Sin City—Beyond the Strip

Most of us associate Las Vegas with the debauchery that ensues when the lights and music of the strip combine with 4am closing times.  When my parents told me they were relocating to Henderson, a Vegas suburb, I was skeptical about the quality of life they would have amidst the cigarette smoke and clanging of the slot machines.  What I was surprised to find, however, was the Vegas area surrounded by so much natural beauty and outdoor recreation! My skepticism immediately dissipated and was instead replaced with the want to get out and explore.

My favorite area by far is the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. It is a desert playground where you can have fun hiking, biking, bouldering, scrambling over rocks, and taking in expansive desert views. The area is suitable for all activity levels, with short .5 mile hikes as well as challenging 11 mile treks. I went during a ‘mild’ 90 degree day with my mom and had a great time exploring the slot canyon while getting plenty of cigarette smoke-free air.

Tips and Info: Best in Fall, HOT in Summer (but great in early hours); Fees: $7 per car; $3 per pedestrian

Sloan Canyon is another place I’ve enjoyed, and although it’s less magnificent aesthetically (no bright red rocks and enormous canyon walls) you will find a fun hike, rocks to climb on, and some local history. The 4-mile round trip hike will take you to petroglyphs by the native Paiutes who frequented the area to hunt the big horned sheep that you can see here at dawn. We weren’t up early enough to spot any big horns, but did have an encounter with a desert tortoise!

Tips and Info: Google map before you go. Fees: FREE

Do yourself a favor and revive your soul outdoors after all your sins in the city. Or skip the strip all together—Viva!

Written by Erica Ramos, LoaTree guest submission.

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