When you’re out in the desert in Nevada, why not actually check out the desert? Outside the urban capital of Las Vegas, Nevada looks vastly different: concrete roads and ominous towers, glitzy lights and bold signs are replaced with mountainous landscapes, craggy peaks and canyons splashed with hues of red, orange and pink. Find out more about the history of Hoover Dam, for example, by wandering the tunnels at the Historic Railroad Tunnel Trail, or try your hand at some fishing on the serene waters of Lake Mead. Pitch a tent and watch the stars or hook up your RV to someplace near the lake before heading back to the flash and buzz of Las Vegas.
Looking for a secluded retreat with fishing opportunities, boating and kayaking? One of the most remote marinas in the area, the Temple Bar Marina provides affordable lakeside guest rooms, boat docks, an RV park with amenities to help make any visitor’s stay comfortable, and even a fish-cleaning station. Spend a night and a day incommunicado near the Temple Bar rock formation, fish from the plethora of fish varieties and recharge the soul.
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From the Boulder Beach, see the multicolored curves of the mountains outlined in the horizon behind the enormous clear blue of Lake Mead. Thirty miles out of the manufactured appeal of Las Vegas and five miles from the architectural and industrial achievement that is the Hoover Dam is a secluded, relaxed area to bask in the simple natural wonders of the desert, admire some Joshua trees, pitch a tent and light up a barbecue. Offering RV sites with all the hookups and park benches to congregate with the local campers, Boulder Beach and its campgrounds is an idyllic oasis from which to escape the Nevada heat.
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At the western tip of Lake Mead, just below Las Vegas Bay, the winding 3.7 mile Historic Railroad Hiking Trail allows visitors to step out of the punishing Nevada sun and straight into history. The tunnel was constructed in the ‘30s to connect all available facilities to build Hoover Dam, like cement mixing and gravel sorting plants. Now, the 25-diameter tunnels are long empty stretches of walkable intra-mountainous trail occupied by desert wildlife. So don’t bother scaling the mountains, and instead walk or bike through them!
There are also a number of great national parks near Las Vegas that are perfect for hiking and outdoors adventures
A spectrum of red, orange and pink hues climb the sandstone outcrops and limestone mountains of the 3,521 acre Muddy Mountains Wilderness Area, on the northern tip of Lake Mead. It looks straight out of a sci-fi novel: empty and deserted save for the occasional bighorn sheep, banded Gila monster and other desert wildlife, with craggy, mountainous peaks buried under fog and clouds. Desert hiking enthusiasts shouldn’t miss out on this opportunity to scale the terrain, admire the slot canyons and the splashes of color.
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Fifty miles north of Las Vegas and right next to the northern tip of Lake Mead, the Valley of Fire is named after its striking red sandstone formations. Shifting sand dunes left an array of unusual shapes across this ancient land, which can be reached through a variety of hiking routes. The park’s long history is human as well as geologic, tracing back to the 3000-year-old Native American petroglyphs preserved on the rock.