Hee hee. You see what I did there?
I knew you would.
We explored so many places during our winter holiday stay in the Las Vegas area, that I could spend hours and hours writing up long descriptions and posting dozens of photos of each. But then I wouldn’t have enough time to explore new places.
Thus, I’ve decided to combine just a few lines of text and the “best of” photos into this single essay, so that you end up with just the true rock stars.
Ha! Did it again. Done now.
Cathedral Canyon: It was built as an outdoor religious shrine in the 1970’s, and fell into decline after the owner’s death in 1994. There was once a waterfall, a suspension bridge, stained glass windows, and um… the statue of Jesus still had a head, and way fewer bullet holes.
Rhyolite Ghost Town: The place lasted less than 15 years, following the rise and fall of the gold rush in the early 1900’s, with a peak population of about 8,000 in 1908. Very few buildings remain.
Death Valley National Park: We tried to hit all the stops on this “If you only have one day” guide, but couldn’t quite pull it off. The place is huge, but at least on the day before Christmas, it was not crowded. Word of caution: Don’t rely on cell phone service to map you around the park. There isn’t any. Pick up an old-fashioned paper guidebook and map before you go!
Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge: There was water here along with the rocks! The refuge harbors species of plants and animals that exist nowhere else on earth. I’m sure it’s lovely when the vegetation is blooming in the springtime, but we found something appealing in its raw winter beauty too. Bonus: admission is free.
Red Rock Canyon: This national conservation area just outside Las Vegas was extra enjoyable because we got to hike it with our friends Lisa & Dan of Always On Liberty, who happened to be staying at the same RV park as we were.
Valley of Fire: This state park 55 miles northeast of Las Vegas was also extra enjoyable, because we got to hike it with an old friend of mine from high school, who I hadn’t seen in 30 years! Tim and I visited the Grand Canyon just a couple months ago, and I have to tell you: I like Valley of Fire better. It’s just as spectacular, but far more accessible.
Although wintertime in western Nevada was quite a bit colder than we were expecting, with temperatures hovering around 50 degrees during the day, and down into the 30’s overnight with a couple of hard freezes, we thought it was a great time to visit. The hiking and exploring is no doubt brutal in the triple-digit temperatures of summer!
(Author’s note: a version of this post appears at Heartland RVs. It is printed here with permission.)