The Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is another area worth checkiing out. It is actually more popular than The Valley of Fire which I liked more. The landscape is much the same and they too have campgrounds. So, you might stay at each and compare.
Okay I am using the term, "In the area" quite loosely. Red Rock is west of Las Vegas and the Valley of Fire is about fifty miles north of Vegas. Still in this more remote part of the desert, fifty miles can be the nextdoor neighbor. It's all relative.
We entered the Valley of Fire through the Moapa Paiute Band of the Moapa Indian Reservation. First we came upon a little "general store" run by the Indians where we could buy tax free items.
Since my last visit they have expanded the "general store" and they've created the Moapa Paiute Travel Plaza with a convenience store, a gas station, a cafe, a casino and of course the fireworks store, with a huge selection. Here you'll pay no tax!
Fondest memory: It was at once interesting and disappointing for my Slovak cousin who had a "romanticized" image of American Indians. She didn't realize that they were as modern as the rest of us.
The photo is a close up of the sign on a Reservation Police Van.
After driving through the Maopa Paiute Resrvation and the Valley of Fire you'll come to the Lost City in Overton. The main thing to see here is the Lost City Museum.
Fondest memory: This sign is in the Lost City Museum and explains that the Petroglyphs have been painted over to better define them.
As time passed, the dwellings of the early settlers to this region developed into houses containing many rooms surrounding a courtyard often circular or horseshoe shaped. This was the period of "Pueblo Grande do Nevada" or the "Lost City". This settlement extended along the east bank of the Muddy River from a point almost opposite Overton for 5 miles downstream. The largest house of this group was nearly 100 rooms.
The Lost City people were farmers. They raised crops of corn, beans, squash, gourds, and cotton. Digging sticks were used instead of hoes.
The Pueblos added to their fare with wild seeds, mesquite and screw beans, the heart of the mescal plant growing in the high mountains, mountain pine-nuts, as well as meat from mountain sheep, deer, and rabbits. Hunting was done with bow and arrow.
Mining of rock-salt, turquoise, and paint materials was done by the Pueblos with rock-salt being the most important. Below St. Thomas and before Lake Mead covered the area with water were several hills of almost pure salt, thickly pitted with Indian workings.
The pottery of the Lost City shows designs that were more carefully planned and accurately drawn. Graceful water jars, small-mouthed canteens with lugs for the carrying strap, numerous bowls and cooking pots, a few pitchers, and other oddities have been found. Patterns were now on backgrounds of rich red and not just black and/or white. Some vessels left exposed on the neck the coils used in constructing the piece. This was the beginning of the "corrugated ware" which became popular later.
The Pueblos of Lost City buried their loved ones near where they lived. They used ruined or abandoned houses, ash-dumps adjacent to buildings, and sometimes dwellings still occupied were used as burial places. The body was placed on its side-personal belongings and sometimes even pets were placed along side it.
courtesy of: http://comnett.net/~kolson/Pueblos.html
The earliest people to inhabit the region were known as the Basketmakers. The name was given to these people based on their ability to weave elaborate baskets, which have been found in caves and other storage places.
The basketmakers creative talents did not end with weaving. Ancient figures carved on rocks and known as petroglyphs have been found in the rocks in nearby Valley of the Fire State Park. These drawings are not stories, but pictures of single events, prayers for good hunting, directions for finding water, maps, religious amusement, or perhaps just a way to pass the time.
Favorite thing: The Paiutes were early settlers of the Moapa Valley region, where Overton is located. The Paiutes did a little farming, but mostly lived off of what the land provided. This map shows where early Paiute settlements have been found.
Favorite thing: The Anasazi lived in the area from 300 BC until 700 AD. After the departure of the Anasazi, the Pueblos inhabited the area until 1150. Ruins of both civilizations were uncovered and a portion of the ruins is open to the public for a tour.
Favorite thing: When visiting Overton I strongly suggest going to the Valley of Fire State Park. Valley of Fire is Nevada's oldest and largest state park, dedicated 1935. The valley derives its name from the red sandstone formations and the stark beauty of the Mojave Desert. Ancient trees and early man are represented throughout the park by areas of petrified wood and 3,000 year-old Indian petroglyph. Popular activities include camping, hiking, picnicking and photography. The park offers a full-scale visitor center with extensive interpretive displays. Worth the trip out from Las Vegas!
Favorite thing: Just north of Overton are 1000 year old Anasazi Indian pueblos - actually, they're reconstructions on the original foundations. The pueblos are part of the Lost City Museum, which features a collection of locally found artifacts dating back 10,000 years.