This year, instead of taking part in the mass consumer frenzy known as Black Friday, REI and Friends of Nevada Wilderness is urging YOU to #OptOutside on Friday, November 24th. And be sure to tag #OptOutside and #nevadawilderness when sharing pictures from your outdoor adventures!
In 2015, REI launched an initiative to encourage people to spend more time outside by closing the doors to their retail locations, headquarters, and distribution centers across the nation on the Friday after Thanksgiving. A bold move for one of the nation’s largest outdoor retailers, their statement has been gaining traction within the outdoors community every year since. This year, REI activated their #OptOutside campaign with some compelling media that asks people to really consider the consequences of continuing to live out our lives indoors (link to REI's video), compared against the benefits that could be gained if we collectively made an effort to redirect our lives back outside and into nature (link to REI's report).
Whether you prefer to hike, fish, hunt, observe wildlife, or photograph nature, take some time with the people you love to explore all that the outside has to offer. Here are our top 5 recommendations for Wilderness areas in Nevada to #OptOutside:
1. The Sheep Range Proposed Wilderness Complex, within the Desert National Wildlife Refuge
The massive Sheep Range Proposed Wilderness is one of the most topographically and ecologically diverse wilderness areas in the country. Located on the eastern side of the expansive Desert National Wildlife Refuge, the Sheep Range runs over 60 miles, paralleling Highway 93 through Clark and Lincoln Counties. The stunning exposed limestone-spine of the range creates dramatic walls and ever changing colors as the hours, weather, and seasons change. This range is unique in providing the visitor with the ability to experience the full spectrum of the seven life-zones that characterize the area, uninterrupted by human modification. Though not as well-known as the Mt. Charleston area and Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, the Sheep Range Proposed Wilderness Complex is loved by many and is a haven for those looking for less crowded recreation in a stunning setting.
The Mount Rose Wilderness is a slice of wild country nestled between the two urban environments of Reno and Lake Tahoe, and if you live in the greater Reno area you can be hiking in this Wilderness in less than a half hour. The Mount Rose Wilderness is divided into two units. The southern portion is the Mount Rose unit and at 30,000 acres, contains most of the major canyons and ridges as well as the 10,776-foot Mount Rose, the dominant feature of the Wilderness. The northern portion is the Hunter Creek unit consisting of Hunter Creek Canyon and is 5,000 acres in size. The Hunter Creek Trail features outstanding views of the rugged, volcanic Hunter Creek Canyon, a lively cascading creek and, if you persevere, a beautiful, secluded waterfall.
3. Gold Butte National Monument
Gold Butte National Monument provides amazing opportunities for visitors to hike to rock art sites, drive the Gold Butte Backcountry Byway to the area’s namesake mining ghost town, hunt desert bighorn sheep, or tour the area’s peaks and canyons on horseback, all within an hour drive of Las Vegas. Our newest National Monument covers nearly 300,000 acres of remote and rugged desert landscape where one can explore miles of desert gardens of sculpted rocks punctuated with the continual variety of Mojave Desert vegetation and its associated wildlife. Gold Butte also offers over 500 miles of motorized recreation trails. The variety of experiences this desert wonderland provides truly are endless.
4. Petersen Mountain Proposed Wilderness
Petersen Mountain rises up as an ecological island along the border of California and Nevada, combining natural systems of both the Sierra Nevada range of the west and the Nevada high desert to the east. Approximately 28 miles north of urban Reno, the sheer scale of this magnificent mountain with its remote canyons and ubiquitous rock formations is easily accessible. Traveling the summit of the range offers spectacular vistas of the surrounding valleys and distant mountains, and the long, high-elevation Solitude Valley just below the high point of the mountain provides an outstanding opportunity to vanish into a secluded world.
5. South McCullough Wilderness
The South McCullough Wilderness encompasses the southern portion of the north-south trending McCullough Range and the landscape displays a thriving Mojave Desert. Though a short distance from the lights and sounds of Las Vegas, silence is common in the narrow canyons and sandy washes of South McCullough Wilderness. Infrequent visitor use and the need for route finding skills provide great opportunities for secluded recreation that includes hiking, horseback riding, hunting, exploring, and camping.