|Related Topics: Tours - Maps - Recreation - Vehicle Rental - Shows - Events|
|Trip time estimates given assume travel from and return to Las Vegas with ample time to explore and learn about the beauty of Nevada and the surrounding areas.|
Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge - A natural oasis in the Desert. Located about 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas in Amargosa Valley, it consists of over 22,000 acres of spring-fed wetlands and alkaline desert uplands. Here can be found more than 20 plants and animals found nowhere else in the world, including a few on the endangered list. Here can be seen environmental extremes from Sand dunes, to ash tree groves, to wetlands all in one desert environment. Open sunrise-sunset. Refuge Manager: (775) 372-5435
Beaver Dam State Park - One of the most rustic parks in Nevada, Beaver Dam State Park has deep canyon, forests of juniper and pinion pine, a beautiful flowing stream and a reservoir. This is a perfect spot for photography or nature study. Or you can try fishing, camping, picnicking and hiking. Boats are not recommended on the reservoir. Campgrounds, group use areas, picnic areas, interpretive trails are available. Weather permitting, the park is open all year. It is not recommended to travel during the winter months due to the 5000 foot elevation off a gravel road. Located 34 miles east of Caliente, 6 miles north on US Hwy 93, then 28 miles east on a graded road. For more information contact: Beaver Dam State Park, Panaca Region Headquarters, P.O.Box 176, Panaca, NV, 89042, (702) 728-4467
Big Bend Of The Colorado State Recreation Area - This park starts below Laughlin on the shores of the Colorado River. The views of the river and mountains is dramatic. Currently, visitors enjoy picnicking, boating, fishing and swimming. Campgrounds and hiking trails are under construction. Summer temperatures in this park can easily reach 120 degrees. Located 5 miles south of Laughlin on the Needles Hwy. For more information contact: Big Bend Of The Colorado Recreation Area, P.O. Box 32850, Laughlin, NV, 89028-2850, (702) 298-1859.
Bryce Canyon National Park - This spectacular park is one of the most scenic in America. Giant bright red hoo-doos rise from the canyon floor and seem to touch the clouds. Explore the many cavernous trails leading throughout the park. Or take a Park Ranger's hike and learn about the wildlife. Named after rancher Ebenezer Bryce who said "It's a hell of a place to lose a cow!" you'll see why in this wonderland of eroded rock formations ablaze in brilliant colors. Located 4 hours northeast from Las Vegas in the heart of Utah's "Color Country".
Cathedral Gorge State Park - Cathedral spires of soft bentonite clay formed by years of erosion give this gorge its name. Unique patterns and cave-like formations abound in this long narrow valley. Trails take you on an exploration of the dramatic way nature's forces have carved this gorge. Miller Point is a scenic overlook just north of the park's entrance. Shades campgrounds and picnic areas provide relief from the summer sun. Popular activities in the park include hiking, nature study, photography and ranger programs. Located 2 miles north of Panaca on US Hwy 93. For more information contact: Cathedral Gorge State Park, P.O. Box 176, Panaca, NV, 89042, (702) 728-4460.
Death Valley National Monument
- Death Valley includes the lowest dry point below sea level in the Western
Hemisphere (280 feet), a museum, Scotty's Castle at the northern tip, and even
a couple of inns in case you decide to stay a while. Located about 140 miles
northwest of Las Vegas. Death Valley Visitors Center & Museum: (619) 786-2331
The following are links to tours in Death Valley
Echo Canyon State Park - This park offers beautiful scenery and a 65 acre reservoir. Exploration of the native plants and unique rock formations is a popular activity. Wildlife is abundant for nature study. Camping, boating, fishing, hiking and picnicking are available. The park is open all year but visitors can expect snow during the winter months due to its 5200 foot elevation. Located 12 miles east of Pioche from Star Routes 322 and 323. For more information contact: Echo Canyon State Park, Star Route, Box 295, Pioche, NV, (702) 962-5103.
Floyd Lamb Park - This park was formerly known as Tule Springs. Its history includes an early winter stopping point for Native Americans, and later a working ranch. In the 1950's it was popular as a guest ranch where, patrons could wait out the 6 week Nevada residency requirement to get a quick divorce. Groves of shade trees surround 4 small fishing lakes. A nice respite from the summer sun. Picnic areas have tables and grills. Group areas and walking/bike paths are available. Located 10 miles north of Las Vegas from US Hwy 95 to Durango to Tule Springs Road. Admission: approx $6 per person, fishing license required to fish. For more information contact: Floyd Lamb State Park, 9200 Tule Springs Road, Las Vegas, NV, 89131, (702) 486-5413.
