Once owned by Howard Hughes, Spring Mountain Ranch State Park has two of Nevada's oldest buildings, a summer theatre program, and five miles of hiking trails with wild burros.
Billionaire Howard Hughes had his fingers all over the Las Vegas Strip, but he also owned a slice of nature called Sandstone Ranch, known today as Spring Mountain Ranch State Park. Located just over 20 miles west of the city proper, this 528-acre national historic district houses two of Nevada's oldest buildings: a blacksmith shop from the 1860s and a cabin where the state's founding family once lived.
The park's past comes to life through living-history programs and hands-on demonstrations of such old-time skills as blacksmithing and Dutch oven cooking. Visitors can take a guided tour of the ranch house, and tour the other historic buildings when staffing allows.
The park also draws guests for its mountain-backed beauty, five miles of hiking trails, and plentiful wildlife—particularly wild burros. Mount Wilson rises on the park's western flank, and the entrance to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area lies a few miles north.
From June through September, the park adds popular culture to its mix: The Super Summer Theatre program presents well-known musicals on an outdoor stage. "The shows are big and splashy," says Troy Heard, who has directed several, "but the primary attraction is being able to bring a picnic dinner, wine, and cheese, and sit under the stars with friends and neighbors."
This article was first published in July/August 2017. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.