Nevada February 10, 2017
The Day Trip Of A Lifetime You Can Only Take In Nevada
Nevada is known for many things but one aspect that makes it fairly unique among states is the prevalence of ghost towns. There are more than 600 alone in Nevada, and this day trip is sure to please anyone who loves history, the “Old West” and the truly unusual aspects of the desert in our state.
We'll start our day trip in the little town of Beatty, which is located in the southern part of the state by the California border and Death Valley National Park.
First a stop for breakfast at Gema's Wagon Wheel Cafe.
Gema's serves delicious breakfasts, such as this mouthwatering and hearty Texas skillet.
Gema's Wagon Wheel Cafe is located at 101 South 2nd Street and open Monday through Saturday 7 am to 3 pm and Sundays 7 am to 2 pm.
Our first attraction of the day is the ghost town of Rhyolite which is located 4 miles from Beatty.
Rhyolite was once a thriving town and during its best days, the third largest town in the state! Hard to believe now seeing the remains of the building structures in the midst of the desert.
The remains of three "bottle houses" can be found in Rhyolite. During the mining days of Rhyolite, lumber was hard to come by and some miners built houses from bottles collected from local saloons.
Our next curious attraction is the Goldwell Open Air Museum, which is definitely an "only in Nevada" sort of place! This unusual "museum" is a collection of seven outdoor sculptures. They were created by several Belgian artists and each piece has its own style and sensibility.
The statue above is the "Lady Desert: The Venus of Nevada" created by sculptor Dr. Hugo Heyrman. It's like a large, pixelated video game character standing in the middle of the open desert.
Another iconic and haunting work is "The Last Supper" which has been often photographed.
Created by sculptor Charles Albert Szukalski, who also created the concept of the Goldwell Open Air Museum, this piece was only supposed to remain standing for two years, yet has managed to persevere in the desert since 1984!
Now for something completely different yet also unique to Nevada. We're going to take a drive to the Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge.
The park is located about an hour's drive from the museum. Take NV-374 east toward E Avenue S, turn right onto South 2nd Street/US 95 South and follow this until NV-373/South Highway 373. Turn right here and then left onto Spring Meadows Road.
The Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge is an amazing place. It's home to several crystal springs that are a breathtakingly beautiful turquoise color.
These springs are actually fed by what may be the largest underground river in the world and the water is called "fossil water" which refers to water that has been underground for thousands of years.
The entire refuge is a very rare oases in the middle of the desert. It's also the home to the largest number of endemic species in the U.S., as well as home to almost 300 species of birds.
It's also the only place you can find the Devil's Hole Pupfish, an endangered species and the rarest fish in the world. It may also be the oldest as scientists believe the species came to be about 60,000 years past.
Another interesting attraction within the refuge is the Devils Hole, which is the habitat for the pupfish.
This rock formation is a geothermal pool inside of a limestone cavern that is completely fenced off. The cavern was the place of several deaths by divers who thought they could reach the bottom and drowned instead. It also was a source of fascination for Charles Manson, who believed it was an entrance into the underworld and he is said to have sent several days at the site trying to figure out how to drain it to get inside.
After a long day exploring the desert and the refuge, head back to Beatty to visit Bailey's Hot Springs. The warm waters of the springs are a lovely way to relax and take it easy.
You can camp here for the night or just visit the hot springs. The springs are located 5 miles north from Beatty on Highway 95. The springs are in three bathhouses and are open every day from 8 am to 8 pm. It's $8 per person to use them, or use is included if you camp at the RV park.
Finally head over to KC's Outpost Saloon and Eatery for dinner!
This local's favorite serves sandwiches, pizza and traditional American style food. There's also a bar for the adults in your party, and outdoor picnic tables to enjoy your meal if the weather is nice. They're also known for their delicious cakes and they make all of the bread on the premises and roast their own meat. KC's Outpost is located at 100 East Main Street.
Would you take this day trip of a lifetime in Nevada? Share in the comments!