Long live Las Vegas! When Elvis Presley sang these words 50 years ago, he captured the essence of the famous resort in the desert. Vegas is always full of life, from crowds frolicking on the streets of the strip strip to the dramas played at the tables in the many casinos. However, there comes a point when the party needs to stop – or at least take a break. When your game background is turned off, the endless neon signs look eye-catching, and the facades of the theme parks look tasteless. Then it’s time for the traveler to do what the traveler should do: leave the city and explore Nevada.
Most Vegas visitors don’t see much of the surrounding state, they only see it in flight. But the landscape of Nevada is a fascinating patchwork of desert landscapes, secret government agencies and small towns with a western character.
Here’s a three-day itinerary from Vegas.
Day 1: Gold Rush – Ghost town and meetings with aliens
A short drive west of Las Vegas is the Red Rock Canyon National Reserve, a great place to start this urban detox journey. This arid landscape, which is part of the Mojave Desert, is dominated by impressive formations of red sandstone. The visitor center offers a magnificent view of the long rust-red rock, which contrasts sharply with the arid landscape with yucca plants with prickly leaves.
Walk along the marked trails that surround the visitor center, but remember the advice of local ranger Jim Cribbs about rattlesnakes: “Step 10 feet away from them and they will leave you alone. If you take a rattlesnake by the tail, it will bite you. They have no sense of humor.’
Heading northwest, you will see the secret on board as you travel along the Nellis Airbase, a secret zone that houses both the former nuclear weapons test site and the secret zone 51, which is associated with UFOs by supporters of conspiracy theory.
To expand the UFO theme when you arrive in the town of Beatty, Arrival at Atom Hostel . This retro motel maximizes the myth of zone 51, decorating its territory with models of aliens and unexploded bombs.
From Beatty you can reach the strange ghost town of Rhyolit in a few minutes. Leaved in the 1920s after the depletion of gold reserves, the streets are littered with finished buildings, such as an old railway station and a house made of bottles.
In the lower part of the city is the open-air museum Goldwell with its impressive works of art against the backdrop of a harsh landscape under a big blue sky.
To round off the day, visit one of the cowboy lounges in Beatty. The element of enjoyment is present here – the symbol of the happy donkey is “Screech Pete”, a smart guy you can meet in a bar. Nearby is the outpost of QC organizes an entertaining barbecue and a cowboy-style show.
Day 2: Immerse yourself in the history of a city experiencing a mining boom.
Head north towards Tonopa on the street. A few hundred people still live here, but the streets are lined with tall buildings built a century ago, when the population of the city was 20,000 people. The old fire station is particularly impressive.
Arrival in Tonopa at the hotel “Mitzpa” This beautifully renovated hotel from 1907 is another remnant of the mining boom with a spacious lounge and a constant ghost, the so-called lady in Red.
Tonope’s economic ups and downs since her fame in silver mining have led to a street scene that inspires the photographer. There is no modern chain of stores in sight, but it is a cluster of storefronts that look like America’s little town from movies: among them Kozy Korner Deli, Tonopah Distillery, the austere US Post Office building and the Western A-Bar-L store where you can buy cowboy clothes.
To better understand the history of the city, visit the interesting Central Museum of Nevada and the historic mining park of Tonop on the hills above the city.
After dinner at the Mizpa, go outside and look at the sky. Since the city is located in the San Antonio Mountains with little light pollution, it is said that Tonop is the cleanest night sky in the United States. Once a month the Astronomical Society of Tonope hosts a public stargazing session at City Highland Park.
Day 3: The smell of the oven in Death Valley National Park
Head south and west across the California border to Death Valley National Park to Scotty Castle. This awesome Spanish-style mansion, originally known as Death Valley Ranch, is a fascinating place to visit.
It was built in the 1920s by millionaire Albert Johnston after his wife Bessie complained about the lack of suitable housing during her visits to the area. The reason Johnston came to Death Valley was primarily a trust scam by Walter “Scotty” Scott, who persuaded the rich man to invest in a fraudulent gold mine. Rather funny than bored, Johnston made friends with Scotty, and then toyed with the myth that the mansion belongs to a clever swindler (he actually lived in a distant hut).
Tours of the house are conducted by national park guides, dressed in ancient costumes and offering a fascinating insight into the way of life of the rich and eccentric people of the turbulent twenties.
Now the desert is waiting for you. Head south through the surprisingly dry Death Valley. Take a lunch break at Farnish Creek Ranch and then drive to Zabriskie Point. This distinctive humpback ridge can be seen from a high vantage point opposite.
Finally, we go to the nearby Badwater Pool. This aptly named salt shaker is located 86 m below sea level and is the lowest point in North America. Standing by the water in the pool on a summer day is like standing in an oven heated by a fan. This is an awesome effect of one of the greatest natural extremes; the temperature in this part of Death Valley was measured at 57°C (134°F).