Category Archives for "las vegas travel"

Old Spanish Trail

Travelling Southwest to Las Vegas there is evidence of older transportation corridors that parallel Interstate 15 including the Old Spanish Trail. The Historic Spanish Trail, a 2,700 mile trading route, extended from New Mexico to California.

In 1829 Spanish merchant Antonio Armijo, led 60 men and 1100 mules from Santa Fe to the San Gabriel Mission in California. Traveling along trails used by Native Americans and fur trappers they followed streams in search for springs and meadows to nourish their livestock.

Pictured: Old Spanish Trail

At the San Gabriel Mission merchants traded blankets for horses and mules. California had abundance of horses and cattle, but no sheep for wool.

The Spanish Trail comprised many main trails, and numerous alternate routes. Trails began and ended depending upon the traveler’s beginning location and intended destination, always searching for, and plotting the location of water.

Following the Mexican American War of 1846-1848, wagon routes expanded commerce and westward pioneer migration. Providing access to foreign markets and goods at California ports, commerce increased between Santa Fe and Los Angeles.

Parallel to Interstate 15 north of Las Vegas you will see segments of US Highway 91 and the Los Angeles, San Pedro and Salt Lake Railroad. Not visible from the Interstate is the Arrowhead Trail, the Mormon Road and the Spanish Trail.

Pictured: Old Spanish Trail Marker

However, by making short diversions from Interstate 15 you will see evidence of the Spanish Trail. The Old Spanish Trail Association, Las Vegas Chapter, placed concrete markers along the original Spanish Trail at exits 64, 75, 88, 90, and 112. Interpretive panels, describing the commercial trading route are located at exits 64, 90 and 122.

Pictured: Clark County Spanish Trail Park

Residents and visitors to Clark County can visit the Old Spanish Trail Park in Las Vegas. Located at 8150 Tara Avenue, the park, established in 2008, includes several interpretation panels describing early history of Las Vegas Valley when this area was a major stop for water by traders traveling through the Southwest.

The Old Spanish Trail Association promotes public awareness of the Old Spanish National Historic Trail and its multicultural heritage by encouraging research, publication and partnering with governments and private organizations.

Learn more about the Old Spanish Trail Association at the Nevada Chapter website. OSTA chapters are located in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico Utah and United Kingdom. Join the Old Spanish Trail Association and receive free newsletter OSTA Spanish Traces.

Art Chesmore, and his company Las Vegas Private Tour Guide, designs, manages and guides personalized itineraries for itinerate travelers to Las Vegas, and throughout Southwest and Western United States. Follow Art on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.


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What is your interest?

  • National Parks and Natural History?
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Experience Las Vegas and Southwest USA this Spring

  • Private and Custom Tours
    • Personalized to your interests and available time
  • Visit National Parks
    • Death Valley, Joshua Tree, Petrified Forest National Parks
    • Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Zion National Parks
    • Mojave National Preserve, Sunset Crater National Monument
  • Discover Native American Lands and Archaeological Sites
    • Hopi and Navajo Reservations
    • Acoma Sky City, Zuni and Laguna Pueblos
    • Walnut Canyon, Navajo and Wupatki National Monuments
  • Enjoy Route 66 Nostalgia:
    • Museums, Classic Autos, Fuel Pumps, 50’s Diners, Memorabilia



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  • Your Multi-Day Tour must include four (4) or more consecutive days, and three (3) nights
  • Reserve your preferred tour dates before January 30, 2018
  • Deposit before February 15, 2018
  • Complete your tour before July 30, 2018
  • You will receive an instant 20% savings on professional tour guide services
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Where Will You Vacation This Winter?

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Joshua Tree National Park

What is your interest?

  • Hollywood and Movies?
  • Route 66 Nostalgia?
  • National Parks and Natural History?
  • Native America, Ancient Civilizations and Archaeology?
  • Museums and Fine Arts Galleries?
  • Mid-Century Modern and Architecture?
  • Shopping?

