With full bellies we left the Mt. Charleston Lodge and started the drive back to Vegas. Some of you may not know but I am notorious for not wanting to go home the same way I came. So instead of backtracking exactly the way that we traveled up the mountain I decided to take a detour and go over to the backside of the mountain and then proceed home. Does this make the drive longer? Yes. Is it more exciting because you get to see places and areas you never have before? You betcha!
We started back down the road we had come and I took a left onto a road named Deer Creek Hwy. This road twisted and turned over the top of the mountain. Along the way we passed several turn outs that were strategically placed for photo opportunities. It was truly a beautiful drive. We also passed a pair of campsites. Both of which I feel we will have to investigate in the future! By this time Lexi was already out for the count.
Deer Creek Hwy eventually dead ends into Lee Canyon Rd. Of course instead of taking the right that would lead me back to the main highway I took the left and we were off to the ski resort that is located at the end of Lee Canyon Rd. We passed a beautiful mountain meadow that looked like it was taken right off a Hollywood movie set. It must be a local favorite as there were several families out enjoying themselves with weekend picnics. Eventually we made it to the dead end of Lee Canyon Rd. and the ski resort. We stopped, got out, took a brief look around and proceeded back the way we came.
We made it back to US 95 and headed South back towards Vegas. When we started at the ski resort the temperature on Dawn’s thermometer read 80 degrees. By the time we were entering Vegas it had climbed to 105. So the high altitude was a welcome break.
Instead of going through town I decided that I wanted to take another detour on the way home. I hit the 215 beltway and started to round the west side of town. I came upon the exit for the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and thought it would be a pleasant side trip. It was really stunning. I have a great panoramic of the area that I will post later that really shows how beautiful this area is.
As we were driving along Blue Diamond we saw over to our right a huge green lawn and were immediately intrigued at what it could be. We hit the side road that lead up to it and were pleasantly surprised. We had actually stumbled across the Spring Mountain Ranch State Park. This area was really beautiful and if not for the heat you would not have thought you were anywhere near Vegas.
Here are some shots of the ranch house and barn:
Unfortunately for us the ranch house was closed for renovations.
Here is one of my favorite pictures from the area. This is the tree to the extreme left in the first picture above.
There was a beautiful field of green that was as large as a football field. Lexi really enjoyed just running from one side to the other. While we were there we ran across one of the park rangers and she mentioned that one of the horses near the parking area had an owner that was about Lexi’s age. She went on to say that if we were to approach the fence that more then likely Willow, the horse’s name, would come over. So while I was busy snapping pictures Dawn took Lexi over and sure enough Willow came marching on over. It was really cute. Each time Lexi would say, ‘Hi Willow’, the horse would bow. It was really a trip. The ranger had also mentioned that Willow was a show horse and that her owner would do barrel races and other exhibitions with her.
And that wrapped up our day of adventure. We tore Lexi away from ‘her horse’ and headed home. We had a great outing and had tons of fun. To give you an idea here is a link to Google maps that approximately outlines our entire trip. Google Map