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Deserts and Bright Lights

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Hard to definitely pinpoint on a map, the Wave is a gorgeous rock formation near the Arizona and Utah part of the Coyote Buttes, in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness. Don't rush off there expecting to just show up and visit, as this...
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Antelope Canyon has been on my "must see" list for a very long time so you can imagine my excitement when I got there. I love how the lighting and shadows made the most interesting palette of colors hug the sexy curves of the canyon. The land...
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Page, AZ 86040, USA
I saw this place in so many photos before but when I got there and saw it in person it was such an overwhelming experience. Getting there is easy. You take the Interstate 89 South from Page and after 7 minutes you get to the parking lot. The road...
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Fremont St, Las Vegas, NV, USA
Yeah Baby! The Strip might get all the attention, but if you want the real Vegas the only place to go is Fremont St. With its enclosed light show of a ceiling, freak show of people watching, and rock 'n' roll show of live entertainers you could be...
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9480 S Eastern Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89123, USA
The fresh and local food movement has hit Vegas in recent years, and the fresh52 farmers and artisan market is a great way to discover the best that Vegas has to offer. Also, the Sunday markets often feature live entertainment, chef's...
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770 Las Vegas Boulevard North, Las Vegas, NV 89101, USA
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Reservations required—and no wonder. The tours at the Neon Museum sell out months in advance. A walk through the museum's famous "Boneyard" (where neon goes to die) is fascinating, from motel row to the first integrated casino (one that shut...
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Rocky Gap Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89161, USA
I have the pleasure of hiking in the beautiful Redrock Canyon area north of Las Vegas at least twice a year, but I have always been limited to the summer months for these treks. However, last winter, I had the chance to see the Mojave in winter....
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300 Stewart Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89101, USA
Though the city isn't normally considered a go-to hot spot for history buffs, Las Vegas' past is steeped in organized crime; without it, the city would be a very different place than it is today. Throughout the years, money has been exchanged...
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5200 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89119, USA
The Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign is the icon of the city, and no trip is complete without a stop here. The sign is located on the south end of the Strip, just south of Mandalay Bay. A parking lot was recently built to accommodate all the...
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2000 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89104, USA
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For the thrill of your life, head to the top of the Stratosphere on the north end of the Strip. My favorite is the Big Shot -- I can't count how many times I've been. Take the elevator to the very tippy top, where you'll find yourself outside,...
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Stovepipe Wells is a great ol' town - one you can imagine would have been a real welcome sight for dirt thirsty cowboys navigating their way through Death Valley. The place lives and breathes Western, so much so that the room key tags they hand...
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United States
When visiting Death Valley make sure you get up before dawn to watch the sunrise on the Mesquite Flats Sand Dunes near Stovepipe Wells. It is absolutely magical as the sun starts hitting the dunes. Definitely worth the early wake up call. (But...
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Trona Pinnacles, California, USA
The Trona Pinnacles is one of the most unusual geological features in the Mojave Desert of California, its unusual landscape consisting of hundreds of tufa spires rising from a former lake bed, stark mountains bracketing the formations.
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Trona, Searles Valley, CA 93562, USA
Most of the time, I enjoy hanging out with other travelers, friends, etc. But sometimes, I like to explore alone. Trona PInnacles, near Ridgecrest in the Mojave Desert in California, is such a place. While I was there in the evening taking long...
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Badwater, CA, USA
At 282 feet below sea water Badwater, Death Valley, is the lowest spot in the United States. With salt 'rocks' sprinkling the remains of the basin itself (during Spring), follow the trial out into the salt flats after reading up about the...
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Furnace Creek, CA 92328, USA
hiking through mesquite dunes in death valley is an amazing communion with mother nature. One knows civilization is directly south once out in the middle if dunes, but the feeling of being completely lost is overwhelming among the high dunes and...
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1300 Airport Rd, Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546, USA
For an unusual perspective on the region take a helicopter ride with SkyTime. The pilot grew up in the area, so he has a wealth of knowledge about the landscape and wildlife. Look out for elk, sheep, deer, and coyotes.
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Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546, USA
Crystal Crag is a giant rock monolith situated in front of the Mammoth Crest. Nestled behind the crag is its namesake lake. Take the trail from the Lake George parking area up for 1.5 miles to get to Crystal Lake. The hike is relatively short, but...
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A summer trip to Mammoth is not complete without getting on the water at one of the lakes in the basin. Two marinas on Lake Mary offer canoe, kayak, and fishing boat rentals. Plan for more time than you think you’ll need and don’t forget to pack a...
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The San Joaquin River plunges more than 100-feet over volcanic cliffs creating a spectacular waterfall. When the sun is shinning just right, the mist from the waterfall creates a stunning rainbow. Rainbow Falls is located in the Red's Meadow...
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Devils Postpile Access Road, Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546, USA
For geology enthusiasts like me, there is no better landmark near Mammoth Lakes than Devil’s Postpile National Monument. The tall basalt columns were formed less than 100,000 years ago when the lava cooled after a volcanic eruption. Stress cracks...
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June Lake, CA 93529, USA
This outfitter makes it easy to get out on the water; they’ll deliver gear to most launch spots in the Mammoth Lakes area. Choose from tandem kayaks or more advanced, single models, or if you’re up for some SUP, a Focus Hawaii paddle board.
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Mono Lake, California 93541, USA
Out of this world, man. We were lucky to go during a light drizzle making the lake, sky and scene monochromatic. We did not get the clear mirror-like reflections like some do on a sunny day, but I quite liked the mood of Mono Lake as we saw it....
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South Tufa Area, California 93541, USA
The tufas at Mono Lake, thirty minutes north of Mammoth, are a spectacular sight. The first time I visited the South Tufa area, I was sure that I was walking on the moon. When calcium-rich water comes into contact with carbonate-filled lake water,...
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Cathedral Peak, California, USA
John Muir once explored this very area without the help of trail leading him to these wonderful Sierra peaks. Cathedral Peak jets out of the ground with magnificent texture. Wait around for a partly cloudy day and watch the clouds blow through and...
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Tenaya Lake, California, USA
Tenaya is not only one of the most beautiful lakes in Yosemite, it’s one of the most accessible—when Tioga Road (the only road in the high country) is open, usually May through October. The fact that it’s easy to get to makes it...
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California, USA
“We wanted to go to Yosemite, but didn’t have time.” I’ve heard this refrain from several San Francisco visitors and they all have said it with regret. Yes, the reverent national park is outside of a short-drive comfort...
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Happy Isles, Yosemite Valley, CA 95389, USA
No other landmark in Yosemite is as well recognized and beloved as Half Dome, the steely granite monolith towering 4,347 feet above Yosemite Valley. Geologist Josiah Whitney declared it “inaccessible” in 1870 but was proven wrong only...
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Mirror Lake, California, USA
I remember every year as a little girl taking annual camping trips during the summer to Yosemite National Park, CA. We would walk the trail up to Mirror Lake and have picnics. So as a mom, I wanted to share these fond memories with my children....