Las Vegas Vacation – See the Southwest Landscape
When on your Las Vegas vacation you might want to escape the gambling action for a while. Here are some suggestions: Take a guided tour, or rent a car for a day and go exploring on your own.
Interesting rock formations in brilliantly colored sandstone and beautiful desert flowers make Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area a must see trip. If, on your Las Vegas vacation, you like rock climbing and hiking, this is the place.
Near Red Rock Canyon is Bonnie Springs/Old Nevada. It’s a restoration of an 1850’s old Western town. There’s horseback riding, mini-train rides and even gunfights. To get there drive west on Charleston Blvd., about 20 miles.
Green pastures and the Wilson Cliffs can be found at Spring Mountain Ranch. This historic spot is located 30 minutes west of Las Vegas between Red Rock Canyon and Bonnie Springs Ranch. Park is open daily from 8am until sunset.
The Hoover Dam!
Hoover Dam was built during the Great Depression. It is located 35 miles southeast of Las Vegas on Hwy. 93. The visitors’ center is open daily, 9am-5pm. Hoover Dam is a very busy tourist attraction, it may be wiser to get on one of the many bus tours advertised all over town, rather than drive there yourself.
Lake Mead Recreation Area, with more than 550 miles of shoreline, Lake Mead is the largest man-made body of water in the United States. It is the center of a 1.5 million-acre recreational area, ideal for when you are on a Las Vegas vacation. Lake Mead is 20 miles southeast of Las Vegas via U.S. Hwy. 95.
Now for the Mountains in Vegas?
Mount Charleston is just 36 miles from Las Vegas, north on U.S. Hwy. 95. Beautiful forests, picnic facilities, a hotel, hiking trails, camping areas and a lodge complement the serene alpine environment. Summer temperatures are up to 30 degrees cooler than in the valley. During the winter months there is excellent skiing and snowboarding.
One of the most diverse desert environments in the world is Mojave National Preserve. Sand dunes, volcanic cinder cones, Joshua tree forests, vast vistas and mile-high mountains help define this area. This 1.6 million-acre preserve is located 60 miles southwest of Las Vegas. An easy drive when you’re on a Las Vegas vacation.
Valley of Fire State Park offers unusual red and white sandstone formations and interesting Indian petroglyphs. Secluded picnic areas and campsites can be found among the sandstone outcrops. You can reach the area in about one hour. Go north on I-15 and watch for the Valley of Fire turnoff.
Death Valley National Park is a longer drive, but well worth the effort. Death Valley is the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere, 280 feet below sea level. Some of the features are the oldest house in the area, Zabriskie Point, and Scotty’s Castle. Death Valley is about 145 miles west of Las Vegas. Follow U.S. Hwy. 95 north to Lathrop Wells and turn at the Death Valley junction.