Nye County is a county located in the U.S. state of Nevada. As of 2010, the population was estimated to be 43,946. At 18,159 square miles (47,030 km2), Nye is the third largest county in terms of area in the contiguous United States (thus excluding the boroughs of Alaska). Its county seat is Tonopah. The center of population of Nevada is located in Nye County, very near Yucca Mountain. The largest community in Nye County is Pahrump, an unincorporated town.
The Nevada Test Site and proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository are located in the southwestern part of the county and are the focus of a great deal of political and public controversy in the state. The federal government also manages 92 percent of the land in the county.
The county features several environmentally sensitive areas, including Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, the White River Valley, several Great Basin sky islands and a portion of Death Valley National Park. Visitors to Death Valley often stay at Beatty or Amargosa Valley.
Nye County is one of 11 Nevada counties where prostitution is legal.
The county has no incorporated cities. The seat of government in Tonopah is 160 miles (260 km) from Pahrump, where about 86 percent of the county's population resides. Nye County is nicknamed "The Kingdom of Nye" from the radio program Coast to Coast AM, created by Pahrump resident Art Bell.