Craters from meterorites, a ship made out of concrete, and a 30-foot pistachio all top our list of favorite places to fly drones in the Southwest United States.
NOTE: We have checked that all of these places are legal to fly, and that they allow drones. We’ve noted any restrictions, such as local airports that need to be notified. However, the rules around drones are constantly changing at the federal, state and local level so you should always check before you fly. Sites such as AirMap and the FAA’s own Know Before You Fly provide regularly updated maps that you should check before you take off.
Fifty thousand years ago, a small meteor hit Arizona, leaving a crater a mile wide. It’s a wonderful spot to fly a drone and ponder on your own insignificance in the face of cosmic forces, then enjoy the air conditioning in the visitors center. John Coggi took this great video of the crater, flying his Phantom 3 over the rim to show the immense size of this crater.
Video Credit: Dashcam Viewer / Youtube
Drones aren’t allowed in national parks, which means no flying in the Grand Canyon. Just south of this, though, is Red Mountain, part of the Kaibab National Forest north of Flagstaff, which does allow drones on much of the land it manages. Red Mountain is a dramatic spot that rises out of the barren landscape, and a great place to fly, as YouTube user Cvedeler found out.
Video Credit: cvedeler / Youtube
Just up the shoreline from Tahoe City, Zephyr Cove is a great place to fly a drone away from airports and other problems. You can also get some great views of the paddle steamers that take tourists out onto the lake.
Video Credit: Drone-Age / Youtube
Part art project, part religious statement, the International Car Forest of the Last Church is certainly striking. It’s a forest of old cars and buses, buried in the Nevada desert and painted.
Video Credit: Cache Media Works / Youtube
Just off US-54 is the nuttiest place in the USA, the Pistachio Tree Ranch & Arena Blanca Winery. To help people find this location, the owners built the world's largest pistachio. Once you are sick of flying around this 30-foot tall pistachio nut, you can stop into the gift shop and buy some... Pistachios.
Although it is overshadowed by its bigger downstream brother Lake Meade (which is a national park, and is off-limits for drones), Lake Las Vegas has its charms. This small lake is surrounded by high-end resorts and golf courses for the elite of Las Vegas, so fly carefully.
Video Credit: Shawn Kellogg / Youtube
This fiberglass replica lacks some of the grandeur of the original, but it is an impressive replica of what it might have looked like in its heyday. The replica was built by a local farmer, but was moved to land owned by a local arts foundation when the builder sold his land. The foundation has plans to add a dance floor, which was not part of the original Stonehenge.
Video Credit: Batcave Studios / Youtube