Last week I asked: What nature-related things are there to do in Vegas?
Several great choices!
Mention Las Vegas and most people think of gambling.
But, Vegas it an excellent hub for enjoying nature.
Vegas may be located in a desert, but besides exploring the colorful rocky terrain there are lakes and rivers to explore.
Most of the natural areas are part of a national or state park.
1. Flat water rafting:
Put into the Colorado River at the foot of the massive Hoover Dam at a place where only the rafters are allowed. Head down the Colorado as it twist and turns through 12 miles of Black Canyon on a motorized-assisted raft surrounded between the majestic 2,000-foot rocky walls while on the lookout for desert wildlife as the guide shares historic vignettes.
The rafting trip offered by Black Canyon/Willow Beach River Adventures is suitable for all ages and even those with physical limitations can be accommodated.
Be your own captain and chart your own course with all the comforts of home on fully equipped houseboat.
Experience the quiet desert mornings, the brilliant sunsets, and the star-filled sky from your rooftop hot tub. Explore the shore, venture into a canyon, go fishing or swimming.
Forever Resorts rents houseboat on Lake Mead and Lake Mohave.
3. Kayaking canoeing:
Experience the quiet of the desert and the majesty of Black Canyon on a guided kayaking trip. Explore caves, soak in natural hot springs and learn the history of the area.
Most people consider the Colorado River below Hoover Dam more scenic than any other part of the river.
4. Death Valley:
Only 120 miles from Vegas Death Valley always surprises people.
Even with its extreme temperature there are more than 1,000 plant and animal species within the National Park.
Visit Furnace Creek Ranch, the Borax Museum, take a guided tour of Scotty’s Castle and play golf on the world’s lowest golf course.
5. Red Rock:
Only 30 minutes from the Strip the escarpment rises three thousand feet from the Spring Mountains.
The Visitor Center provides for an overview of the geological formation. A brochure outlines the many hiking trails.
Especially unique is Ice Box Canyon where it offers relief on a hot day.
There is a driving loop for those who do not want to hike.
6. Valley of Fire:
As the name suggests the rocks in this state park are brilliant. The Visitor Center should be the first stop.
There are self-guided trails and petroglyphs left by some of the earliest settlers.
7. Spring Mountain Ranch:
The center of this state park is the ranch owned by Vera Krupp of Germany’s munitions dynasty.
later, it was owned by Howard Hughes.
Besides guided tours of the ranch there are a number of activities including outdoor musical productions during the summer presented by a local theater group.
8. Mount Charleston:
Only 45 miles from the Strip Mount Charleston is visible from most places in Vegas.
Many visitors are surprised that it is usually snow covered in the winter and has a ski center.
During the summer it is a cool respite from Vegas.
The drive goes through several micro climatic zones so the vegetation changes with the altitude.
9. Bonnie Springs and Old Nevada:
Located in the Red Rock area, Old Nevada is a recreated Old West town with staged gun fights, stagecoach rides and other activities.
There is a petting zoo nearby.
Several companies offer desert tours for thrill seekers. Choose your vehicle – dune buggy, 4 x 4, Hummer or a pink jeep.
Explore canyons and visit ghost towns.
Travel Trivia Tease™: What European capital is known as the City of Spas?
Look for the answer next week.
Sandra and her husband, John, have been exploring the world for decades, always on the lookout for something new and unique to experience. We have sailed down the Nile for a week on a felucca, stayed with the Pesch Indians in La Mosquitia, visited schools in a variety of countries, and — to add balance to our life — stayed at some of the most luxurious hotels in the world. Let the fun continue!