Deserts and Bright Lights
Collected by Stephen Weatherall
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...
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...
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...
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...
770 N Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89101, USA
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...
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....
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...
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...
2000 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89104, USA
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,...
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...
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.
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...
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...
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...
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...
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.
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....
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,...
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...
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...
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....
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