Archive for the ‘ Nevada ’ Category


Hoover Dam

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Hoover Dam is located about half an hour outside Las Vegas and situated in between Arizona and Nevada. Filled with history and a colossal view, the Hoover Dam is certainly a worthwhile stop. It’s easy to be awed by the Hoover Dam. If you have just a few minutes, stop along one of the many roadside viewpoints–perfect for snapping a photo and taking in the immensity of the dam.

If you have have more than a few minutes, be sure to check out the power plant tour and see how the dam operates, it plays an essential role in brining much needed water to the Southwest. When it was completed in 1936, the Hoover Dam was quite an engineering marvel and was the largest dam in the world at that time.

Hoover Dam straddles the mighty Colorado River, which acts as the border between Arizona and Nevada. The damn created Lake Mead, which is the largest reservoir in the US in water capacity.

In 2010 a four-lane highway bridge arching across the Colorado River opened, carrying traffic between Nevada and Arizona. The older two-lane highway across the dam could no longer handle the 15,000 vehicles that travel across each day. Construction on the 1,900-foot-long structure, named the Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, began in 2005. An impressive feat of engineering, the supporting twin-rib arch span echoes the elegant curves of the dam itself.

Valley of Fire fuels desire to explore

Saturday, November 30th, 2013

Valley of Fire is one of those rare places that exceeded my expectations…it’s a state park located about 80 minutes northeast of Las Vegas, Nevada. I was initially going to meet friend and fellow travel blogger, Fran Reisner, in Zion National Park for a long weekend, however due to some unforeseen circumstances, we were running a bit late. Fran and I were converging on Las Vegas from different directions, from there we were to caravan to Zion. I needed to be in Las Vegas on Monday for an assignment, so we didn’t have much time to spare. Since there was no way to make Zion that day, we decided to find a place nearby to camp for the night—from there we would reevaluate the rest of the weekend. While the delay we encountered forced us to find an alternative place to for the night, it allowed us to discover one of those unexpected gems of the road…Valley of Fire State Park.

It was dusk by the time we arrived at one of the Valley of Fire campgrounds, so the beauty that surrounded us would not be fully appreciated or revealed until dawn. After fixing some dinner and getting caught up, we both retired for the evening. The weather was perfect and the stars were amazingly bright. I was actually pleasantly surprised by how dark as it was…I fully expected a significant amount of light pollution from the luminous Vegas glow. As it were, the geological wonder nestled us within its womb as it shielded the area for us stargazing enthusiasts.

After a peaceful nights rest with hardly a sound to be heard, we woke to an amazing sunrise that cast its amber glow among the circumambient firery rock formations. The first thing we did was venture out to capture some photos of the remarkable landscape. As the sun rose higher on the horizon, and the magical kelvin light dissipated, we headed back to camp to cook breakfast. Without question, we both agreed that Valley of Fire required more exploration…Zion would have to wait for another day.

With 44,000 acres of awe-inspiring and diverse landscape in front of us, we had a lot of ground to cover. Some of the highlights included:

  • Seven Sisters: A fascinating series of red rock formations that were easily accessible from the road.
  • Beehives: The sandstone formations in this area have eroded in such a way that they resemble “beehives.”
  • Arch Rock: This was very close to our campground with the same name. There two-mile scenic loop provides views of some of the valley’s most interesting rock formations.
  • Atatl Rock: Here you can climb several flights of stairs to observe petroglyphs and the vista below.
  • Mouse’s Tank: This is a half-mile hike, passing several examples of prehistoric petroglyphs. Mouse’s Tank is a natural basin in the rock where water collects after a good rainfall, sometimes remaining for months at a time.
  • Rainbow Vista: This was an extraordinary view and clearly a favorite place for folks to stop and take pictures of the multi-colored sandstone.
  • Petrified Logs: Here you’ll see logs and stumps that washed into the area from an ancient forest that dates back 225 million years ago.

Valley of Fire was a wonderful diversion from our initial intended destination…a place I would absolutely visit again. If you’ve ever been to Valley of Fire State Park, please leave a comment below and share your favorite aspects with my readers and me.

