Vegas is one of my absolute favorite getaways! I have been quite spoiled by growing up in Southern California, and having it only be a 3-4 hour drive away. There really is so much to see and do there, that you rush your arrival amiright?
BUT what if you took a moment to stop for the little detours on the way that you always hear about? Well, I finally did stop…and dude, I was so grateful that I did!
Here are 3 unique, yet awesome, stops you should make on your next drive to Las Vegas:
1. Seven Magic Mountains
Located only about 10 miles south of Las Vegas, these stacked highlighter-colored rocks are actually an art installation. Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone comprised these 7 towers of boulders that stand over 30 feet high.
He wanted to make the Seven Magic Mountains a ‘creative expression of human presence in the desert [that] punctuates the Mojave with a poetic burst of form and color.’
I have always wanted to stop to take some photos and was pleasantly surprised to find out just how bright the colors really are. No filter needed, they really are that vivid! And much larger than expected!
Try to stop by at sunset for some pastel cloud backgrounds, and make sure to take this quick detour soon as it closes May 11, 2018. I love this place!
2. Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch
Right off of the original route 66 [about 20 miles off of highway 15 in Oro Grande, CA] you will find the unique stop of Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch.
Elmer’s colorful glass forest gets visitors from all over the world. I was lucky enough to chat with his Grandson who told me fun family stories. Including, obviously, stories about his grandfather’s bottle collection + his dad’s experience as a welder = voila! You have this passion project masterpiece as a result.
Don’t get me wrong, it is a bit off the beaten path and most likely super hot 10 months of the year BUT I really enjoyed my visit. Everywhere you look you see something you didn’t see yet, and having visited in springtime little birds were busy making nests in every nook and cranny available.
It is open sunrise to sunset and free to visit [donations are welcomed]. This bottle tree forest is super fun to explore. Green, brown and blue glass bottle galore!
There were also lots of hummingbird feeders. I basically stalked these rapid wingers until I got this shot. They are my fav, and possibly my spirit animal heehee. Definitely check this place out!
3. Calico Ghost Town
Located off the 15 freeway [in Calico, CA] about 2 hours from Las Vegas, Calico Ghost Town is a great almost-half way point from LA. I have driven past this place my entire life and never stopped. Honestly, I anticipated a couple old historical shacks and maybe a shop or two but I had no idea! Turns out it is so much more!
It is a real mining town from 1881. At one point it contained over 500 mines that produced more than $20 Mil in silver, but when silver lost it’s value…the town lost its residents. Leaving it officially as a ‘ghost town.’
It has a mystery shack, gold mining and even a Calico Odessa Railroad that has been running daily since 1958. You can buy tickets in advance for anything, including the ghost tours [historical tours with a spooky twist], here.
It is very Knott’s Berry Farm-esqe [in a good way]. I really was pleasantly surprised, and so glad to have finally taken the short drive from the freeway to explore this spot.
All in all, sometimes taking a quick detour on the way to your final destination is a blast! Break up that drive and explore somewhere new and unique, I know you won’t be disappointed!
Thanks for reading! Have you visited any of these spots? Any other detours I need to check out? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. 🙂
*Happy Detouring!* – Amy