Less than 30 minutes from the lights and noise of the Las Vegas Strip, an arid desert is loaded with thousands of fossils of Ice Age mammoths, massive bison, American lions, camels, giant sloth, and two species of ancient horse.
Tule Springs, surrounded by the former dude ranch site of Floyd Lamb Park, is well known in the scientific word as one of the best examples of Pleistocene paleontologic sites in Western North America.
Remarkable fossil remains are all that's left of a time 28,000 years ago when Tule Springs was much cooler and wetter than today. Large mammals, similar to those now found in Africa, lived and died in the canyons and lush valleys.
Water was the main attraction at Tule Springs, and an extensive excavation project in 1962 determined that human use of the area began about 10-11,000 years ago. Indian populations made seasonal use of the spring on their travels across the Las Vegas Valley, and prospectors also stopped here on their way to northern mining districts.
Eventually P.J. Goumond carved a working ranch out of the desert wilderness, and the area operated as both a dude ranch and a self-supporting cattle operation until the early 1950s.
Tule Springs is currently on the list as a potential National Park site in order to ensure full protection for generations to come.