Exploring an Abandoned Nevada Mine

Saturday, May 12th, 2012

While I was working my way toward northern California, I made a number of stops to explore old ghost towns in western Nevada.  It was getting late so I was figured I should find a good place to camp.  After seeing a dirt road to veer off of highway 95 from, I made my way east into a vast open area surrounded by nearby mountains (bordering Area 51 I think). There were rugged roads in many directions and I just let the truck lead the way, eventually ending halfway up a hillside providing outstanding views of the vistas below.

There was old mining equipment strewn around the site, and so I thought this would be an exciting area to explore after I set up my camp.  There was not a soul in sight.  The weather was perfect (at least at the moment.  Hours later the wind was quite fierce.) and the views majestic.

I began to investigate the the area, working my way up the hillside when I happened upon an opening in the mountain.  After a quick glance I went back to my truck to get some supplies…namely, a good flashlight and my gun.  I went back up to the shaft (or perhaps more accurately, a cave tunnel opening).  I noticed narrow gauge train tracks, so I figured this tunnel must go quite a long way. Have a look at the video below to see my experience.

Nevada’s abandoned mines are found throughout the state. According to the Nevada Division of Minerals, there are over 100,000 abandoned mines.  If it’s not obvious, I should mention that entering an abandoned mine can be very dangerous, and if done, should be at your own risk. The dangers might not be obvious at first inspection, so here are some things to consider…

  • Mines can have unstable openings and walls.
  • Toxic gas and/or a lack of oxygen.
  • Decayed timbers can cause cave-ins.
  • Unstable explosives and toxic chemicals can be left behind.
  • Shafts filled with water…if you fall in you could drown.
  • Poisonous snakes, spiders and other critters.
  • Bats and rats may carry diseases.

Click the following link to see more of my Abandoned Nevada Mines and Ghost Towns pictures. If you enjoyed this post and video, please hit the “like” button and share with friends and family, it really helps.

If you’d like to explore this particular mine, here are the coordinates: 37 32′23.5 n, 117 10′18.5 w. Note: If you go, watch out for nails near the site…I would recommend not parking your vehicle near the site, but rather walk up.

Boulder City, Nevada

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

Article in collaboration with: Julia Newmann

Boulder City is a stark contrast to the rest of Nevada.  It is the only major city within Nevada that does not allow for any type of gambling.  Even a raffle requires a special permit by the city.  The town prides itself as being an alternative to Vegas.  With that said, Boulder City may come across as a dull place, however there are still plenty of activities available for those living in or visiting Boulder City. Boulder City is located just 35 miles east of Las Vegas and plays host to some of the following sights:

Hoover Dam
Boulder City was originally developed as a federal reservation for those working on the Hoover Dam in the 1930s.  Once the dam was completed, the town remained and now those living in Boulder City can check out one of the modern man-made marvels of the world.

The Hoover Dam provides electricity to all of Las Vegas and parts of California, Nevada, and Arizona.  In addition, it serves as a dam to prevent flooding and provide irrigation for the region.

Lake Mead
As a result of Hoover Dam, the largest man-made lake in the world was created in Lake Mead.  The lake is 112 miles long with over 550 miles of shoreline.  For those that love water recreation, Lake Mead is the place to go in the Las Vegas area.  Boating is easily the most popular recreational activity at the lake, but you can also fish, swim, sunbath and water ski.  With a few exceptions, you can enjoy activities at Lake Mead year-round.

Nevada State Railroad Museum
If you are a fan of railroads, or have kids or grand children that love trains, then a visit to the Nevada State Railroad Museum is a must.  You can learn about the history of the trains used during the construction of Hoover Dam and even take a ride on some of the classic trains.

Also, for older train enthusiasts there is the engineer-for-an-hour program where you receive instruction on how to operate one of the classic trains and then get a chance to actually run a live locomotive.

Go to Vegas
Just a short drive outside of Boulder City you have Las Vegas.  While Boulder City may have banned gambling, that won’t prevent you from hopping in a car and taking advantage of the dozens of casinos in the Vegas area.

In addition, there are other activities in the town that include the Mob Museum, the Vegas Zoo, the Lied Children’s Museum, the Pinball Hall of Fame, and several happening clubs around town.