This article was edited on 7-29-2014. A slide show was added!
Bonnie Springs Ranch 60th Anniversary!
The Bonnie Springs desert oasis has been around for a long time. The Spring Mountains did not get their name for no reason at all. The Spring Mountains have many natural springs with good fresh drinking water. Everybody knows how important it is to have a source of water in a desert.
In 1843 the mountain spring at this ranch was a major stopover for wagon trains that were headed to California on the Spanish Trail. The springs in Red Rock Canyon were more popular than Las Vegas, till this city became a gambling mecca in the 20th century. When cars became the mode of transportation for tourists in the mid 1900's, the local ranchers were once again the only ones used water from the springs.
In 1952, the old ranch and spring was purchased by Bonnie. Bonnie was a champion swimmer and her father did stunt work in Hollywood western films. Bonnie fell in love with the peaceful beauty of Red Rock Canyon and she set out to turn the old ranch into a successful tourist destination. Over the years, Old Nevada Town, an old west town replica, was added to the site. A western style resort hotel was also built on the ranch.
Old Nevada Town at the ranch has plenty of fun activities going on. Staged good guy vs bad guy gunfights happen everyday. Tourists that watch the gunfights also have to participate in the show as jurors and witnesses during the trial in the jail house. The gunfight show is one of the prime attractions at Bonnie Springs. Old Nevada Town has a wax museum and guided ghost tours too. Fans of paranormal tours seem to be interested in ghosts of the west these days.
There is a petting zoo and pony rides for children at the ranch. There are stables for horses and plenty to see. Guided horseback tours of Red Rock Canyon and horse rentals are available at Bonnie Springs Ranch. There is nothing quite so gratifying as seeing the beautiful landscape of Red Rock Canyon on horseback!
The ranch has a hotel that was built with an old western architectural style frontage. The hotel looks like the old west! There is a miniature train that carries people from Old Nevada Town to the remote parking lots via the scenic route.
I spent the afternoon at National Park taking pictures and seeing the sights at Red Rock Canyon National Park. Bonnie Springs Ranch is just a short distance away on State Road 159. State Road 159 connects with Blue Diamond Road and Charleston Road in Red Rock Canyon on the west side of the Las Vegas Valley. Bonnie Springs officially is in the town Blue Diamond. The town of Blue Diamond is located in the south end of Red Rock Canyon on SR 159.
Many people who visit Las Vegas never realize that there is a beautiful canyon on the west side of Las Vegas that runs along the edge of the Spring Mountains. Red Rock Canyon is nearly hidden from view from the Las Vegas Strip.
After having a fun day in the Red Rock National Park, I went to Bonnie Springs Ranch to take pictures and get something to eat. Of course I was greeted by wild burros when I parked my car. The burros are docile, but they are wild animals. Wild burros do bite and kick! It is against the law to feed wild burros, so keep that in mind when they start begging for a handout.
The bar has been at the ranch for a much longer time than when Bonnie bought the springs and renamed the ranch in 1952. The Bonnie Springs Bar actually is the oldest bar in the Las Vegas area. This old west bar was a local rancher's and hunter's watering hole.
After dusting off the shoes, I stepped into the Bonnie Springs Bar and Restaurant for a late lunch. Of course I chose a seat at the old historic western bar in the restaurant and immediately ordered an ice cold beer, because I worked up quite a thirst in the cool dry desert winter air.
After a few sips, I took the time to take in the scenery. This place has a comfortable old west charm. The decor was very authentic and there was an open hearth fireplace between the bar and dining room. The restaurant was very busy and the smell of chili and bar-b-que was thick in the air. This was my kind of place!
The barmaid was very nice and friendly. She had the right kind of character for working behind old west tourist destination bar. I ordered a bar-b-que beef sandwich for lunch. I played video poker at my bar stool seat while I waited. I noticed that hundreds of dollar bills with signatures were tacked to the rafters of the bar. Autographing a dollar bill and tacking it to the ceiling is an old western tradition.
Antiques, antlers and western memorabilia decorated the restaurant and bar. There was a wall full of pictures of Bonnie and the ranch. I had a window directly in front of me across the bar and I wondered how many people have gazed out that window over the years. The atmosphere at the Bonnie Springs Bar and Restaurant was more than just nostalgic. The view was inspirational!
The menu offered chili and everyone knows that good chili is perfect on a cold day. Elk and buffalo burgers were also on the menu. Steaks, BBQ, salads, soups, fish, sandwiches, chicken and pork dishes were offered too. The Bonnie Springs Ranch Restaurant has a very appealing western style menu and they are open for breakfast.
My sandwich was served on an old western style tin plate. Tin plates were used in mining camps, ranches and on chuck wagons in the old west, because they are durable. This added a nice touch. The bar-b-que beef sandwich was tasty and the flavor of the BBQ sauce was not sweet. The sauce was tangy and spicy, just how I like it. The sliced beef was tender, fresh and delicious. Some really good beer batter onion rings topped off the whole deal. After filling up on a beer and bar-b-que at the Bonnie Springs Ranch, I was absolutely full, refreshed and satisfied! I really liked the dining experience at the Bonnie Springs Bar and Restaurant. Everything was to my liking!
I recommend the Bonnie Springs Ranch Bar and Restaurant for anyone visiting Old Nevada Town or Red Rock Canyon! Bonnie Springs is a great destination for tourists, children and locals. Book a horse at the ranch and take a peaceful ride through the scenic Red Rock Canyon. This is how scenic Nevada is meant to be enjoyed! Yum!