Want a change from the bright lights and glamour of your iconic Las Vegas vacation? Step away from the Strip and step back into the early years of Las Vegas on the Pioneer Trail (PDF) driving or walking tour near the City of Las Vegas, Las Vegas Boulevard State Scenic Byway.
Begin at the Las Vegas Springs Preserve, about five miles west of the byway, where water from springs and creeks was the lifeblood for the Native American civilizations that survived in this harsh and unforgiving desert climate for centuries. Some of Nevada’s native wildlife finds refuge in this 180-acre sanctuary, such as the vibrantly-colored Gila monster, the only venomous lizard native to North America. Discover the vital role played by native trees, from roots to branches, in the Exploring Trees Inside and Out exhibit.
Follow the Pioneer Trail east to see many historic houses and buildings, including the ranch-style Binion House, which was one of the largest in Las Vegas at the time of its construction in 1942. The home was originally owned by Benny Binion, the colorful and notorious proprietor of the Binion Horseshoe Club on Fremont Street. A couple blocks northeast of the Binion House stands “The Castle,” an elegant 1930s' house built by Lucretia Tanner.
The Pioneer Trail joins the northernmost end of the byway at the Las Vegas Mormon Fort, once part of a complex built by Mormon settlers after their trek across the United States in the mid-1800s. A perfect stop for any history lovers in the family, the Fort is now a state historic park and offers events throughout the year, including living history days where kids and adults alike can dress in period clothing and drill like Civil War soldiers. The Pioneer Trail ends at the Biltmore Homes, a WWII housing development located south of the Fort, but continue your journey south along the byway to explore the modern Las Vegas that grew from a colorful past.
Be ready for the extremes of the desert climate before you go. Summertime temperatures often pass 100 degrees during the day and drop as much as 30 degrees at night. For more information on the Pioneer Trail, including an electronic version of the trail brochure, as well as information about other nearby driving and walking tours, visit the City of Las Vegas publications page.
- Copyright © 2011 Heidi Blanton.
- Copyright © 2011 Patrick (dog.breath) from Flickr.com.
- Copyright © 2011 Roadsidepictures of Flickr.com.