Hollywood Sign


Experience Las Vegas and Southwest USA Sunbelt this Winter

  • Tours are Private and Custom Designed
  • Combine Las Vegas with Southern California
    • Palm Springs, San Diego and Los Angeles
  • Combine Las Vegas with Arizona
    • Phoenix, Scottsdale, Sedona and Tucson
  • Visit National Parks
    • Death Valley, Joshua Tree, Saguaro, Organ Pipe, Mojave National Preserve
  • Visit Museums, Art Galleries, Motion Picture Studios, Theme Parks
  • Enjoy Route 66 Nostalgia:
    • Museums, Classic Autos, Fuel Pumps, 50’s Diners, Coca Cola Memorabilia
  • Discover Native American Lands and Archaeological Sites
    • Montezuma’s Castle
    • Montezuma’s Well
  • Shop
    • Rodeo Drive
    • Beverly Hills
    • Palm Springs


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  • Most flexible travel experience
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Heard Museum


Las Vegas Private Tour Guide will design your private itinerary to

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  • Your Multi-Day Tour must include three (3) or more consecutive days, and two nights
  • Reserve your preferred tour dates before November 30, 2017
  • Deposit before December 15, 2017
  • Complete your tour before May 30, 2018
  • You will receive an instant 20% savings on professional tour guide services
  • You will receive a Private Custom Tour for you, and your family, friends and colleagues

Getty Museum

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Meet Mary Jane Colter, American Architect and Designer

One of America’s few female architects during the early 20th C, Mary Jane Colter made her mark designing buildings within Grand Canyon National Park. Hired by the Fred Harvey Company in 1910, Ms Colter was chief architect and decorator, and remained with the Harvey House Hotels and Restaurants until retirement in 1948.

Mary Colter (right) discussing Bright Angel Lodge plans with Grand Canyon Nat. Park Sup't Minor R.
Tillotson and Mrs. Harold Ickes (wife of the Secretary of the Interior).
Grand Canyon National Park Museum Collection # 16942
From the Alvina Zimmerman Collection – Circa 1935

In 1987 six of Ms Colter’s designed buildings in Grand Canyon National Park were added to The National Register of Historic Landmarks. Hopi House (built in 1905), Hermits Rest (1914), Lookout Studio (1914), Phantom Ranch (1922), Desert View Watch Tower (1932) and Bright Angel Lodge (1935) were constructed using authentic materials and are referred to as “National Park Rustic.”

Incorporated into Colter’s design and construction of Bright Angel Lodge is the “Geological Fireplace.” The rocks are arranged in the same order as the geologic strata along the Bright Angel trail that descends from the Grand Canyon rim to the Colorado River.

The Hopi House resembles Pueblos in the Hopi Village of Oraibi, while the Desert View Watch Tower resembles the watch towers of ancient Pueblo People.

Mary Jane Colter also designed renovations of the Painted Desert Inn in the Petrified Forest National Park, and she designed the Harvey House Restaurant in the Los Angeles Union Station. Colter considers the last great railroad hotel in America, The La Posada Hotel in Winslow Arizona, “her masterpiece.” The La Posada, “the resting place,” and the adjacent former Santa Fe Railway Station were restored to its historic prominence by Allan Affeldt, and his wife Tina. The La Posada Historic District is listed on the National Register.

Looking for more information and history like this contact LVPTG right here today!


Fifty years before Howard Johnson’s restaurants, Fred Harvey began the first restaurant chain in the United States. English born Harvey immigrated into United States at the age of 15. After ascending through several trades, and relocating from New York and other locations, Harvey settled into Kansas.

Traveling frequently by rail, Harvey was not satisfied with food and service available to passengers at road houses along the tracks. Believing he could do better, by providing quality service and using only fresh ingredients, Harvey House lunch rooms was founded. In 1873 three restaurants were established along the Kansas Pacific Railroad.

