Climb aboard at the Springs Preserve for a Vegas history lesson

A piece of the Old West is now serving passengers at the Springs Preserve as a train takes them on a 20-minute ride down the Preserve’s 2.2-mile Exploration Loop Trail.

This narrated tour of Las Vegas history rolls past hundreds of native plants, birds and animal species like peregrine falcons, snowy egrets and black-crowned night herons as well as a reconstructed cauldron pool depicting natural springs that once existed beneath the Las Vegas valley. Passengers learn all about the Preserve’s artesian springs, which provided sustenance to the area’s 19th-century explorers and pioneers.

In addition to riding the train, visitors can still hike or bike the Preserve’s 3.65 miles of trails.

“Railroads were instrumental in settling the West,” said Dawn Barraclough, a public relations representative for the Springs Preserve. “Train rides along our trails, accompanied by a narrated tour through the evolution of Las Vegas, are a natural addition to the historic offerings at the Springs Preserve.”

The propane-fueled trackless train is a 3/4-scale replica of trains from early 1900s, such as the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad line that stopped in the Las Vegas valley. Like trains of that era, it is painted in a vibrant green with black and gold-tone accents.

Railroad cottages representing the early settlement of Las Vegas are being restored on site and will eventually be part of the train route.

The train runs daily, including weekends and school holidays (schedule is subject to change). Cost is $5 per ride (with paid general admission).

Children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult.