Random Vegas

Need a break from the Strip? Head to Nelson. Yes, really.

About 45 minutes from the Strip sits the tiny town of Nelson- a city where I was reluctantly dragged on a recent trip. You see, my father is one of those “go out and do things” type of people. Me? Not so much. I like my Vegas routine. Some morning video poker, a little pool time, go out and ride the street on one an electric scooter, which is actually pretty fun if you have more people, an hour or two of table games, then a nice meal and cocktail to end the day. Suffice it to say, I wasn’t exactly thrilled about taking three or so hours out of my precious Vegas time to wander outside in the desert. I, however, acquiesced and had a good time.

Having visited before, my folks were keen on having my wife and I take the Eldorado Canyon Mine Tour. The oldest gold mine in Southern Nevada, Techatticup Mine, sits on what is now family owned land. I think the family and their story of ownership and eventual excavation of the mine was more interesting than the mine itself. As a fan of Wild West folklore, the history of the area was quite compelling, but the owners are engrossing characters who captured most of my curiosity.  

One of the owner’s sons acted as our guide and regaled us with stories about their difficulties digging out and exploring the caverns on the family property. It must have been quite a place to be an energetic teenager. I’ll leave it to them to tell you the canyon’s rich history.

Their land and subsequent buildings are littered with items. Recently, they were approached by the crew of History Channel’s popular show American Pickers. When asked why they refused to let them wander the property, the son claimed, “We don’t sell anything; we’re hoarders!” I enjoyed the self-awareness.

Among the random knick-knacks sit some large ornaments. Including the plane blown up in the movie 3000 Miles to Graceland. During tour introductions in the main office, the scene is broken down by a family member, as it was filmed on site.

Among other things, it’s a cool spot for unique photo shoots. Women, who I assume are aspiring models, were using the grounds for that purpose. I can imagine it would make an interesting backdrop for weddings as well. Photo shoot rates are surprisingly inexpensive- I believe, if memory serves, less than $10 per person. I’d contact them directly for up to date information.

Tour rates are in the same vein- only $12 for adults, $7.50 for kids. With the Colorado River only a few miles away, they also offer kayak and canoe rentals. While it may not be the best activity for the scorching summer months, it offers a unique desert experience away from the Vegas Strip.