In 1876 Fred Harvey entered into a partnership with the Santa Fe Railroad and proceeded to open Harvey House lunch rooms, restaurants and hotels along the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad. Harvey House’s expanded as railroad lines were laid west.

The Civilizer of the West

Fred Harvey recruited and hired single women 18-30 “of good character” from the East to work as waitresses in his restaurants. It is estimated that 5,000 women moved to the West to work as Harvey Girls; many married cowboys, miners and railroad workers. Judy Garland starred in the 1946 movie Harvey Girls.

During the 1930’s George Pullman introduced railroad sleeper cars, and the Fred Harvey Company expanded the popular Harvey House food and service in railroad dining cars. As automobile travel increased across America the Fred Harvey Company opened hotels and restaurants to accommodate tourists. The La Posada in Winslow Arizona and The La Fonda in Santa Fe New Mexico were formerly Fred Harvey hotels and restaurants.

  La Posada in Winslow, Arizona
La Fonda in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Following World War ll the Fred Harvey Company packaged motor road trips into National Parks. Xanterra Parks and Resorts currently own the former Fred Harvey Company, and operate the retail Fred Harvey Trading Company in National Parks.



Welcome to Lake Mead, our Nations first and largest National Recreation Area. Established in 1964, the National Park Service manages the waters and the land along 140 miles of Colorado River, including the man-made reservoirs Lake Mead and Lake Mohave for the recreational enjoyment of 7 million visitors annually.

Lake Mead was created by the first impoundment constructed along the 1450 mile Colorado River. Authorized by Congress in 1928, and the financial appropriation in 1931, the Boulder Dam Project (know today as Hoover Dam) was completed nearly two and one-half years ahead of schedule, and one and one-half million dollars under budget.

The Bureau of Reclamation designed and supervised construction of the world’s largest concrete dam that resulted in the creation of the world’s largest man-made reservoir. Lake Mead was named in memory of Elwood Mead former commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation

Through a letter of understanding within the US Department of Interior, the National Park Service is authorized to manage the recreation interests of Lake Mead National Recreation Area. The Bureau of Reclamation operates and maintains the Hoover Dam, and regulates the flow of water through the upper and lower reservoirs in the National Recreation Area.

Recreation and generation of hydroelectric power are secondary benefits to the impounded water of Lake Mead. The primary intent of harnessing the Colorado River is to deliver water to communities in California, Arizona and Nevada for municipal, industrial and agricultural use.

Located 30 miles from Las Vegas, tourists visit Hoover Dam and adjacent Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Today 7.1 million people enjoy the recreation benefits of Lake Mead National recreation Area for boating, fishing, swimming, hiking, biking and camping. Lake Mead National Recreation Area is the seventh most visited unit of the 417 units managed by the National Park Service.

Wildlife viewing includes desert bighorn sheep, mule deer, coyote, fox, rabbits, squirrels, desert tortoise, peregrine falcon, bald eagle, and 240 species of birds, migratory waterfowl and shorebirds.

American Bald Eagles winter in the National Recreation Area from late September to early May. The annual count of American Bald Eagles on Lake Mead and Lake Mohave since 2010 equals, or exceeds 160 birds. The first breeding pair was observed in 2010.

Today you can visit the former pioneer settlement of St. Thomas and view foundations of homes and community buildings, and abandoned streets. The 1865 Mormon settlement was displaced in 1935 by waters of the Colorado River. The current water level in Lake Mead approximates the water level in 1937 as Lake Mead filled. Today, Southern Nevada residents and tourists play and recreate where pioneers settled and early civilizations hunted and gathered.

Nearby, the Lost City Museum of Archaeology sits atop a mesa bordering the national recreation area. The museum is a repository of early civilization artifacts collected from the area between 1924 and 1935, prior to flooding by waters of the Colorado River and Lake Mead. The museum collection includes earthen stoneware, tools and weapons used by the Anasazi or Ancestral Puebloans.

