Rivers in Nevada 

Written by Kirstin Harrington
Updated: November 20, 2022
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Nevada contains many lovely mountains and is infamous for the Las Vegas strip. Believe it or not, Nevada has some of the most stunning rivers you’ll ever see. Although some rivers are far larger than many others, every single one is amazing in its unique way.

Take a break from the bright lights and smokey casinos and discover Nevada’s gorgeous scenery. Below you’ll find some of the most gorgeous places in nature that the Battle Born state has to offer. Pack hiking boots, a camera, and plenty of water as you explore these rivers.

Carson River

Fall colors reflection in Carson River, Nevada

Fall colors in Carson River, Nevada.

©Victoria Ditkovsky/Shutterstock.com

The Carson River, famous for its superb fly and spin fishing, entices fishermen from the West to drop a hook into these famous rapids. Still, fishing is the main lure due to the enormous natural populations of big and smallmouth bass, channel and bullhead catfish, and rainbow trout, which replenish annually. This river is a haven for all sorts of outdoor leisure.

The Carson River originates in Genoa, where the east and west branches merge and end in Dayton, and flows from the Sierra Nevada mountains to the lush Carson Valley below.

It provides many options for canoeing, kayaking, climbing, and relaxing on the shore underneath a cover of cottonwoods. The Carson River Basin area stretches through eastern California to Pershing County, Nevada, around 3,900 square miles.

Truckee River

In the American states of California and Nevada, there is a Truckee River. The river is 121 kilometers long and flows northeast. The Truckee, Lake Tahoe’s only exit, empties into Pyramid Lake in the Great Basin after draining a portion of the high Sierra Nevada.

The streams play a significant role in irrigating its region and neighboring regions. A few ponds along the river have depths of up to 20 feet, although most of the river is just three to four feet deep.

The Truckee River can be used for swimming or floating with family and friends. You can take a dip in the river, enjoy the sun, and participate in water activities all in one day, thanks to a few events held in the area year-round.

Humboldt River

Located in north-central Nevada, the Humboldt River has a length of around 330 miles and supplies water primarily for agricultural uses. Most of Nevada’s gold mines are located in the Humboldt River Basin on the Carlin Trend. Gold mines are among the state’s leading enterprises.

The Humboldt River, which spans more than 16,000 square miles, is the major river in the State. All the water entering the basin comes from precipitation; hence, the climate’s unpredictability significantly impacts the region’s hydrology.

White crappie, wipers, channel catfish, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, walleye, and other species are prevalent in this river area. Early May through early July are the best months for fishing.

Virgin River

Muddy Brown Waters of the Virgin River south of Bunkerville, Nevada shortly before it flows into Lake Mead and the Colorado River.

Muddy Brown Waters of the Virgin River south of Bunkerville, Nevada shortly before it flows into Lake Mead and the Colorado River.

©Dominic Gentilcore PhD/Shutterstock.com

Utah, Nevada, and Arizona are home to the Virgin River, a tributary of the Colorado River. The river spans around 162 kilometers. During Zion National Park’s centennial celebration in 2009, it was named Utah’s first untamed and picturesque river. 

The Virgin River is host to a very wide variety of flora and fauna despite passing through a dry area. Woundfin are able to live in rapid, muddy environments thanks to their huge fins and sleek, scale-free bodies. While smaller, the woundfin resembles a shark in both behavior and appearance. It feasts on tiny insects in shallow riverbank locations. 

Climbing, watching wildlife, water, and other recreational activities are available at the Virgin River Canyon Recreation Area. Two specified wilderness areas encircle the recreation area. East of Interstate 15 is the Paiute Wilderness, and west is the Beaver Dam Mountains Wilderness. The Sullivan Canyon Trail begins within the recreation area and leads deep into the Paiute Wilderness.

The day-use facility and the campground offer beautiful trails leading to the Virgin River. During spring runoffs, tiny whitewater boats can occasionally navigate the Virgin River.

Colorado River

The massive Colorado River, which flows over 1,000 miles from the Rockies to the Sea of Cortez, supplies irrigation, municipal water, and hydroelectricity to areas of California, Nevada, and Arizona. 

The Laughlin, Nevada river also provides a wide range of leisure opportunities. Have fun angling, water skiing, parasailing, boating, or taking a cooling dip in the chilly water. There are many launch pad facilities and boat rental businesses along the river.

Enjoy a relaxed, picturesque excursion or dinner cruise on paddlewheel steamship replicas and sightseeing vessels for a more comfortable pace while reading a narrative of Laughlin and the nearby areas aloud.

Owyhee River

35% of the Owyhee River in Oregon has been designated as “Wild and Scenic” due to its economic, biological, geology, and cultural qualities. It originates in southern Oregon and flows into Idaho and across the border to its headwaters in northern Nevada. 

Since ancient times, the Owyhee River has been a haven for travelers and wildlife. The Owyhee has been inhabited and exploited by tribes for millennia, and archaeologists have identified hundreds of sites in the area that are significant culturally.

The Owyhee River offers many exciting activities, including camping, fishing, biking, rafting, canoeing, nature research, and photography.

East Walker River

The East Walker River originates on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada and runs through Lyon County in Nevada. Cutthroat trout once traveled 140 miles between Walker Lake and the headwaters, but this no longer happens. Water is stored in Bridgeport Reservoir, seven miles upstream of the border of Nevada and California, for use in Nevada irrigation.

Today’s most well-liked fisheries are those for mountain whitefish, rainbow, and brown trout. At Pitchfork Ranch, the Nevada Division of State Parks took over the management of previously private sections in 2017. There will soon be more access to fishing.

The “Miracle Mile” area of land directly below the Bridgeport Reservoir offers the best fishing. Ken’s Sporting Goods in the heart of Bridgeport is the best resource for information on the East Walker.

Bruneau River

Virtually any level of sailing skill can find something to enjoy on the Bruneau River. Tourists can explore unparalleled seclusion in canyons of outstanding beauty and structure in the Bruneau River. 

This river and the adjacent canyons offer tourists a variety of complex and unique experiences, from calm pools to furious rapids, from vertical cliffs to steep grassy slopes, and from fauna, such as California bighorn sheep, to wildflowers, like the Bruneau River flox. The remote nature of the rivers makes for challenging whitewater kayaking.

Paddlers can launch near Rogerson’s picturesque viewpoint, but exiting the canyon requires a climb. Navigating the Five Mile Rapids and Hot Springs Creek is rocky and challenging. Extremely skilled boaters should try Bruneau’s lower section, mainly when the water is high.

Reese River

If you’re looking to relax, consider Reese River. It features hot springs that will melt the stress away! Reese River Hot Springs can be found 0.2 miles off Highway 305 in the Reese River Valley, 55 miles north of Austin, and 34 miles south of the hamlet of Battle Mountain. 

A steaming stream comes through a travertine hillside at a temperature of 125°F. A plastic tub receives the hot water from the channel after passing through a few pipes. When the water reaches the tub, the temperature sits between 105 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

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The photo featured at the top of this post is © Victoria Ditkovsky/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

Kirstin is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering animals, news topics, fun places, and helpful tips. Kirstin has been writing on a variety of topics for over five years. She has her real estate license, along with an associates degree in another field. A resident of Minnesota, Kirstin treats her two cats (Spook and Finlay) like the children they are. She never misses an opportunity to explore a thrift store with a coffee in hand, especially if it’s a cold autumn day!

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