Mesquite, Pioche, Caliente, Alamo
- Distance: 500 Miles or 805 Kilometers
- Number of Nights: 4
From Las Vegas, follow I-15 North and take Exit 75 to Valley of Fire State Park, which borrows its name from the red sandstone formations in the area. Here, take in the park’s petrified wood and petroglyphs. Head north on Hwy. 169 to visit Overton’s hidden gem, the Lost City Museum. View ancient Anasazi ruins, artifacts, and pubelo dwellings. Continue north to I-15 North towards Mesquite, where you can enjoy a round of golf, pamper yourself at a spa, or try your luck at the tables. Overnight in Mesquite.
From Mesquite, travel north to Pioche by way of Beaver Dam, Ariz., and Veyo, Utah, a 136-mile trip. Shutterbugs will find many photo-ops along the route, including the Arizona Strip and Utah’s Dixie, before re-entering Nevada near Panaca, the first settlement in southern and eastern Nevada. Continue to Pioche for lunch at the Silver Café. Spend the afternoon exploring this hillside town, including the Million Dollar Courthouse. Be sure to pick up the walking and driving tour booklet at the Chamber of Commerce. Overnight in Pioche.
In Pioche, get supplies for a picnic lunch, then head east to Spring Valley State Park, where you can hike to George Washington Rock, a rock outcropping. From here, visit nearby Echo Canyon State Park, where the abundant wildlife, wide variety of native plants, and unusual rock formations make for a great place to explore. Travel south to Panaca and stock up on supplies before continuing to Cathedral Gorge State Park, where you can walk along paths through dramatic clay formations. End the day in the railroad town of Caliente, reportedly a favorite writing spot for Western author Zane Grey, author of the 1912 book “Riders of the Purple Sage,” among other works. Overnight in Caliente.
Caliente will be your home base as you explore the region. Begin your day with a hearty breakfast at the Branding Iron Restaurant, then tour Caliente. The Caliente Train Depot, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, makes for a picturesque exterior photo-op; adjacent to the depot is the Boxcar Museum. Head southeast to Kershaw-Ryan State Park, and hike the canyon trails. Head back to Caliente. Overnight in Caliente.
From Caliente, head south on Hwy. 93 to Ash Springs, where you can view a petroglyph site or take a dip in the hot springs. Continue south to Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge and explore the area around Upper Lake. Enjoy lunch at Windmill Ridge Restaurant & Lodging in Alamo before returning to Las Vegas.