Archaeologists named the site Pueblo Grande de Nevada. A portion of the museum encloses Ancestral Puebloan archaeology. On the museum grounds a pit house was reconstructed on the site of an AD 655 underground dwelling. Reconstructed above ground adobe pueblos give visitors an idea of housing and food storage units occupied by Ancestral Puebloans.

The year 1935 is remembered for three projects that contribute to the current tourism industry in Southern Nevada; completion of the Hoover Dam (formerly known as Boulder Dam), opening of the Lost City Museum of Archaeology (formerly known as Boulder Dam Park Museum), and opening of the Valley of Fire State Park (first state park in Nevada).

Lake Mead National Recreation Area Alan Bible Visitor Center, located along US Highway 93 overlooking Lake Mead, displays interactive exhibits, shows a movie about the recreation area, and is a source of printed resources.

For information and custom private tours of Las Vegas and Southwest please reach out via our Facebook Page or visit the LVPTG website right here!


Museums off the Las Vegas Strip!

Today we venture off the Las Vegas Strip for a day in Downtown Las Vegas to Explore, Discover and Experience Las Vegas and Nevada history.

Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort Historic State Park – The Old Mormon Fort is the site of the 1855 pioneer settlement that became known as Las Vegas.

Neon Museum – Las Vegas – The Boneyard returns you to the days of neon in Las Vegas. The architectural design of neon signage were the marquee of earlier Las Vegas hotels, motels, restaurants and businesses.

Las Vegas Natural History Museum – An interactive experience for families. Learn as you journey through a Rainforest; examine the dinosaur’s exhibit; and view animals in the African Savannah Gallery.

The Mob Museum – The National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement takes you on a journey of authentic  real life crime stories in Las Vegas and around the globe.

Springs Preserve – A wonderful destination for a family outing. Stroll through the botanical garden; visit Boom Town, a recreated streetscape of early 20th C Las Vegas. The interactive and interpretive displays will educate you about life in the Mojave Desert.

Nevada State Museum – Las Vegas – Examine exhibits of natural and human history in the Silver State. Learn the history of legalized gaming in Las Vegas and Nevada; view exhibits of casino showgirl costumes; and learn how the railroad put Las Vegas on the map.

National Atomic Testing Museum – Learn about America’s nuclear weapons testing at the Nevada Test Site.

Lost City Museum of Archaeology – An archaeological site and repository for artifacts from the early Ancestral Puebloan period of the Virgin River Anasazi. This hidden treasure, one hour north of Las Vegas, invites those curious about ancient civilizations in America.

To learn more about any of these museums or to book a tour please contact Art Chesmore here…

Experience the Mojave Desert

Experience the extremes of Death Valley National Park, and the diversity of the Mojave National Preserve.

Experience the largest, and the third largest units of the National Park Service located in the continental United States.

Experience Natural History: deserts, volcanic landforms, sand dunes, salt pans, mountains.

Experience Human History: Learn about the heritage and culture of Southwest United States; Learn about Native Americans and their Homeland; Learn about 19th century explorers and pioneer settlers; Learn about ranching, mining and the railroad in Southern Nevada and Southern California; Learn about the transition of national governance from Spain to Republic of Mexico to United States; Learn how you can become an active steward of our national treasures.

Experience the Mojave Desert in two days. Lodging option includes Death Valley or Las Vegas.

Experience a custom private tour designed to match your interests, your available time and your budget.

Experience a Certified Professional Tourist Guide.

Explore, Discover and Experience the Mojave Desert year-round from Las Vegas, the gateway and hub to Southwest USA.

Are you ready to experience the Mojave Desert? Contact Art Chesmore today…

Photo: Kelso Depot, Mojave National Preserve

Benefits of your Multi-Day Tour Experience to Southwest USA

When planning your next vacation to Las Vegas, consider a multi-day educational and enrichment experience through Southwest USA. Take advantage of Las Vegas’ location, and its designation as the only destination airport of the top ten United States airports.

