Contrasts could hardly be more striking: the dazzling, never-ending gambling city of Las Vegas on the one hand and the lonely, seemingly endless mountain ranges in the middle of the desert on the other. With an area almost three and a half times the size of Austria and just under three million inhabitants – almost two thirds of them in the metropolitan region of Las Vegas – the state is extremely sparsely populated. Incidentally, the name Nevada derives from the Spanish word “nieves”. And that means something like “snowy” and refers to the Sierra Nevada, which runs through the state.
At the end of the 19th century, the state was also known by the nickname “Silver State” because of its almost immeasurable silver deposits. The Comstock-Lode mines, east of Reno, were the source of this wealth. Next to South Africa and Australia, Nevada has the world’s largest gold deposits. In 1860, just under 7,000 people lived in the entire state. But in the years that followed, more and more knights of fortune came to the desert state.
After the founding of Las Vegas, the population literally exploded and since then has regularly given the state the title of “fastest growing state in the USA”. Between 1990 and 2000 alone, the population increased by 66.3 percent, while the national population increased by only 13.1 percent. The “magnet effect” of the gambling venues Las Vegas, the capital Carson City, Reno, and Lake Tahoe continues unabated.
Outside of the few cities, Nevada consists largely of desert and mountain ranges. No wonder America’s loneliest road, Highway 50, runs right through this state. It is so seldom used continuously that you even receive a survival certificate after passing it. Travelers traveling this highway are rewarded with a view of the majestic silhouette of 13,000-foot Wheeler Peak, which lies at the center of Great Basin National Park. Also worth seeing are the Lehman Caves and the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive.
Location and size
According to travelationary, Nevada is located in the south-west of the USA, bordering California to the west, Oregon and Idaho to the north, Utah to the east and Arizona to the south. Nevada has an area of 286,367 km², making it the seventh largest US state.
Nevada has a population of 2.89 million. (ranks 37th among states). The largest city in Nevada is Las Vegas with 2.2 million inhabitants in the metropolitan area. Carson City, Nevada’s capital, is a small town with around 55,000 inhabitants, whose population is decreasing compared to Las Vegas.
Optimal arrival via the international airport McCarran International in Las Vegas with the airport abbreviation LAS. The airport is the eighth largest airport in the USA and is located southeast of the Las Vegas Strip. Arrival by land is via Interstate 15 – the fourth longest road in the USA – which runs in a north-south direction from Montana to San Diego/California and leads directly through Las Vegas.
Further north, Interstate 80 crosses the state of Nevada in a west-east direction for 660 km from Wendover (in the east) to Reno in the west. Interstate 80 is the second longest road in the United States, running from San Francisco to Teaneck, New Jersey on the east coast.
Nevada’s climate is drier with less rainfall than any other state. The sky is clear, the sun shines plentifully, the relative humidity is low. There are large temperature differences between day and night, the clear, dry air favors rapid warming during the day and rapid cooling after dark. Mountain areas are much cooler than lower-lying areas. Mean annual temperatures vary greatly within Nevada due to the comparatively large north-south extent. In the south, summers are extremely hot and winters are short and mild. In the Northeast, winters are long and cold and summers are short and hot. The capital, Carson City, has a semi-arid climate with very hot summers and cold winters. Small differences in altitude result in large temperature differences.
|Average temperatures in Carson City, Nevada in °C|
|Average temperatures in Reno, Nevada in °C|