The Las Vegas… that Most never see.

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! 


The Iconic “Welcome to Fabulous LAS VEGAS” sign… located on the South Las Vegas Strip across from McCarran International Airport. The gold building in the back… is the Mandalay Bay Casino & Convention center, where I was attending the 2016 Interop Network Conference.

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. 


In the distance about 35 miles away, the snow-covered Spring MountainsMt Charleston… can be seen from Sunset Rd. & N. Stephanie St.,  on the South side of Las Vegas.   Clearly, the ‘Shinning Mountains’ beckon on a sunny day.   (Click on picture to enlarge.)

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!


Getting there… I-215 North Loop (Click to enlarge)


Hwy 157, Kyle Canyon Rd. (Click to enlarge)


The US Forest Service Spring Mountains Visitor Gateway, Hwy 157, Kyle Canyon Rd.  (Click on picture to enlarge)


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. 


The Lodge Restaurant is not just for dinning… Local artisans and Native American Indians present their fine hand made Jewelry items for sell. Alice is admiring some pieces…

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…


Weddings are a very popular activity at Mt. Charleston Lodge…

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… 


Rogers Spring

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.


The Overton Arm of Lake Mead… as seen from Northshore Rd. by Rogers Spring.  The Muddy River and the Virgin River come together to form this arm of Lake Mead… before it joins with the Colorado River.

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.


Rogers Spring… Note the small ‘cave’ in the back… where the spring water flows from.   Average temperature of the Spring runs about 90 – 100°.

There is a small walking trail that wraps around the spring… 


Rogers Spring… picnic table canopy in the back right.

And the view off in the distance is awesome… Don’t forget to click on these pictures to enlarge them.


As we begin to leave the Rogers Spring area… this beautiful view of “desert cloud shadows” formed… Hard to see is Lake Mead in the shadows.

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!


5 thoughts on “The Las Vegas… that Most never see.

  1. Thanks for the beautiful pictures and memories. I used to camp on .mt. Charleston on Liberty weekends when I was stationed at the Nevada Test Site in the service. Beautiful desert this time of year.

  2. Thank You Jim and Alice,
    We have been to Vegas 4 times over the years and never knew this part of Vegas
    was there.

    • Hi Gary. Good to hear from you!

      Yes, and there are even more parts around the Las Vegas area to see… As I recall, you have a 5th wheel? Fall or Spring is a good time to do a trip out there… and a LOT of places to pull a 5th wheel.

  3. Thanks Jim & Alice for the beautiful words and pictures. It certainly is a side of Vegas most people do not see. Can’t wait to get out there and see it. Last day for me is May,31

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *