Surprising Nevada

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This exploration of Nevada’s surprising side features the Silver State’s history and natural wonders.  Ancient trees and early man are represented throughout the Valley of First State Park, the oldest and largest of Nevada’s state parks,  by areas of petrified wood and 3,000 year-old Indian petroglyphs.   Choose from kayaking and river rafting for a unique recreational activity; get your hands dirty at the Lost City Museum as you learn  corn grinding, fiber making, petroglyph/pictograph painting, sherd/lithic (stone tool) sorting, and learn to throw an Atlatl.  In Ely, the Nevada Northern Railway Museum is the oldest survivor of a grand time in Nevada’s history, with  70 buildings and structures dating from 1906.

Begins and ends in Las Vegas, NV.

Call 800-888-8306 for a customized quote for your group.

Tour highlights:

  • Black Canyon river activity
  • Hoover Dam power plant tour
  • Valley of Fire State Park
  • Lost City Museum
  • Nevada Northern Railway Museum
  • RR reality class, tour, work, history
  • Great Basin National Park
  • Open-air, hop on and off bus tour of Las Vegas Strip
  • Free day in Las Vegas
  • Ethel M Chocolate Factory tour and botanical cactus garden
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Tour Itinerary:

Day # 1 - ARRIVALS

Group will be met by your professional tour director and deluxe motorcoach at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport and be transported to our hotel in nearby Henderson. Overnight: Henderson, NV. (D)

Day # 2 - Hoover Dam Power Plant Tour / Black Canyon Watercraft Adventure

Nevada’s surprises begin immediately with a full day of activities. Located in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, the Black Canyon was formed over millions of years by volcanic activity. Our water excursion begins just below the mighty Hoover Dam where the canyon walls rise nearly 2,000 feet from the river’s edge.

River rafting: (Approx. 3½ hours; 12 miles) Smooth water rafting in inflatable rubber rafts. Experience the waterfalls, hot springs, and other geological wonders, Desert Big Horn sheep, Osprey, Great Blue Heron and much more. Fully narrated by experienced, knowledgeable guides who offer incredible knowledge of the history of the dam and the area. A stop along the way at a beach for lunch will give you the opportunity to swim or play in the cool clear water of the Colorado River.

After a half day of paddling, we’ll tour the dam itself with a comprehensive Powerplant Tour of the massive dam and its operations. The tour includes a combination of presentations by Reclamation guides, audio and film presentations, exhibits and other media plus highlights many of the unique features around the site. Overnight: Henderson, NV. (B,L)

Day # 3 - Lost City Museum / Valley of Fire State Park

As we travel north today, we’ll first visit Lost City Museum. Originally built to house Anasazi artifacts from Pueblo Grande de Nevada which were excavated during the building of Hoover Dam, the museum now actively engages people in understanding and celebrating Nevada’s natural and cultural heritage. Here students will have hands-on opportunities with corn grinding, fiber making, petroglyph/pictograph painting, sherd/lithic (stone tool) sorting, and learn to throw an Atlatl. Next we’ll explore one of the nation’s most amazing state parks: Valley of Fire, Nevada’s oldest and largest state park (1935). Ancient trees and early man are represented throughout the park by areas of petrified wood and 3,000 year-old Indian petroglyphs. We’ll explore and hike red sandstone formations and experience the stunning beauty of the Mojave Desert as we enjoy a picnic lunch. Overnight: Ely, NV (B,L,D)

Day # 4 - Nevada Northern Railway Experience

Today we’ll devote the entire day to experiencing Nevada’s rich railroad heritage firsthand. We’ll learn about the history of railroading in the West with a federal railroad administration rules class, a tour of the Nevada Northern Railway Museum in Ely (now a National Historic Landmark), and of course a ride on an original steam train. The train’s development is linked to the mining industry and included will be the copper deposits, smelters, mill and mining towns reflective of these times. Overnight: Ely, NV. (B,L)

Day # 5 - Great Basin National Park

This day in surprising Nevada is focused on its natural wonders. We’ll begin with a tour of Great Basin National Park, the newest addition to the National Park System.
We’ll follow the 12 mile Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive to an elevation exceeding 10,000 feet above sea level, gaining 4,000 feet in elevation, and crossing through numerous ecological zones from the desert bellow. The diversity of life that lives just feet above the barren desert beneath is amazing. It is not uncommon to see mule deer, marmots, coyotes, jackrabbits, as you climb along the road. Overnight: Mesquite, NV. (B,L)

Day # 6 - Free Day in Las Vegas

Cruise the Las Vegas Strip and downtown from atop a London-style double decker bus. The fully narrated tour allows you to hop on and hop off at your leisure at any of the 20 stops which highlight the architecture, acclaimed attractions, shopping and dining. Overnight: Henderson Inn, Henderson, NV. (B,D)

Day # 7 - Departures

We have one last surprise: a visit to Ethel M. Chocolate Factory where we’ll take the self-guided factory tour. Adjacent to the facilitity is the world famous Ethel M Botanical Cactus Garden, one of Nevada’s largest collections of cacti, the garden contains over 300 species of plants. The is a convenient factory outlet store located right next door for last minute shopping! Airport transfers are included to Las Vegas’ McCarran Airport. (B)

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Happy Trails!