Grand Canyon National Park
- More than a mile deep, 217 miles long, and 4-18 miles wide, the Grand
Canyon is among the most popular camping and hiking destinations and
all around must-sees in the Southern Nevada area. Far at the very bottom
flows the Colorado River offering whitewater as well as calm rafting.
Check ourOutdoors Recreation
and Extreme Tours sections
for a selection of tour operators offering whitewater and camping adventures
at the Canyon.
Most visitors prefer to simply visit the upper rim and gaze at the many natural formations and wide colorful vistas. Expect crowds in the more popular public areas most seasons except mid-winter. It's somewhat of a drive from Las Vegas being nearly 300 miles away by land to the nearest rim. You can drive to the public sites yourself, but there are numerous, excellent, affordable, bus, offroad vehicle, helicopter and airplane tours departing Las Vegas every day, to make the visit more informative and overall far more enjoyable, many of which even go to otherwise inaccessable areas by special arrangement. Check below and in our tours section for a large selection of tour operators offering literally hundreds of Grand Canyon tour options for every imaginable taste, time, mode or budget constraint. Expect an early morning until late evening or overnight trip if going by land. Sunrise and sunset are quite spectacular at the Canyon. Many half and full day air tours, both flying over only, as well as landing in or on the edge of the canyon, are also available. Visit our Grand Canyon Detail Section. Grand Canyon Information Center: (520) 638-7888.
The following are links to guided tours to the Grand Canyon
Only 30 miles south of Las Vegas is one of mans greatest architectural
achievements and one of the most popular landmarks visited by Las Vegas
visitors, even President Barack Obama!
Still in operation since the 30's supplying electrical power to Nevada,
Arizona and California, Hoover Dam is truly a wonder to see. Visitors can
actually go into the depths of the dam and tour the inner workings. Or you
can peer over the edge of the nearly 800 foot drop while standing in two
time zones at once!
A nearby museum shows movies and artifacts involving it's creation.
The beautiful new Hoover Dam Visitors Center, at the edge of the dam,
opened in September 95 and ironically enough cost much more to build than
the dam itself did 60 years ago. Recently another engineering marvels was
realized, as efforts to reduce traffic over the dam itself were accomplished
by constructing an enormous bypass highway across the gorge about a half
mile from the dam. Crossing by car or by foot ALWAYS FREE. Museum and tour
open 9:00am-4:15pm daily. Adm: $5 Adults, $2.50 Seniors
& Children 10-16, Children under 10 free; Includes tour of dam and movie.
The following are links to guided tours to Hoover Dam
Kershaw-Ryan State Park - A spring-fed pond in this park offered early settlers a place to grow grapes, trees and even lawns. This is in sharp contrast to the rocky canyon walls which tower over the little valley. Hiking trails, picnic areas and campgrounds offer a variety of activities in this park. This park is at the north end of Rainbow Canyon. Located 3 miles south of Caliente off US Hwy 93 to Star Route 317. For more information contact: Kershaw-Ryan State Park, Panaca Region Headquarters, P.O. Box 176, Panaca, NV, 89042, (702) 728-4467.
Kyle Ranch - Once part of a large ranch, what remains of it here is acknowledged as the oldest standing building in Las Vegas. It is located, just off Losee Road on the northeast corner of Carey Ave and Commerce Street in North Las Vegas. The unassuming stone and wood ranch house and nearby white shed date back to the mid 1850's when the entire valley was little more than a railroad stop and ranching predominated rather than gambling. If you visit the site, please respect all nearby areas marked "private property" and "no trespassing". No admission charge.
Lake Havasu / London Bridge - Brought over stone by stone and reconstructed in 1971, Lake Havasu's London Bridge forms the central focus of a modern "Old English Village" on the shore of the lake. Dozens of gift shops, antique shops and cafes line the shore of this man-made lake north of Parker Dam. Boating, fishing and many other water sports are available. This is also the well known site of numerous televised water sports tournaments. Additional Info: Call the Lake Havasu Tourist Bureau: 1-800-242-8278.
