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Outdoor Recreation Las Vegas, NV
Nevada is one of the most mountainous of all states with 314 identified ranges and fourth in biodiversity. Such diverse terrain is also ideal for adventurous vistors and southern Nevadans. The state offers a surprising number of outdoor recreation opportunities and most are only a short drive away from Las Vegas...
Red Rock Canyon
The closest, located just 15 miles west of the Strip, is Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area which offers a 13-mile scenic drive, hiking, biking, and rock climbing. A visitor center at the base of the scenic drive offers in-depth, interactive information about the area's history, recreation, geology, wildlife and vegetation. Red Rock Canyon, spanning some 197,000 acres, features colorful sandstone formations, canyons and is home to a variety of wildlife. The wild burros are said to be the descendents of animals used by miners in the early 1900's.
Mount Charleston
For alpine attractions, residents can drive to Mount Charleston, 35 miles northwest of Las Vegas. Located in the Toiyabe National Forest, Mount Charleston features panoramic views, horseback riding and hiking trails. At 12,000 feet, the mountain has the distinction of being the third-highest peak in Nevada. Mount Charleston is also home to a variety of and picnic areas. The Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort at Lee Canyon offers ski runs for all skill levels.
Valley of Fire
An easy 55-mile drive from Las Vegas, the Valley of Fire State Park is Nevada's oldest and biggest state park. The Valley of Fire takes its name from fiery sandstone formations, which were formed by shifting sand dunes. The geology is similar to Red Rock, but the area also offers a glimpse into early Native American cultures. It was frequently visited by the ancient Basket Maker people and Anasazi, who used the area for hunting and religious ceremonies. Excellent examples of their rock art and petroglyphs are found throughout the area.
Hoover Dam Bypass
Lake Mead National Recreation Area and Hoover Dam is a 30-mile ride east of Las Vegas for those interested in water sports. The lake is the world's largest man-made reservoir and provides a wide variety of year-round recreational activities, including boating, swimming, hiking, scuba diving and sport fishing. The 1.5-million acre recreation area that surrounds the lake is equally unique. Three of the nation's four desert ecosystems meet here - the Great Basin, and the Mojave and Sonoran deserts. More...

Grand Canyon For more scenic wonders, the South Rim of the Grand Canyon is a day drive (300 miles) southeast of Las Vegas in Arizona. The canyon, carved by the Colorado River is one mile deep, more than 200 miles long and varies in width from four to 18 miles. The South Rim is open to visitors year round and features walking trails and mule trips. It also has restaurants, lodging and a visitor center. More...

Zion Canyon For those looking for a destination that has a bit of everything, Zion National Park in Utah fits the bill. The 229-square-mile park is a 2- 1/2-hour ride from Las Vegas and features many scenic waterfalls, and canyons carved by the Virgin River. Bryce CanyonOne hour further away, Bryce Canyon National Park is a must-see for visitors to Utah. The area is a geologic wonder - its colorful limestone has been carved by erosion into thousands and thousands of arches, spires and mazes. More...

As with any outdoor recreation, these southern Nevada getaways are beautiful but challenging. Safety should always come first so visitors should always bring plenty of water and dress for the season. Enjoy the beauty, but get home safely to talk about it.

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