If you are visiting the American southwest for the first time, or are
one of these roadtrips that every family goes on once in a lifetime,
Las Vegas may just be a stop along the way. Thus, do make note of the
fact that the city of Las Vegas is a rarity in the middle of the
desert, built through the foresight of one man (of "Bugsy" fame). It is
easy to forget that the heart of the American west and southwest is not
far from the bright lights of Vegas.
Here are some touring and exploring options to consider.
By the same author:
- Less than an hour's drive west of Las Vegas is Red
Rock Canyon. There is a scenic 13-mile loop that you can take in a car,
or else park and take a hike to work off those magnificent buffets you
have been enjoying. This is a very doable day-trip that you can do
yourself, or else take any one of a number of tours, brochures for
which are readily available in your hotel lobby. For photographs and
information on the Red Rock Canyon, check the official site: http://www.desertusa.com/redrock/
- Another doable day trip is to Hoover Dam and Lake
Mead. The dam is a marvel of engineering, and Lake Mead has become an
important recreational area in the region, with paddle wheeler cruises
and other boating and water activities. Once again, you can easily do
this yourself, if you want time away from many tour groups, or, if you
find it less intimidating to do so, join a tour, which will take
approximate 7.5 hours. For more information, check http://www.usbr.gov/lc/hooverdam/
for the dam or
for Lake Mead activities.
- If you are itching for a water adventure, consider
doing a river rafting trip down the scenic Colorado River. In this
case, a tour would be prudent, as lunch would be provided, as well as
safety instructions and equipment. Look for brochures for the Black
Canyon River Rafting Tour.
- Anxious to spend a couple of days away, as you are
on an extended holiday? Consider a trip to the Grand Canyon or even
Death Valley. Once again, there are tours that depart from Las Vegas,
or you could look into it yourself. It is not within the limited
parameters of this site to give you details on all the national parks
that surround this area within a day's drive and a couple of
overnights, as these natural wonders deserve pages and pages by
themselves. However, an overview for a future deeper foray is possible,
as explained on
There are many ways to experience the Grand Canyon or Death Valley, and
a tour bus or touristy helicopter ride may or may not be your ticket.
But if you are given a choice, and you want to truly experience the
grandeur of the Grand Canyon, it is the North Rim that is more
spectacular, although less frequented. It is at a higher elevation, is
closed in winter, and is indeed awe-inspiring in its grandeur!
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