Las Vegas Springs Preserve - Summary Page

  {Click on an image to enlarge, then use the back button to return to this page}
This page last updated on 04/27/2018

E-Springs Reserve



Description of The Springs Preserve:
The Springs Preserve is a 180-acre cultural institution designed to commemorate Las Vegas' dynamic history and to provide a vision for a sustainable future. It has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1978. It features the Nevada State Museum, galleries, outdoor events, colorful botanical gardens and a 3.6 mile interpretive trail system through a scenic wetland habitat (Fig. 01). An archaeological survey in 1972 by Dr. Claude Warren of the University of Nevada, found long-term human occupation of the site, and prevented it from being paved over by the transportation department's plans for an expressway. To further preserve the historic site, the Water District Board of Directors approved a plan in 1997 to develop a preserve to protect and manage the cultural, natural and water resources of the site, hence The Springs Preserve, which opened in June 2007. Entrance to the outdoor portions of the preserve is free, although visitors are required to get a pass at the ticket booth. The free pass provides access to the trail system, the botanical gardens, and the gift shop, cafe, and other common areas. Entrance to the museums and other indoor portions of the Las Vegas Springs Preserve is expensive, about $10 for Nevada residents and $19 for visitors.

04/27/2018 Trip Notes: This was my seventh visit to the Springs Preserve. Today I was joined by my friends Jim Herring and Blake Smith. We started out having lunch in the Divine Cafe. After lunch we spent several hours walking around the botanical gardens and then stopped by the butterfly habitat taking pictures. Even though I have been here several times, I always seem to come away with some nice pictures.Click here for pictures and a description of this trip ... Las Vegas Springs Preserve

04/17/2016 Trip Notes: This was my sixth visit to the Springs Preserve. This time was to attend the first of a two-day, free training class on Manual Photography taught by Sharon K. Schafer. Check out her website at The first day covered the many available features, modes and settings of digital camera's, concentrating on using the cameras "manual" settings for taking pictures. In addition to two classroom lecture lessons, there were two outdoor picture sessions to practice the information provided in the classroom. I divided my picture taking time between pictures of the grounds, trees, catcti and plants and inside the Butterfly Habitat enclosure at the far end of the property. I created two separate posts for the pictures I captured on this visit; a page titled, Springs Preserve - Spring Flora Blossoms, and a second page titled, Springs Preserve - Butterflies.

10/18/2014 Trip Notes: Today I visited the Springs Preserve for the fifth time with my friend Marc Resnic. Our purpose for today's visit was to see the recently opened Butterfly Habitat. Located on the south side of the property next to the botanical gardens, the open air habitat has metal screen walls and can be entered through a vestibule with an inner and outer door to keep the butterflies from escaping. Upon exiting the habitat, visitors are given a visual inspection by a docent to make sure there are no hitchhikers. It will be open each fall and spring, during periods when the weather is ideal for their survival. Click this link for pictures and information on this visit ... Butterfly Habitat at Springs Preserve.

03/03/2013 Trip Notes: On my forth and most recent visit, I took the opportunity to visit the recently opened 13,000 square-foot Nevada State Museum. Its many interactive exhibits interpret the history of Nevada dating back millions of years to the early flora and fauna that roamed this once great sea to the pioneers, early settlers, miners, railroaders, ranchers and entrepreneurs that made Las Vegas the resort capital of the world. I then walked around some of the desert hiking trails and the 110 acre botanical garden. Unfortunately, as is evidenced by the barren branches of the black and white tree in (Fig. 02), it was still way to early in the season to see much of the greenery or spring blooms that you can usually find here. I did capture several pictures (Fig. 03) of Mark White’s kinetic art display titled, “Art in Motion” that graced the botanical garden area. Balanced to respond to the lightest of winds, yet strong enough to withstand 100-mph gusts, the quiet whimsical movement of these kinetic wind sculptures are designed to encourage self reflection. Always early bloomers, I was able to capture some pictures of daffodils (Fig. 04) and a dwarf peach tree in full bloom (Fig. 05). [My thanks to Mr. Tracy Omar, Science and Gardens Supervisor at the Springs Preserve Botanical Gardens for helping me to identify this tree] The pictures in the slide show at the bottom are from all of my visits here.
(Fig. 02)
Mark White Kinetic Art
(Fig. 03)
(Fig. 04)
(Fig. 05)

