The U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18C crashed at about noon E.S.T. Saturday about 60 miles east of Reno, Nev.
The plane appeared to be a "total loss," the Navy said.
It took rescuers several hours to reach the wreckage because it was in a remote, mountainous region. The pilot wasn't initially located.
The name of the pilot was being withheld until his next of kin had been notified, CNN reported.