By Laura Juarez
Beyond the dazzling lights, vibrant billboard ads and the everyday clatter that comes from the ever changing Las Vegas Strip lies another world entirely different and unique from the one you’re used to seeing on the front cover of Traveler’s Digest. The world I speak of is astonishing and rich in history.
Not too far from the rapid moving Las Vegas. You can find yourself lost in wonder as you travel through a valley that bares a close resemblance to another planet. Travel back in time to an old western town, home to a hidden rustic gold mine, or take a ride through the striking desert landscape of the Mojave Desert.
Such sights provide a unique and fun learning experience that won’t put a hole in your wallet. There are a few things to consider when trying to decide on a perfect day out with the whole family such as; weather, distance and the duration of a trip.
What I like to consider is the “WOW” factor when choosing my trips. Pink Jeep® Tours offers a wide variety of safe half-day excursions, complete with a knowledgeable tour guide to make your experience truly memorable. The following are some of my favorite short tours that I have had the pleasure of experiencing.
Red Rock Canyon located only 17 miles west from the Las Vegas Strip. Our adventure begins at the Visitor’s Center where you will find a tortoise habitat and interpretive displays on the different wildlife, vegetation and geology found in the area. There is a large window straight ahead from the entrance that displays a panoramic view of the Keystone Thrust. That view takes my breath away. Traveling a bit further, you’ll get blown away by the perfectly sculpted and brightly colored sand dunes of Calico Hills. Your journey continues along the 13-mile scenic loop to Willow Springs and off the beaten path up Rocky Gap Road.
Hoover Dam is considered to be one of the world’s largest dams and it is a modern engineering genius. Hoover Dam stands at 726.4 ft and weighs 6,600,000 tons. Your tour begins from the inside of the dam where you will start with a short film that captures “history in the making.” Then you will continue down an elevator to a tunnel that leads to the plant where many generators work to produce power. Upgrade your tour to catch an up front view of the massive structure at the base of it; all while enjoying a float ride on a pontoon boat.
Eldorado Canyon Gold Mine Tour will make you feel as if you stepped back in time to the old west when there were gunslingers and gold was desperately sought after. Our tour starts at the Eldorado Canyon Store, where there are several artifacts such as, used mining tools, pictures and payroll stubs on display. Here, you will hear about miners who worked very hard for gold. Then you will continue to trek on to the Techatticup Gold Mine, which was famous for its precious minerals that attracted the attention of Spanish explorers and prospectors. Over 500 ft of tunnel path has been cleared to explore the mine. The mine maintains a steady temperature of about 70 degrees year-round. Once in the mine, you will hear tales of renegade Indians, claim jumpers, ghosts and more.
Valley of Fire derives its name from the twisted sand stone formations developed by erosion. These brilliantly shaped centerpieces often give the impression that they are fire when reflecting against the sun. As Nevada’s oldest and largest state park and once the home to the ancient pueblo people, also known as the Anasazi Indians, Valley of fire gets my highest “wow” rating!
Just the drive to the park is an attraction on its own. With the vast desert scenery, right after passing the Moapa Indian reservation, you will feel like you’re in an old western movie. Once you enter the park, it will be difficult to believe that such a park exists just an hour from Las Vegas. The scenic drive through the park will make you feel as if you have traveled to another planet.
The Visitor’s Center has plenty to look at from short informational films to the different exhibits displaying many “creepy crawlers” through glass cases. One of my all-time favorite short hikes would be through the sandy path of Mouse’s Tank. This point of interest got its name from a renegade Indian, Little Mouse who was a Most Wanted fugitive in the 1890′s.
Little Mouse used this canyon as a temporary hideout during that time. Although, we won’t find any wanted fugitives hiding out here anymore, we will however, find pictographs that date back as far as 3,000 years.
Your tour conductor to this unforgettable adventure will give you plenty of time to marvel at each sight, water is also provided on each tour. Comfortable shoes and sun block are strongly recommended and cameras are a must! So please, let your curiosity be your guide and come join Pink Jeep® Tours on an exciting journey through the roads less traveled!