Lake Mead National Recreation Area
- Covering 300 square miles (and at least
one drowned city) Lake Mead is the largest man made lake in the United States. With nearly 600
miles of shoreline it's easy to find plenty of room to pursue your interest, whether it be boating,
fishing, swimming or ski-doo-ing. Only 35 miles southeast of Las Vegas. Nevada fishing
licenses are available at all local marinas, boating and bait shops. House and ski boat rentals are
The following are links to guided tours to Lake Mead Area
For more see our Tours Category.
- The only riverboat cruise on Lake Mead
- (702) 293-6180
- Voted the all time best Photographic / Sightseeing Tour tours in Las Vegas by Insider Viewpoint Magazine -
Mount Charleston / Toiyabe National Forest
- Located only 35
miles north of Las Vegas on route 95, Mount Charleston is where the
locals go in the summer to beat the heat. Nearly always an average 30
degrees cooler than downtown Las Vegas (due to being nearly two miles
higher in altitude), it's a great place to get away from the gambling
scene for a while. It's also fun to open the car windows and turn off
the air conditioning as you turn off route 95 to feel the drastic
temperature change as you head the last few miles up the mountain.
Skiing and snowboarding is available in the winter months and horseback riding in the
summer months. Great place for camping in May thru September. There is also an Inn (see hotels) and lodge with rental cabins (see
restaurants) which is a great place to spend your honeymoon after a Las
Vegas wedding... (702) 872-5500 (see additional references to this area below).
The following are links to guided tours in the Mt. Charleston Area
Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park - In 1855, the first permanent non-native settlers to the Las Vegas valley were Mormon missionaries. They built an adobe fort which now serves as a visitor center. These settlers lived here by farming the area using diverted water from a nearby creek. This park is currently under development to include more historic interpretations and re-created features. The park is open all year. Located in Las Vegas at Las Vegas Boulevard and Washington Avenue. For more information contact: Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park, 908 Las Vegas Blvd. North, Las Vegas, NV, 89101, (702) 486-3511.
Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge - A Waterfowl Oasis in the Desert. Virtually hidden on highway 93 about 90 miles northeast of Las Vegas is this honest to goodness natural oasis. Pahranagat is surrounded on either side by 90 miles of arid creosote bush desert and an occasional Joshua tree, but is an important stopping point for migrating waterfowl and other birds. The 5,380 acre area provides a diverse range of habitats from desert to cultivated fields, marsh and open water, for an equally diverse range of wildlife from jackrabbits and bull frogs to blackbirds, roadrunners, mallards and hawks. Hunting, fishing, camping and non-motorized boating are quite popular year-round in this area. To get there, take I-15 north to the I-93 cutoff. Take I-93 North towards Alamo/Tonopah and you'll see it on the left about 60 miles from the junction right after passing through the loveliest tiny green canyon (watch for the old stone ruins on the top of the sheer cliff to the West). For more information contact: Refuge Mgr, Pahranagat NWR, PO Box 510, Alamo, NV 89001 (702)725-3417 or Desert NWR, 1500 N Decatur Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89108, (702) 646-3401.
Parker Dam - About 88 miles South of Laughlin and downstream from Davis Dam is Parker Dam. It is known as the worlds "DEEPEST" dam. 65 percent of its structural height is located under the water. This dam's construction made possible Lake Havasu in Arizona. For more information contact: Parker Chamber of Commerce, 1217 California Ave, Parker, AZ 85344, (760) 669-2174.
Red Rock Canyon
- Just 15 miles outside of town to the west is Red Rock Canyon. A large patch
of native, brilliant red sandstone makes this unique, natural sightseeing spot.
You often see desert wildlife including burros, wild horses and bighorn sheep
wandering amidst the washes, Joshua Trees and numerous small canyons once
inhabited by ancient Indian tribes. Often used as backdrops for magazine ads,
"Red Rock" (as it's affectionately referred to by locals) provides a number of
nice picnic spots, places for rock climbing, 4-wheel driving, hiking and
spectacular views along the 8 mile scenic loop which is readily accessible by
car or bicycle. A four wheel drive, ATV or hardy hiking shoes are recommended
for some of the more isolated dirt trails. Tours are available at the
visitor's center at the main entrance. Stop at the visitor's center BEFORE
you head into the park "loop", as once you get into the park, it's one-way traffic
ONLY for 12 miles. Adm: $5/carload/day or $20/annual. (702) 363-1921.
