Ah, Death Valley! It’s a famous park, and for good reason. It has amazing views, some great landmarks, and holds a couple records. It’s 282 feet below sea level at Badwater Basin, which is the lowest point in North America. What makes that even more incredible is that it’s less than 100 miles from the highest point in the contiguous United States, Mount Whitney! It also certainly lives up to it’s name; Death Valley holds the record for the highest ambient air temperature ever recorded on Earth at 134*F back in 1913, it holds the record for the highest surface temperature ever recorded on Earth at 201*F in 1972, and it also averages only 2.36 inches of rain per year. On top of that, the night skies are incredible, as this is one of the darkest places you can visit. The Milky Way Galaxy is visible to the naked eye, and if you’ve never seen space at a place as dark as this park is, the first time you see it will be unbelievable. There is some good camping here, just don’t go camping during the summer. As I said in my SeKi post, I really believe that the US National Park system is a great achievement, and this is just another example of just how good it is. (more…)
Before I get into this, there are three different parks I’ll be talking about: Sequoia National Forest, King’s Canyon National Park, and Sequoia National Park. You should know the locations, differences, and general info about the three. Also, I realize it’s not super local to Las Vegas. It’s a good 7 hours or more just to get to the start of the two parks, and then possibly a whole other day to ride through it and enjoy it. I suggest this be a 3-day trip, though I didn’t ride part of the route through Sequoia National Forest that I’ll describe later, I only went through Sequoia and King’s Canyon National Parks (referred to as SeKi together). I’ll describe both farther down. Regardless, I highly recommend making the trip, it’s super worth it. The United States’ National Park system is one of the US’s greatest achievements, and this park is a fantastic example of that. (more…)
Valley of Fire State Park has some of the most amazing rock formations you’ll see around Vegas. The name of this place certainly holds up, as much of the rock in the park is the reddest red I’ve seen on a rock. (more…)
I’m going to miss Bonnie Springs. Located in Red Rock Canyon, Bonnie Springs Ranch was originally established in 1843 as a watering stopover for wagon trains going to California on the Old Spanish Trail. It was sold and purchased by the Levinsons in the 1950s, and was developed and opened to tourists in the ’60s and ’70s. By 2018, the Ranch was largely set up to mimic a late-1800s mining town, and included a restaurant, train, Old Nevada town area, wax museum, petting zoo, horseback riding, and mock gunfights complete with the Sheriff slinging a six-shooter. The restaurant had some really good food, and was a great old-timey atmosphere. It was always busy on the weekends. Some 150,000+ people visited this place annually.
Mt. Charleston is the place to be in the middle of the summer. The roads across the mountain reach above 8000ft, so it’s typically around 20 degrees cooler up there than down in the Las Vegas valley. It’s a great break from the heat, and it’s a fun ride. (more…)
Red Rock Canyon is a place I know well. I’ve been here many, many times, and it’s fun every time. This is probably the closest ride around Las Vegas, and it’s a great one-way 13-mile loop. It’s real scenic, the roads are usually very clean and good, there are some nice curves inside the loop, and it’s a great place for people to learn and get the hang of some turns. (more…)