Getting there and getting around Las Vegas

The volcanic simulacrum outside the Polynesian-themed Mirage resort has been a Las Vegas icon for nearly 30 years. Credit: Megan Sever. The volcanic simulacrum outside the Polynesian-themed Mirage resort has been a Las Vegas icon for nearly 30 years. Credit: Megan Sever.

McCarran International Airport is the main gateway for exploring Las Vegas and the surrounding area. Except for sights along the Strip, it’s necessary to rent a car to see the attractions described here. If you fly in, you can rent a vehicle at the airport or take a shuttle or taxi into the city and rent a car as needed. Although all of these sites are open year-round, the best times of year to visit are in the spring and fall. In winter, it’s not possible to hike high in the Spring Mountains due to snow, and in summer the valley heat can be stifling. There are currently no visitor facilities or infrastructure at Tule Springs National Monument, but you can catch a glimpse of the fossil beds near one of two National Park Service signs, one located at the intersection of Moccasin Road and Durango Drive, and the other where North Decatur Boulevard meets Horse Drive.

Since the city of Las Vegas is centrally located, any of the resorts can be a convenient base for exploring the area. Unless you already have a favorite, it’s worth shopping around for room deals that regularly pop up on travel websites like www.vegas.com.

Terri Cook and Lon Abbott

Terri Cook (www.down2earthscience.com) is a science and travel writer based in Colorado and an EARTH roving correspondent. Lon Abbott is a geology professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018 - 06:00