The following are links to guided tours to Red Rock Canyon
Snow Canyon State Park - Located in 15 minutes from St. George, Utah, Snow Canyon is a multi-colored sandstone canyon. Here you'll find red and white Navajo sandstone are packed against ancient black lava beds. Huge sands dunes, caves and wildflowers create a panorama of true beauty. A camp ground, modern restrooms, hot showers, and RV convenience are at the park. Enjoy hours of photography, hiking, picnicking, horseback riding and camping in Snow Canyon. Best hidden secret of the southwest. Located 11 miles northwest of St George, Utah on Utah 18, Santa Clara, Utah. For more information contact: Snow Canyon State Park, P.O. Box 140, Santa Clara, Utah 84765-0140, (435) 628-2255.
Southern Nevada Zoological-Botanical Park - Not huge as zoos go, but a nice zoo nonetheless. 250 different bird and animal species from all over the world including a children's petting zoo. See an albino alligator and retired show monkeys. Adm.: $5 Adults, $3 Seniors and children under 12. 1775 N Rancho Dr. Open daily 9:00am. (702) 648-5955 or (702) 647-4685.
Spring Mountain Ranch State Park - Just the place for a relaxing afternoon away from the crowd. Situated on the historical Old Spanish Trail and once owned by millionaire Howard Hughes, this park is nestled in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. The many natural springs flowing from the mountains provided the Paiute Indians with water. Take a guided tour through the historic Ranch House and other ranch buildings on weekends and holidays. The visitor's center is open Friday through Monday and all Holidays. Visitors enjoy hiking and picnicking here. They also have a cultural events pavilion. Call about frequent performing arts shows. Located 15 miles west of Las Vegas on State Route 159. For more information contact: Spring Mountain Ranch State Park, P.O. Box 124, Blue Diamond, NV, 89004, (702) 875-4141.
Spring Valley State Park - The 65 acre Eagle Reservoir is the heart of this park. Boating, camping and picnicking are available. You can also tour the historic Ranch House Museum. The park is open all year but deep snow fall may make winter access difficult. Located 20 miles east of Pioche on State Route 322. For more information contact: Spring Valley Star Route, Box 201, Pioche, NV, 89043, (702) 962-5102.
Tule Springs - See: Floyd Lamb Park
Valley of Fire State Park
- About 50 miles northeast of Las
Vegas lies the Valley of Fire. Site of numerous movies (including parts
of Star Trek: Generations) this 26,000 acre desert landscape is about as
far away from civilization as you can get. Here you'll find wonderful
stone formations created by the wind and desert sands, ancient Indian
petroglyphs (stone carvings) on the rocks and much desert wildlife. To
get there take route 15 north then route 169 west. Visitors Center:
The following are links to guided tours in the Valley of Fire Area
Zion Canyon Giant Screen Theatre - Located at the entrance to Zion National Park (see below) this cinemax theatre, built in 1994, boasts a 60 ft high by 82 ft wide screen which is the largest in the state of Utah and one of the largest in the world. Two alternating, 70 mm movies giving a virtual tour of the adjacent national park, play year-round, with a 22,000 watt sound system to enhance the immersing experience. Located 40 miles east of St George, Utah and I-15 on Utah 9, Springdale, Utah. For show times, prices and other info contact: 888-256-3456 or (435) 772-2400.
Zion National Park - Located in Southern Utah, a short ride from Las Vegas, Zion National Park is open year-round. This majestic park offers breathtaking scenery of waterfalls cascading down red rocks and hanging gardens. The visitor center offers a number of special programs designed for young and old. Hiking with Park Rangers is a favorite pastime here where you can learn all about the flora and fauna. This park has hiking, biking, horseback riding, river tubing, rock climbing, swimming, bird watching, rock hunting and great photography. Near the entrance to Zion National Park is the Zion Canyon Giant Screen Theatre which shows adventure films on a giant screen. Located 40 miles east of St George, Utah and I-15 on Utah 9, Springdale, Utah. For more information contact: Zion National Park, Springdale, Utah 84767, (435) 772-3256.
If you're visiting our Las Vegas area Parks
and want to learn yet more try these recommended
sources from your local dealer or online at
Nevada Wildlife Viewing Guide - Describes with photos much of the local wildlife to watch for and provides more maps and details of many of the areas listed on this page.
The Story Behind the Scenery Series - Huge fabulous color photos, history and educational!