Old West-style Bonnie Springs Ranch popular Vegas stopover

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OLD NEVADA, Nev. -- In the 30 minutes it takes to drive from Las Vegas to this tiny town, population about 20, visitors leave behind the bright lights to discover a desert landscape in the shadow of scenic Red Rock Canyon.

"We get a lot of repeat business from families and others who find they can go to Vegas and gamble, and then come here to get away from the glitz and glamour to see some of the real Old West," said a spokeswoman for the 50-room Bonnie Springs Motel.

The family-run motel is commissionable to travel agents at 10%. The decade-old facility has rates ranging from $65 to $125. A room with a fireplace runs about $75. Some rooms have Jacuzzis and there are rooms with kitchens.

Guests at the Bonnie Springs Motel in Old Nevada can check out Red Rock Canyon. Red Rock Canyon is a popular scenic destination for visitors. Wildlife that might be spotted here include polecats, coyotes, badger, deer, elk and bighorn sheep.

The desert itself is an attraction with its cacti, plants and unusual trees that include what is called "The Lord's Candle." The long stem that grows out of the center of the plant burns for hours like a torch. Legend has it that gold prospectors used the "candles" for light before lanterns were around.

Popular activities at the adjoining Bonnie Springs Ranch include horseback riding and a petting zoo for children where admission is free. The ranch also has a restaurant, a cocktail lounge, several shops and two museums.

Originally built in 1843 as a stopover for wagon trains on their way to California, it was resurrected about 50 years ago as a saloon.

The ranch stages historical reenactments of life in the 1880s with gunfights in the street, simulated hangings, train rides on weekends and other Old West activities for children and adults.

The stopover is popular with groups. "We've handled up to 2,000 people," said the spokeswoman. "We do a lot of private parties."

Bonnie Springs Motel
Phone: (702) 875-4400

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