Summer '23 - Vermejo, a recreation and outdoor paradise

Monday, April 3, 2017

Base Camp for Adventure

Base Camp for Adventure

Pahrump is located about an hour from Las Vegas and a world away. Get over the hump to Pahrump and experience True Nevada and amazing adventures.

Story by Brian Hurlburt

Photography provided by Town of Pahrump


There’s no easy place to start when it comes to detailing all the recreational adventures available in Pahrump, Nevada, a little burg located about 60 miles west of Las Vegas. Locals call heading to the burgeoning “base camp to adventure” as “going over the hump to Pahrump.”

These days it’s way worth the trip.

The hump refers to the Spring Mountains, which divides the Las Vegas area and Pahrump. The ride is enjoyable because of the views, plus a popular midpoint stop is the historic Mountain Springs Saloon. The unique bar is located at an elevation of about 5,500 feet at the top of Route 160 and is a pretty cool spot, in more ways than one.

Once you make it past the saloon you travel down the pass into Pahrump where adventure awaits.

“We have pretty much everything you’d ever want right here in Pahrump,” says tourism director Arlette Ledbetter. “We have everything from the second-largest high performance race track in the world to wineries to off-roading to shooting ranges to an amazing amount of RV areas to water jet packing to golf and so much more. We live up to our slogan of being the base camp to adventure. Plus we are in a perfect location with easy access to other interesting spots such as Death Valley, the ghost towns, and other attractions. It’s important for Las Vegas locals and visitors to understand that there is a world of things to do just a short trip away from the lights of Las Vegas. Our welcome mat is always out.”

Jetpack America is arguably the most unique adventure in Pahrump and is a sport that is sweeping the nation in popularity. One of the moments that helped bring attention to the sport occurred in 2012 when Jetpack America president Dean O'Malley established a new world record by flying a jetpack 26.2 miles from Newport Beach to Catalina Island in September.

Jetpack America operates the “world’s first jetpack oasis” in Pahrump on Lake Spring Mountain. The jetpack is strapped to a person’s back and then the flight over the water begins.

It looks intimidating, but according to first-time flyer Dawn Blackford, “It was so much easier than I thought it was going to be. I had so much fun. By the end of my flight, I was walking on water, flying with no hands and they even got me to do the dolphin dive under the water, which was actually one of my highlights. Go for it, you'll love it."

The water jet pack is just the beginning. The area is seeing a steady increase in new businesses, new resorts, and new adventures. Locals believe Southern Nevada has long been a tourist destination, thanks to the allure of Las Vegas, but for visitors and prospective new residents looking for something a little less flashy and a bit more rugged, Pahrump offers a taste of what they refer to as the untamed and unforgettable “True Nevada.” A favorite local saying is, “It’s 60 miles west, and 180 degrees different.”

There are official vacation packages available for nearly every adventure. You can combine pretty much anything in Pahrump with a room at an area hotel, which allows for a simple reservation process and a savings to you.

So get over the hump and go to Pahrump now.




Do Pahrump Right


There is almost literally too much to do in Pahrump, and that’s before you even think about venturing out and about to nearby locales such as Death Valley, China Date Ranch, Ryolite Ghost Town, and others. Here is a starter’s guide of how to do Pahrump right. For everything Pahrump, check out



Whether you’re a novice or veteran golfer, you’ll love the panoramic mountain views and affordable green fees here. Pahrump offers two golf courses open year-round.

Mountain Falls Golf Course

Yardages range from 5,415 to 7,082 yards

Offers a driving range, pro shop and grill room

Course offers 2 par 3 holes, 12 par 4 holes, 4 par 5 holes

All rye fairways mean no over-seeding during the year

Green fees are normally under $100 depending on the time of the year

Lake View Executive Golf Course

Features lush fairways, fast greens

5 par 4 holes, 13 par 3 holes

The golf course is very walkable and is perfect for golf enthusiasts with an appreciation for nature

Lake View also offers Foot Golf, which is a game that is a combination of soccer and golf. The course for foot golf is nine holes and is offered in the afternoon year-round for $5 a game.



When you think Nevada, most people don’t think of wineries in the desert, but Pahrump has not one but two award-winning wineries, which is 50 percent of the wineries in the state of Nevada.

