If you think Las Vegas is just about gambling and entertainment, then you will be surprised by what the city has to offer. Las Vegas and its nearby towns are rich in amazing places. Sometimes, we go away to have fun and relax. We tend to lose ourselves in partying at clubs or going to concerts, yet what we really need is to refresh the soul by visiting beautiful scenic sights.
Just 30 minutes away from The Strip is Lake Mead National Recreation Area. It is a recreational area that spreads across 1.5 million acres of mountains, canyons, valleys, and two lakes for boaters, swimmers, fishermen, hikers, photographers, campers, and sightseers. Lake Mead National Recreational Area is operated by the National Park Service.
The park located in southeastern Nevada and northwestern Arizona, which includes Lake Mead and Lake Mohave is accessible all year-round. Lake Mead is a large reservoir held by the Hoover Dam while Lake Mohave is a reservoir impounded by Davis Dam.
One of the great places to go in the park is the Historic Railroad Trail. It is the only remaining section of the Hoover Dam Railroad system that is not highly disturbed or under water. You can see information about the tunnels taken from the National Park Service’s website:
- The first tunnel is around 1 mile from the trailhead.
- The fifth tunnel is around 2.2 miles from the trailhead.
- The elevation change from the trailhead to the fifth tunnel is about 11 feet.
- After the fifth tunnel, the trail continues another 1.5 miles to the Hoover Dam Parking Garage. The elevation change between these two points is around 445 feet.
- Total distance = 7.5 miles (12 kilometers) round trip.
Based from the website too, a section of the railroad was used in the motion picture “The Gauntlet” starring Clint Eastwood and Sondra Locke for a sequence in which they were on a motorcycle being chased by an assassin in a helicopter.
The park has nine wilderness areas. Some of the wilderness lie outside Lake Mead National Recreational Area and are managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
Here Are Some Tips When Visiting Lake Mead National Recreational Area:
- Engage in outdoor activities early in the morning or in the evening during summer.
- Don’t forget to wear sunscreen and hydrate when engaging in outdoor activities.
- Wear hiking shoes and avoid open shoes if you will participate in hiking activities.
It is undeniable that Las Vegas gains tourist because of the numerous casinos, shows, concerts, and shops it has. People should be reminded that one of the uniqueness of Vegas is that it is located in the desert, surrounded by parks with wonderful weather throughout the year. Exploring the outdoors should be on the list of every tourist. Finding solitude just takes a trip to the Lake Mead National Recreational Area.
Watch a promotional video of the Lake Mead as Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman invites Elvis and a showgirl to find their park from Vegas: