Mesquite is a good base for exploring some of the scenic wonders that are located in the southern parts of Nevada and Utah including two national parks and a national recreation area.
One day we set out for Valley of Fire State Park. It had been four decades since our first visit, and while the red sandstone formations that have named the Park are the same, the facilities are much improved. On our entire Mesquite adventure we were blessed with cloudless days with temperature in the low seventies.
The road to the State Park leaves I 15 at Exit 75. At park entrance there is a pay station for the $10 daily fee. A scenic eight miles down the road is the Visitor Center with exhibitions on both the geology of the region as well as its plus thousand year human history. Human occupation dates back to 300 BC and included Basket Maker people and later Pueblo farmers from adjacent Moapa Valley.
A stop at the Visitor Center can truly enhance a day in the Park since it has exhibits explaining what shaped the interesting rock formations millions of years ago. Also despite being a desert it has a surprising amount of plant life including a wide variety of cactus. There are stuffed animals of the park on exhibit including the coyote, kit fox. jackrabbit and ground squirrel. Rangers are on station to answer your questions and
A free map will help guide you to the many side roads which lead to interesting rock formations as well as picnic areas and campgrounds. The road winds through the Park with outlets to these specific landmarks. Then exits at the East entrance to either Boulder City or Overton and back to I 15.
We drove to Overton and stopped to visit the Lost City Museum. This museum is an learning experience as it traces the first people back fifteen hundred years. Their unique fluted stone spear tips are almost the only artifact remaining of their presence. The museum was established in 1935 by the C.C.C. to save artifacts that would be covered with the building of Boulder Dam and Lake Mead.
The museum is at an actual site of the Puebloan culture that was flourishing a thousand years ago. Changing weather conditions and drought brought about the decline of the culture. There are exhibits of both the Puebloan culture and that of the Southern Paiute that followed.
We met and talked with two of the Museum staff. Jerrie Clarke is Museum Director and Stella Shutz-Robinson, one of the thirty docents affiliated with it.
The Lost City Museum is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with bus and RV parking available. It is located at 721 S. Moapa Valley Blvd. in Overton. Call 702 397-2193, web firstname.lastname@example.org
We entered the west entrance from I 15, then after visiting the Museum retraced our route so we could once again admire and photograph the rock formations. We also wanted to visit Overton Beach one more time since we had used it for camping several times on trips to Utah. But, alas, it is now closed. A ranger we located explained that with lake Mead at such a low level, the water is now far distant from the beach. However the way is open to Boulder City from Valley of Fire Park. For more Park information call 702 397-2088, on the web at www.parks.nv.gov/vf.htm.
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