When coming to Las Vegas, most people arrive with a certain set of expectations and images in mind… Glittery Casinos… the Las Vegas Strip… Fremont Street… Pawn Stars. but there is another side to Las Vegas – the places outside… that most never see. With this post, I would like to visit a couple of those locations… one of them that happens to be out in the desert… and the other that happens to be… up above the desert.
Indeed, to most folks, Las Vegas looks like this… Welcome!
Alice and I have been coming to Las Vegas for almost 25 years now, most of the time to accommodate my attendance at the annual Interop Computer Conference…. but on occasion just to visit a good friend, or enjoy a vacation trip. During this time, we have seen tremendous growth in the City’s Metropolitan area… the Las Vegas Convention Center, huge Casinos, the ‘Strip’ – but we still think the very best of the “surprises & beauty” to be seen around Las Vegas are the natural ones… which happen to be found outside the City. The Map below shows the locations of a couple of our favorite suggestions… Mt. Charleston Lodge located in the nearby Spring Mountains… and Rogers Spring located up along the Northshore Rd. of Lake Mead. (Jump to Rogers Spring)
Las Vegas Area, Interactive Map
The Spring Mountains can be seen from all over Las Vegas. The picture below, with the Spring Mountains in the background, was taken at the intersection of Sunset Rd. & N. Stephanie St, close to the Galleria Mall, and east of the Airport. Note… the ever present mountains.
It’s been our experience, that after a few days of driving around Las Vegas… and always ‘seeing’ the Mountains in the distance… that the lure of the Mountains gets stronger and stronger. The urge to jump in your car and drive to them can get to be irresistible. This week was no different. As Alice and I daily drove the city… looked at the mountains… we felt the urge, and when the Conference was over, we just had to go!
We’re off! This visit, we were staying in our Motorhome at the Thousand Trails RV Park in Las Vegas, on Boulder Hwy. So, to get to Mt. Charleston… We headed Straight North on Lamb Blvd, until reaching the new I-215 North Loop… then turned left towards the Mountains.
When I-215 intersected into US 95, we turned North until we reached Hwy 157, Kyle Canyon Rd., and turned west… This road is a twisty, winding, easy-driving road that rises over 6,000 feet. The mountains get closer… See the interactive Map above for more details.
The elevation at the bottom of Hwy 157 (intersection with US 95) is approximately 1,500 feet, and the temperature was about 79°… After reaching Mt. Charleston Lodge at 7,650 feet, the temperature had dropped to 58°. Along the way up Hwy 157, roughly 17 miles, we passed the new Forest Service Visitor Center…
As we continued our trip up Kyle Canyon Rd, we came to the end at about the 7,600 ft. elevation level… Cathedral Rock Trailhead, and across the road, Mt. Charleston Lodge & Restaurant. The local Native Americans maintain handmade Jewelry tables… Alice is interested, as the pieces are quite beautiful.
Walking around the side of the Lodge Restaurant, is a dining deck on the North Side.
Weddings are performed here… for obviously beautiful reasons. Note the recent snow…
After arriving in the mid-afternoon, we enjoyed a late lunch on the deck. I would highly recommend their “Mountain Chili”… and the burgers are great too! For more Pictures of the Lodge, and Mt. Charleston in general, please view our slide show at the end of this post…
Just a few days earlier, before the Conference, we took a drive up Northshore Rd. (Hwy 167), along Lake Mead. This is a very pretty desert road, with ‘surprises’… one of which is Rogers Spring. To check on the exact location, click here to Jump back to the Las Vegas interactive map.
Rogers Spring is a nice picnic stop, complete with Covered Picnic tables, and a scenic view of Overton Arm of Lake Mead. A small paved trail leads down to the spring-fed pond. Water temperatures are in the 90-100° range, and the spring is suitable for wading.
There is a small walking trail that wraps around the spring…
And the view off in the distance is awesome… Don’t forget to click on these pictures to enlarge them.
There is more ‘outside’ of Las Vegas to see… this is just a start. Just up the road from Rogers Spring is the Valley of Fire State Park … that has wonderful exhibits of petrified wood and Indian Petroglyphs… Next year, is a whole new trip for us!
We hope you enjoyed our pictures of ‘The Las Vegas… that Most never see‘. Las Vegas’s main industry is Tourism…and therefore it’s McCarran International Airport is one of the least expensive airports in the country to fly in to. Rental car’s are equally lower cost too… providing the wheels to ‘get out there’. Enjoy!
Jim & Alice LaPeer
To view a full-screen, high-resolution slideshow of The Las Vegas… that Most never see., click the ‘curved arrow‘ just below the picture on the right. To return to normal display, hit [Esc] key. Otherwise, place cursor over the picture to display the slideshow control buttons. Comments are Welcomed!