Nevada : Safety by City
- Battle Mountain
- Blue Diamond
- Boulder City
- Burning Man in Black Rock City
- Carson City
- Incline Village
- Las Vegas
- Moapa Valley
- Mount Charleston
- North Las Vegas
- Virginia City
- West Wendover
Pahrump, Nevada, is a town west of Las Vegas.
Commonly referred to as going “over the hump to Pahrump,” Route 160 is becoming busier than ever.
The growth of the town is fueled by the housing challenges, but the benefit for visitors is that Pahrump is becoming more of a tourist destination for budget-conscious travelers.
Pahrump also has a great location as one of the gateways to Death Valley National Park and the Mojave Desert across the California state line.
That means this desert gem is just an hour from the hottest place on earth or the City of Entertainment.
Some might look out at the barren desert and think there’s nothing to do, but the history here is bewildering at best and buried at times.
Whether you want to learn about fossils, native cultures, the mining history (which isn’t what you think it would be), and the nuclear repository of Yucca Mountain nearby.
Before you plan a trip “over the hump,” let’s explore all the safety guidelines you need to enjoy your time here.
Warnings & Dangers in Pahrump
OVERALL RISK: LOW
There's a low risk here, with slightly below-average crime rates. It's not low enough to let your guard down, but it's not the Sodom and Gomorrah some people might assume. There are plenty of family-friendly and PG-rated activities to enjoy.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
Contact Pahrump Valley Public Transportation to find the latest routes, as those are expanding each year. You can get around Pahrump and to nearby cities like Las Vegas and Amargosa Valley. Taxis and rideshares will be easy to find. It's best to get a rental car if you want to explore outside Pahrump.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: MEDIUM
Between 2017 and 2021, the town averages 2.5 pickpockets or purse snatchings a year. None were reported in 2022. This is a low risk, but there's a medium risk potential. Your best safety practices will prevent a crime of opportunity.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: LOW
Nye County posts a Weekly Situation Report, offering the latest information about natural disaster risks. Wildfires, extreme heat, rare but crippling winter snow storms, flash flooding, and severe thunderstorms are the biggest risks. You might also feel the occasional rumble of an earthquake.
MUGGING RISK: LOW
Only a handful of robberies each year happen against people in public, so there's a low risk. Look for context in crime data because I can tell you that robberies between 2021 and 2022 doubled. In reality, that means the raw data went from two to four.
TERRORISM RISK: LOW
There's a low risk in Pahrump, but the closeness of Yucca Mountain, where nuclear waste is stored, and Area 51 will always be considered potential targets. That risk also comes with a wealth of security nearly surpassing any other place in the country.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
Most of the scams target residents here, with threatening calls or letters demanding money or risk being arrested or having utilities shut off. There's a low risk of a tourist scam, but always check Nye County Sheriff's social media sites for new scams.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
There's a low risk for women here, and the main concern is being prepared for the dangers of the surrounding desert.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
You'll need to ask your hotel or rental homeowner to show you the latest water quality tests. The well water isn't regularly tested here since it's not through a formal water utility service. Elevated levels of arsenic have been found in Nye County water, but it would take extended exposure to this element to create any real health concerns. The risk is low, but it's worth asking. The Nye County Water District has plenty of information on its website.
Safest Places to Visit in Pahrump
Visit Pahrump is the name of the official tourism website.
To confirm you’re in the right place, look for the Your Basecamp to Adventure message.
Learn more about the region at Visit Nevada’s website.
Death Valley National Park has its own website through the National Park Service (NPS).
Start at the Pahrump Valley Museum to learn the history of this land and find out how the town was founded on a scandal that is still legendary today.
Admission is free, and there’s also a display where you can learn more (and get some assurance) about the Yucca Mountain site.
Pahrump has five casinos, some with hotels or RV parks as part of the property.
If you sign up for casino rewards programs, you’ll likely get some discounts, deals, and benefits for the time you spend in the casino.
You will need an ID to get that card. Casinos are open 24/7.
The legal gambling age is 21, and nobody under that age can be on the casino floor.
Lake Spring Mountain is an oasis of outdoor fun, and Spring Mountain Motor Resort is the place for people who love fast cars.
You can attend the Corvette driving school or watch others race around the challenging track.
A resort is also here, so you can stay where the race cars play.
Hoof it at the Happy Hoof Beats Equestrian Center, where riding lessons, open riding, and private rides are available.
Trails range from easy to challenging.
The safest way to explore the dirt trails of Nye County is through the Jimmy Lewis Off-Road Adventures.
You can learn how to mountain bike, adventure bike, or bike race, all within the legal guidelines.
If you’re an experienced rider and want to ride ATV trails, check out the map of Adventure Tours in Pahrump Valley on the tourism website.
Pahrump is one of the few places in Nevada where you can buy and set off fireworks under strict control and calendar limitations.
Firework stores have special lots for launching.
You will need to buy a permit at the store.
Head to the skies over Pahrump with a hot-air balloon ride offered seven days a week for sunrise tours.
You can ride solo or with a group, and a champagne toast (for those 21 and older) is provided at the end of each ride.
So long, Sonoma!
Pahrump has a growing winery and distillery business, with several places to visit:
- Artesian Cellars
- Pahrump Valley Winery
- Sanders Family Winery
- Stonewise Mead and Cider
An easy hike through Discovery Park will take you through a former golf course with nearly 200 species of birds to see.
Kiosks and signs along the way help you learn about the wildlife and ecosystem.
In a quick 30-minute drive, you can visit Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge.
This is a true desert oasis with natural springs and an underground river fueling plants and trees you won’t find anywhere else in the barren desert.
There’s even the legendary Devil’s Hole, with an underground watery cavern protecting the Pupfish.
