Miles from the strip:  About 22 miles or 30-45 minutes

Less than 20 miles west of the frenzy of Fremont Street and the strip is an oasis of such spectacular scenery called Spring Mountain Ranch.  Odds are, you may have never heard of it.  Locals would say to skip the crowds at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation area and head for Spring Mountain Ranch State Park, which offers the same experiences without thousands of people.  Once owned by Howard Hughes, the Spring Mountain Ranch sits below Wilson range cliffs just down the road from the Red Rock Conservation area.

Besides being owned by Howard Hughes, Vera Krupp, and the Wilson family, the ranch has a long and storied history dating back to the late 1800s. The area was settled partly because of its proximity to many natural springs that make a real-life oasis in the desert.  This lush oasis proved invaluable to exhausted pioneers forging West, following the Spanish Trail. This heavily-depended-upon pioneer stopover proved to be a reliable place to rest and stock up on supplies required for the remainder of their journey West.

It’s also rumored that ghosts or spirits inhabit two areas of the ranch, The ranch house, and the Wilson family cemetery.  Vera Krupp legends tell, has appeared screaming and saying she was robbed.  While Vera did not die there, she was a victim of an elaborate robbery right on the ranch property.  We checked out the story of the Krupp diamond heist, and it is quite a story.

If you’re a western history buff (or any history buff), you’ll want to take some time out and see how the pioneers heading to California depended on this oasis in the desert. The first caravan of settlers came through in 1829.  Be sure and check out the ranch and homes.

What’s available here:

•         Main ranch house – You’ll want to start here and take the self-guided tour if you’ve got the time.

•         Living History Programs – During the spring and fall, roll players on the site dressed in pioneer costumes to depict a day in the life of the original Las Vegas pioneers.

•         Summer Theatre – Super Summer Theatre holds cultural events from May to September. You can check out their events calendar at

•         Guided Tours – Guided tours are available, but you’ll need to call the park for more info.  YouTube:

•         Cost for all vehicles is $10.00 (including motorcycles)