The Springs’ History: Prior to the 1800s, the Pueblo Peoples, Patayan (ancestors of the Yuman groups) and Numa (Paiutes) used the Las Vegas Springs and Las Vegas Creek, leaving behind remains of their campfires, stone tools, clay pots, houses and foodstuffs. In 1829, New Mexican merchant Antonio Armijo led an expedition along the Virgin River to find a new trading route between New Mexico and California. During the trip, a group of scouts set out to find water and camp sites. A teenage scout, Rafael Rivera, discovered the springs and meadows, returned to his caravan and led the party to the lush area. The route they followed became known as the Old Spanish Trail. The area Rivera discovered was named Las Vegas, meaning "the meadows" in Spanish.

Between 1847 and 1858, the Las Vegas Springs became a major campsite along the Mormon Road. During the 1840s, hundreds of wagon trains moved through the valley and camped by the springs; thieves drove livestock through the valley and wagon trains drove thousands of sheep and horses across the Mojave Desert to California. The livestock quenched their thirst at the springs and fed on the surrounding meadow grasses.

In 1852, Mormon mail contractor George Chorpenning built the first non-Native American structure in Southern Nevada. Circa 1855, Mormon missionaries a fort, known as the Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort, downstream of the springs near Las Vegas Creek. They planted fruit and shade trees and established friendly relations with the Paiutes. The Mormon missionaries used water from the Las Vegas Creek to help smelt lead from Mt. Potosi, Nevada's first lode mine. The lead contained so much silver that it did not make good bullets, and the mine was abandoned in 1858, along with the fort, when the missionaries were called elsewhere.

From 1867 to 1905, the abandoned Mormon Fort gained new life as "Los Vegas Rancho" when Octavius Decatur Gass of California restored the fort and developed small "ranches" near it. With a steady source of water from the Las Vegas Springs, the ranch produced grain, vegetables and fruit. Los Vegas Rancho became a way station for people traveling to and from Southern California and Salt Lake City.
Circa 1900 to 1928. In 1902, Senator William Clark, owner of the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad (later known as Union Pacific), purchased 1,864 acres of land and water rights from the Las Vegas Springs to provide water for his steam locomotives. The railroad created the Las Vegas Land and Water Company to operate the first water distribution system in the valley, and in May of 1905 auctioned off land, creating the town site of Las Vegas (Fig. 06). Six years later, the City of Las Vegas was officially incorporated in March 1911.

(Fig. 06)
To supply the railroad and the new town with water, the company laid redwood pipes and constructed protective houses over the springs to keep people, cattle and other polluting factors out of the water supply. However, due to drought, increased demand, waste and improper control, the water system was nearly depleted within just a few decades. In 1935, Las Vegas Creek, which flowed from the springs, dried up in the summer and water was no longer available to irrigate the Stewart family ranch.

Even after the completion of the Hoover Dam in 1936, continued growth, invention of swamp coolers and air conditioners, continued periods of drought have plagued the valley’s need for water by creating a demand that exceeded nature's ability to recharge the groundwater aquifer naturally. The Las Vegas Springs flows, once a hallmark of the valley's geography, stopped altogether by 1962.

(OPTION 1) Each show is designed to run automatically in place, without leaving the current browser window. If the show is not already running, just click the large "Play" button in the middle of the picture and let it run.

(OPTION 2) Running the cursor over the picture being shown will PAUSE the show and bring up a navigation bar at the bottom of the slideshow window with Pause, Forward and Back buttons, allowing you to start, stop or manually forward or back up pictures one at a time.

Slideshow Description:
The slideshow above contains 73 pictures that were taken during my four visits to this place.