Check out the video of how an earthquake in Japan rattled this chasmal place.
Death Valley is 60 miles away, but summer tours of the desert floor are not recommended (though nobody will stop you).
You can hike into Death Valley Mountains for a safer experience.
Places to Avoid in Pahrump
Even with rapid growth, there are still just two main roads through Pahrump.
That’s where you’ll find most of the tourist attractions.
While you don’t have a reason to be in the neighborhoods unless you’re visiting friends, you aren’t going to end up in a bad neighborhood accidentally.
Pahrump is home to two brothels, as prostitution is legal in Nye County.
If you see listings for the Chicken Ranch or Sheri’s Ranch, those have nothing to do with actual chickens or ranching.
You won’t find these in the center of town.
They are on a road 10 miles south of Pahrump’s city center.
Before you take part in any off-road activities, review the information on the tourism websites.
You might need a permit, license, or proof of good health to take part.
Nevada also has a “Dirt Road Code” on the Travel Nevada website, so you can learn how to protect the environment while enjoying its benefits.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Pahrump
- The Nye County Sheriff’s Office provides law enforcement for this area. There is not a Pahrump Police Department. The South Area Command covers Pahrump with an office located at 1521 E. Siri Lane. The phone number is (775)751-7000. You can also email email@example.com with any specific questions. Find them on Facebook @NyeCountySheriff.
- Route 160 is the highway between Las Vegas and Pahrump. It has long been one of the most dangerous roads in the state for accidents and deaths. Use caution on this road and drive safely. Let aggressive drivers pass, and keep your eyes on the road.
- Nye County has emergency shelters in case of extreme weather events or wildfires. The Pahrump Nugget is one of nine locations in Pahrump. You can find the evacuation map on the emergency management website.
- Use Nevada 511 to get road conditions in this Silver State and CalTrans for road updates in California. Each one shows construction, traffic backup, live cameras, and weather warnings.
- If you win more than a $1200 jackpot on a slot machine, you’ll be given a tax form. You’ll be required to present your ID and sign the form. This will be reportable income on your taxes. For those who don’t want to gamble but are worried about the temptation, you can ask the casino not to pay you any jackpots you win as a deterrent.
- For those who are worried about security and safety at casinos, you can always ask for a security escort to walk you to your car or room. I used this service all the time just to be extra cautious.
- Check the “Town Updates” on the Pahrump tourism site for ongoing and updated information about businesses that are open, any health restrictions, or other issues that can impact the availability of attractions.
- You can call the Visit Pahrump tourism staff toll-free at 833-272-3785 to ask any questions you have about the trip. It’s a free service and can save you hours of search engine rabbit holes.
- There is no diving allowed in Devil’s Hole. The area is now gated with cameras watching 24/7. If that’s not enough of a deterrent, several people have gone diving into the abyss and never returned. You can read about the feature through the kiosks on-site. It’s worth visiting, just don’t try to get in.
- Check Inciweb for fire activity before you go into wilderness areas. A plume of smoke on the horizon could be a controlled burn or a massive wildfire. You need to know what you’re getting into and how it might impact air quality if nothing else.
So... How Safe Is Pahrump Really?
The only crime data available for Pahrump is from Nye County, which is the third-largest (by size) in the country.
It does include several other cities, including Tonopah.
However, Pahrump makes up 87% of Nye County’s population, 52,000 people.
We can reasonably lean toward county crime data happening more in Pahrump than in any other location.
That said, violent crime rates are 15% lower than the national average.
Theft rates are 30% lower.
Just 16% of violent crimes happened between strangers.
It’s also important to note that crimes in jail or prison do get added to the overall tally.
One concerning point is that, even with the population growth, the 280% rise in violent crime doesn’t match the population growth.
Nye County is seeing more crime since 2018.
Car break-ins or accessory thefts account for 24% of all thefts, so always lock your car.
Don’t leave personal items inside, and get a car with an alarm if you can.
Pahrump was once considered a seedy town where people looking for more “sin” than Sin City provides would go.
Sure, historically, Pahrump has a history of scandals and oddities.
Whether it was electing a dead brothel owner to the state legislature or former Hollywood Madame Heidi Fleiss setting up a home with a bizarre array of birds, there’s always something shocking going on in Pahrump
Now, it’s a booming town with people escaping Las Vegas’ high housing costs and living “over the hump” for a better quality of life.
The amenities and attractions are growing with it.
How Does Pahrump Compare?
|La Paz (Bolivia)||52|
|Sao Paulo (Brazil)||45|
|Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)||43|
|Siem Reap (Cambodia)||63|
|Phnom Penh (Cambodia)||61|
International visitors need a visa or visa waiver. The visa would be applied for based on the purpose of your trip—tourist, work, education, etc. You'll also need a passport that isn't within six months of expiring.
The U.S. Dollar is the only currency you can use here. Stop by Travelex at the international terminal at LAS to exchange currency. If you take care of that at home, you'll get lower fees from your own bank.
Pahrump will always be slightly cooler than Las Vegas, but it's not the difference between Las Vegas and nearby Mount Charleston. Dress for the season, knowing winters are milder but can be freezing at times. Summers are hot and dry. Bring lotion to soothe dry skin, sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat.
Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas is the closest airport, with airport code LAS. It's 60 miles/one hour from Pahrump.
You should consider travel insurance for the flight and your ground transportation since you'll be on the road a lot. Comprehensive insurance can cover all risks, including health insurance.
Pahrump Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
|Temperature / Month||Jan||Feb||Mar||Apr||May||Jun||Jul||Aug||Sep||Oct||Nov||Dec|
Nevada - Safety by City
|Burning Man in Black Rock City||70|
|North Las Vegas||54|