toast to a good day’s driving at one of the historical Sagebrush Saloons, and soak up the sunset (literally) at Spencer Hot Springs. We can promise you one thing – contrary to its name, you won’t leave this roadie lonely. Head out on the highway. 

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