Mount Charleston is Southern Nevada's mountain refuge. Temperatures are about 20 degrees cooler on the mountain than in Las Vegas, making Mount Charleston a cool getaway in summer and a snowy retreat in winter.
By way of U.S. 95, Mount Charleston is 45 miles northwest of Las Vegas. It's possible to make a loop on the Kyle Canyon and Lee Canyon roads. Driving up the mountain from U.S. 95, one passes through several climate and plant-life zones, beginning with the Joshua trees of the Mojave Desert to pine forests in the higher elevations.
Charleston Peak, the highest point in the Spring range, is 11,918 feet above sea level - and nearly 10,000 feet above the Las Vegas Valley. Ancient bristlecone pines, the earth's oldest living thing, live on the upper slopes.
Mount Charleston's restaurants, lodges, picnic areas, and hiking trails are in Kyle Canyon between 5,000 and 8,000 feet in elevation. The Mt. Charleston Hotel has a restaurant and 63 rooms. At the end of the Kyle Canyon Road is the Mt. Charleston Lodge and Resort, which has a restaurant and log cabins for overnighters.In Lee Canyon, the Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort is open for snow sports in winter.
Red Rock Canyon, in the southern section of the Spring Mountains, is the second most visited scenic area in Southern Nevada after Hoover Dam. The area has geological formations such as red sandstone cliffs and the world-famous Keystone Thrust, in which older formations have been thrust on top of younger sediments along a lengthy escarpment.
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area - or Red Rock, as it is commonly called - is 18 miles west of Las Vegas by way of West Charleston Boulevard (State Route 159). The first attractions one encounters are the Red Rock Visitor Center, operated by the Bureau of Land Management, and a 13-mile scenic, one-way loop drive through colorful formations of Aztec sandstone.
Spring Mountain Ranch State Park, the next stop, is a 520-acre oasis at the base of the Wilson Cliffs. The ranch was once owned by Vera Krupp, the German munitions heiress, and Howard Hughes. The main ranch house is the visitor center, and tours of it and other ranch buildings can be arranged. In summer, outdoor concerts and musicals are performed at the park.
Bonnie Springs/Old Nevada is a mile farther on State Route 159. Bonnie Springs Ranch has a motel, restaurant, and stables for horseback riding. Old Nevada is a replica of a Western town with shops, a saloon, and gunfights staged in the street. Group activities can be arranged.
The road also passes Blue Diamond, a tiny gypsum-mill town. State Route 159 swings south and east, connecting with State Route 160 and I-15 for a loop drive back to Las Vegas. Seek adventure and one of our members will direct you to the tour for you.
Special Note: Visitors often will see wild burros along the Red Rock road. The animals are the descendants of burros released by early-day prospectors. Visitors are urged not to stop and feed the burros for several reasons: to maintain the burros' health and natural instincts, to avoid traffic accidents, and to avoid personal injury â€š the burros do bite and kick. Photographers should take pictures from a safe distance.
Rising out of the Southern Nevada desert like a modern-day Emerald City, Las Vegas is a playground of fantasy-themed megaresorts, attractions, and entertainment. In fact, you don't have to travel around the world to see pyramids, Roman temples, volcanoes, or medieval castles â€š they can all be found in Las Vegas. Hotel-casinos like the Egyptian-themed Luxor, the Arabian-themed Aladdin, the Arthurian Excalibur, and the Greco-Roman Caesars Palace bring the wonders of the world to Southern Nevada. World cities lend their own landmarks including the Eiffel Tower at Paris Resort, the canals of Venice in the Venetian, and the skyline of the Big Apple at New York-New York. While most of the megaresorts line the world-famous Las Vegas Strip, there's plenty of action in downtown Las Vegas, site of the Fremont Street Experience. This $70 million attraction, which covers five city blocks, combines video wizardry, lasers, and state-of-the-art computers to create a celebration of light and music.
At 124,945 rooms, Las Vegas has more hotel and motel rooms than any other city in the world. Not only does Las Vegas have 18 of the 20 largest hotels in the world, the city also is on a mission to be the biggest, the best, and the most exciting at whatever it attempts. For example, the Bellagio has its own 11-acre lake, while the Stratosphere Resort has the tallest free-standing observation tower in the U.S. (1,149 feet) and the world's highest roller coaster.
Often referred to as the Entertainment Capital of the World, Las Vegas has a vast array of production shows, big-name headliners, comedy clubs, and lounge acts ready for the group traveler.
Diverse special events include the National Finals Rodeo, the PGA's Invensys Classic at Las Vegas, championship boxing, and automobile racing at the 106,000-seat Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Challenging golf courses abound, appealing to the casual chipper and tournament professional.
Las Vegas is also known for its shopping. Hotel-casinos have their own shopping areas. The Forum Shops at Caesars has 110 stores, a changing skyscape, robotic statues, and a Roman-square atmosphere. Desert Passage, located at the Aladdin, offers 135 shops and restaurants. Also on the Strip is the Fashion Show Mall, home of Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. Other shopping meccas include Boulevard Mall, Meadows Mall, and Belz Factory Outlet World.