By Annette Velarde
Once a solitary beacon for travelers crossing the desert on their way to California, West Wendover, Nevada, has grown into a roaring fun destination with something for everyone. Th e thrills of first-class casino gaming and entertainment with luxury hotels and epicurean delights are just one side of this vacation paradise. Th e lesser-known but equally-enthralling side is the action-packed outdoor adventure that abounds here.
West Wendover is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream come true. Miles of well-maintained dirt roads crisscross the surrounding mountains, leading ATV riders to discover vistas and lakes not seen from the valley below. Th ere are also several guided tours on ATVs or Jeeps that will take you high above the city and back in time to a day when horses were the only way to get the incredible views!
The nearby Leppy Hills are a mountain biker’s nirvana. Trails are maintained for all skill levels and the valley below spreads out with some of the most awe-inspiring scenery in the West. Hawk Watch International has tracked fall raptor migrations in the Goshute Mountains since 1980; the area provides world-renowned opportunities to watch hawks of all kinds swoop through the skies. The Blue Lake Wildlife Management Area, just 15 miles south, consists of several clear, deep, hot spring-fed lakes and ponds surrounded by an extensive wetland complex. At a depth of 58 feet and a winter water temperature of 76 degrees, scuba diving here is popular from November to May.
The Bonneville Salt Flats are just a couple of minutes outside of town but, once there, it’s as if you’ve left Earth altogether! This remnant of a prehistoric lake is so expansive, you can actually see the curvature of the earth from it. From mid-August to October, this geologic wonder transforms into the world famous Bonneville Speedway, where drivers can let ’er rip as they attempt to break land speed records.
The events calendar in West Wendover is always jam-packed with exciting things to do. A full day of outdoor adventure melts into the town’s famous casino nightlife with popular entertainers, extraordinary restaurants, and, of course, adrenaline-charged gaming. Over a million people a year come to the area, afterwards telling their friends they had the vacation of a lifetime. West Wendover may have started as a lonely beacon in the night desert, but today it welcomes thousands of visitors ready to light up the town!