To celebrate National Fossil Day here’s another destination you can visit from Vegas that won’t take forever or break the bank. Located just off the US 95 North West of the city you’ll find Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort to the North West and the Aliante Casino complex to the South East. If you don’t want to drive you can even get here from the Strip on the 119 Bus to Elkhorn.
Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument is one of the newest in the entire USA having been established as the 405th unit of the National Park Service as recently as December 19th 2014. It was established to “conserve, protect, interpret and enhance for the benefit of present and future generations the unique and nationally important paleontological, scientific, educational and recreational resources and values of the land.” The monument is 22,650 acres.
The paleontological period represented at Tule Springs ranges from 200,000 to 3,000 years ago. It is rich with significant paleontological resources from the ice age, including the Columbian Mammoth, extinct horses, camels and bison, and the dire wolf. Because it’s a new park, there is no visitor center, facilities or parking areas. Right now to access the park, people can park on nearby public roads and they can enter the monument on foot. Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument is open during daylight hours.
If you want more information here’s a link to a helpful page on the NPS website.
If you do drive and want to combine your visit with something altogether different you could carry on up the US 95, the Veterans’ Memorial Highway to Indian Springs and Creech Airforce Base. I don’t want to give too much away in case I receive a visit from the men in vans with blacked out windows but, from the various free parking facilities nearby, you may be lucky enough to see MQ-9s and other pilotless drones being flown in and out.
Creech is where they test, train and fly drones on active missions worldwide. I came upon it by accident one morning when driving to Vegas from Reno and Carson City. I have to say that is one of the most soul-destroying drives I have ever undertaken. I was due to fly back to Vegas from Portland Oregon but there was a pile up on the Interstate South of the city and I and many others missed our flights. I had to extend the rental on my car and drive instead so I didn’t miss my flight back to the UK.
I drove all night, there is virtually nothing to see once you’ve left California for Nevada and the rest areas I came across were some of he worst I’ve encountered anywhere in the world. It was therefore something of a surprise when I came down the hill into the otherwise unremarkable hamlet of Indian Springs so see what looked like a Predator drone fly at low level across the road in front of me. I parked up at a campsite next door to the base and sat for almost an hour watching other drones come and go. Truly the highlight of the drive!