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Five Magnificent Scenic Drives/Areas to Experience in Nevada

1. Lake Tahoe - East Shore Drive National Scenic Byway. Located in western Nevada, about 40 miles southwest of Reno, this 28-mile stretch of State Route 28 and US 50 that runs partially along the northeastern shore of Lake Tahoe offers breathtaking views of Lake Tahoe, snow-capped mountains of the Sierra Nevada's, grassy meadows, and thick pine forests, earning its title of "the most beautiful drive in America." The route actually follows the old Pony Express Trail and travels near sacred grounds of the Washoe Indians. Another claim to fame for the highway is that the Ponderosa Ranch from the television series Bonanza was located here. Must stops include the Spooner and Marlette Lakes, Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, Sand Harbor State Recreation Area, Lake Tahoe State Park, and Mormon Station State Historic Park. For an upscale tourism experience, consider stopping at Incline Village.

2. Lamoille Canyon Scenic Byway. Located in northeast Nevada, 300 miles northeast of Reno, and about 27 miles southeast of Elko, the 12-mile National Forest Scenic Byway (FS Road 660) runs through the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, cutting through the Lamoille Canyon, known as the "Grand Canyon" of Nevada, in the heart of the Ruby Mountains, the state's wettest mountain range -- and winding around the base of the 11,387-foot Ruby Dome. Check out Lamoille Glacier Overlook, and witness where two 1,000-foot glacier carved out the u-shaped canyons more than 250,000 years ago. Look up and see mountain goats and big horn sheep perched on the rocky outcroppings. Stay longer and fine more than 100 miles of hiking trails, including Island Lake, a 2.9-mile (RT) trail, and Dollar Lakes Trail, a 2.8-mile (RT) -- both near Spring Creek. Parts of the byway close in the winter due to snow, so drive May through October.

3. Pyramid Lake Scenic Byway. Located in western Nevada, 30 miles northeast of Reno, this 34-mile drive (along State Highways 445, 446, and 447) will enchant you with the blue-green waters of Pyramid Lake, a remnant of an ancient sea that long ago covered the state. The lake, great for boating, fishing, sunning on the beaches, is named for the 400-foot tall pyramid-shaped rock, but there are many other tufa rocks (shaped out of calcium Carbonite deposits) around the lake. Don't forget to stop in the town of Nixon and check out the Pyramid Lake Museum and Visitor Center, which includes exhibits on the history and culture of the Paiute people. While at the lake, check out Anaho Island National Wildlife Refuge, a sanctuary of migrating birds and home to the largest-known colony (8,000-10,000) of American White Pelicans. Finally, check out Lahontan Reservoir and State Recreation Area, about 35 miles south.

4. Rainbow Canyon Scenic Drive. Located in southeast Nevada, about 150 miles northeast of Las Vegas, just south of the town of Caliente, this 21-mile scenic drive along State Highway 317 offers beautiful views of Rainbow Canyon, named for the colored rock and interesting rock formations. The deep canyon lies between the Delamar Mountains and the Clover Mountains, and contains the Meadow Valley Wash, which is lined with cottonwood trees. Train-lovers will appreciate that the drive follows the main line of the Union Pacific Railroad, which sometimes averages a train every 20 minutes. At the end of the drive, check out Elgin, a former railroad town turned ghost town. While in the area, visit/camp at Kershaw-Ryan State Park, a 265-acre oasis in the desert, with picnic facilities and trails (including the 1.5-mile Overlook Trail).

5. Walker River Scenic Drive. Located on in west-central Nevada, about 130 miles southeast of Reno, and located between the towns of Yerington and Hawthorne, this 60-mile scenic drive traverses through mountains, hills, desert, and grazing lands, closely following the East Walker River for much of the drive; the river runs from the Bridgeport Reservoir in California into Nevada, before emptying into Walker Lake. The road is gravel, and the drive lonely, as most of the land along the route is federal of some sort (mostly National Forest and Bureau of Land Management lands). The drive offers a wonderful side trip for those visiting Yosemite National Park, Sierra National Forest, Eldorado National Forest, Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest -- or even Lake Tahoe.

EmpoweringSites.com CEO Dr. Randall Hansen Dr. Randall S. Hansen is an educator, author, and blogger, as well as founder and CEO of EmpoweringSites.com, a network of empowering and transformative Websites, including EmpoweringAdvice.com. Dr. Hansen has been helping empower people to achieving success his entire adult life. He is also founder of EnhanceMyVocabulary.com, MyCollegeSuccessStory.com, and EmpoweringRetreat.com. He is a published author, with several books, chapters in books, and hundreds of articles. Dr. Hansen is also an educator, teaching business and marketing at the college level for more than 25 years. Learn more by visiting his personal Website, RandallSHansen.com. You can also check out Dr. Hansen on Google+, as well as Dr. Randall Hansen on LinkedIn.


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