Pahrump Valley Winery

Awarded with more than 400 awards since 2004, the winery has three different labels it produces—Charleston Peak, Nevada Ridge, and Pahrump Valley Winery.

It offers free wine tastings during its hours of operations and 30-minute tours of the winery and the grounds at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 3:30 p.m. every day.

Symphony, the winery’s restaurant, is named after one of their wines. The restaurant is Zagat rated and is open for lunch and dinner.

Sanders Family Winery

Owner Jack Sanders originally opened up Pahrump Valley Winer, but sold it after he thought he wanted to get out of the wine business. He later opened up Sanders Family Winery, which is nestled in a stunning area with panoramic mountain views.

The winery architecture is a renaissance period Italian Tuscan Villa offering free tastings 7 days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. They also give educational and informational tours of the winery and vineyard.

During the spring/summer, the winery hosts many different performances and entertainment in the performing arts Amphitheater, and it also bottled a special wine for the Nevada 150th Anniversary.



Spring Mountain Motor Resort & Country Club is home to the exclusive Ron Fellows Corvette Driving School, Radical Racing School, Lotus Performance Driving School, SCCA License Recommendation School, and Cadillac Performance Driving School. Spring Mountain offers the second longest driving course in the world. Members who attend the driving school or who buy a membership to the facility have access to all amenities of their country club, which include a clubhouse, gun range, massage therapists, and racquetball courts.



Whether you’re just learning or are a trained professional, Front Sight Firearms Training Institute has a self-defense course for everyone. Learn how to properly handle a variety of guns from experienced licensed weapons instructors. Front Sight is one of the largest firearm training facilities in the world and offers classes in defensive handgun, tactical handgun, handgun combat master prep, tactical shotgun, practical and precision riffle, and auto weapons. In addition to the firearms, Front Sight offers rope and rappel, martial arts training, family safe, and defensive driving. All of the ranges are outdoor and they also offer simulation environments. Law enforcement agencies and military personnel from all over the world attend the institute for additional training and workshops.



Lake Spring Mountain, located inside of Spring Mountain Motor Resort & Country Club, is an eight-acre manmade fresh water lake that offers visitors a wide range of activities. First time jetpack pilots can learn how to fly up to 30 feet in the air at speeds of 25 mph with Jetpack America. Jetpack America operates March through December. Cost varies depending on length of flight. Visitors can also go to the lake and enjoy swimming, renting a private cabana, and other water sports equipment including kayaks, paddleboards, and pedal boats.


If you enjoy road trips and like to travel via recreational vehicle, Pahrump is a must stop. Dubbed as an RVer’s paradise, Pahrump offers seven RV resorts. Three of them have received a perfect Good Sam Rating of 10/10/10. Good Sam evaluates parks on three different categories: facility, restrooms, and appeal. Lakeside Casino and RV Park, Nevada Treasure, and Preferred RV Resort are the three awarded parks, placing them among the elite one percent. There are more than 1,100 RV spots in Pahrump, totaling more than hotel rooms.



Pahrump has exclusive events year-round that are family-friendly and usually complimentary to attend. Some of the events include:

  • Pahrump Balloon Festival, which occurs typically at the end of February. During the balloon festival people can watch more than 30 hot air balloons take launch in the mornings, tethered balloon rides, a carnival, and live entertainment.
  • Fall Festival happens the last week of September and is a tradition that has been happening for more than 50 years. During the four-day festival, visitors converge in Pahrump to enjoy a rodeo, parade, carnival, live entertainment, good food, and more. This year the festival will take place Sept. 21-24.
  • Grape Stomp Festival occurs the first week of October at Pahrump Valley Winery. Guests can sign up in teams of two to participate in a grape stomping competition, enjoy complimentary wine tastings, a huge wine sale, vendors, and also great food. The festival is two days long and dates for are Oct. 7 and 8 this year.
  • Hydrofest 2016 was the inaugural event that brought the world’s best hydroflight athletes in the world of jetboarding, jetpacking, and jetblading to compete. The event is a hybrid of sport, competition, festival, and fun for all and takes place at Lake Spring Mountain inside of Spring Mountain Motor Resort & Country club. The second annual event will take place June 9 through 11.
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