Las Vegas is the perfect city to begin your circle tour to Southwest deserts, canyons, mountains, rivers and the ocean. Arrive at McCarran Las Vegas International Airport, the least expensive gateway city and geographic hub for Southwest USA. Located within a one-day drive from Las Vegas is Los Angeles and Phoenix (300 miles), San Diego and Tucson (400 miles), San Francisco, Albuquerque and Salt Lake City (500 miles).

Las Vegas offers travelers the greatest number of hotel rooms (150,000); spectacular entertainment; celebrity chef dining and world class shopping; and more than 300 days of sunshine each year. Spend one or two nights adjusting to time zone changes, and then turn your sights onto the neighbor states of Utah, Arizona and California.

Rather than spending all of your hotel nights in Las Vegas, and taking packaged roundtrip day tours, consider a multi-day experiential experience through scenic and historic Southwest USA. Plan your experience of a lifetime by combining some of the following destinations to match your interests, available time and budget.

·        7-days/6 nights, visit Los AngelesSan Diego and Palm Springs.

·        7-days/6-nights, visit PhoenixSedonaPrescott and Jerome.

·        6-days/5-nights, visit ZionBryce CanyonCapitol ReefArches and CanyonlandsNational Parks.

·        5-days/4-nights, visit Grand Canyon National Park, and HopiNavajo and Hualapai Native American Lands.

·        5-days/4-nights, visit Grand CanyonBryce Canyon and Zion National Parks, and Navajo Native American Lands.

·        4-days/3-nights, visit Grand CanyonBryce Canyon and Zion National Parks, Monument Valley and Antelope Canyon Navajo Tribal Parks.

·        3-days/2-nights, visit Grand CanyonBryce Canyon and Zion National Parks.

You can choose to self drive, relying upon a rental vehicle, guide books and GPS. You also have the option to sit back, relax and enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of America’s Southwest by selecting a custom private tour experience with Las Vegas Private Tour Guide.

Your custom private tour has many benefits.

·        You select your guests;

·        You select the destinations, venues and attractions of interest to you and your guests;

·        You approve of the itinerary designed around your interests, and you may choose to make impromptu deviations to unexpected destinations;

·        You will have the exclusive service of an experienced and knowledgeable Certified Professional Tourist Guide;

·        You select the starting and ending time of your private tour each day;

·        You select, and have exclusive use of the motor vehicle of your choice;

·        You select accommodations that meet your lifestyle and budget.

Explore, Discover and Experience Las Vegas and Southwest USA in 2017.

For more information please visit the LVPTG website right here!

Wishing you a wonderful week!


Paleontology Visitor Center-Big Water Utah Trip

I don’t recall the year that I made my first visit to the Bureau of Land Management Visitor Center in Big Water Utah. For several years I made frequent visits to the BLM Visitor Center in Kanab, and I made several stops at BLM Visitor Centers in Escalante and Cannonville Utah.

My interest in Big Water Visitor Center resulted from viewing the DVD Traces in Time while motorcoach touring through Southwest USA. Now, Big Water Visitor Center is a must see stop for my clients.

The highlight of the Paleontology exhibit is to meet and hear BLM Ranger Merle H Graffam. In 1999 while working with scientist and field crews from the Museum of Northern Arizona in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Graffam discovered a bone projecting from a rock. Excavation revealed the fossilized bones of a dinosaur. For ten years scientists reconstructed, examined and compared the dinosaur bones to previous discoveries made around the world. Then, on July 15, 2009 the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological London named Nothronychus graffami as a new species of dinosaur.

The 1.9 million acre Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, established in 1996 under the Antiquities Act of 1906, provides extraordinary opportunities for geologists, paleontologists, archeologists, historians, and biologists in scientific research, education, and exploration to study and preserve the paleontological specimens.

Big Water is located 18 miles north of Page Arizona along US Highway 89.

For more info on this trip please contact me on the Las Vegas Private Tour Guide Facebook Page!

Picture above of Nothronychus graffami of which Merle Graffam discovered.