The Red Rocks are famous because of all the high-profile artists and musicians who perform in a special acoustically sound conclave that is formed by the surrounding cliffs, but you should never neglect the opportunity to explore the conservation area while you’re there. This is the untamed desert wildlife at its best. For a closer and more intimate experience, plan a camping trip while you’re there.
The famous Bellagio Hotel and Casino is home to one of the greatest curated displays of lush gardens in the country. It carries the tradition of Las Vegas’ large, vibrant, and extravagant constructions, but it’s all for Mother Nature’s beautiful species of flora. The gardens cover over 14,000 square feet of real estate and completely envelopes you as if you stepped into a hidden paradise. The arrangements change based on the calendar’s festivities, so you’ll want to keep coming back for more.
Now we take a drastic turn towards a completely different side of Nevada: the cold mountains of Mount Charleston. This is the great outdoors in all of its untamed glory. If you visit during the winter, you’ll get to see snow-topped slopes that you can ski down, while in the warmer months you can go for some refreshing hikes when the wildlife is at its peak in activity and sightings.
We have yet another marriage of man and nature, where we visit the Flamingo Resort at Caesar’s Palace. This hidden getaway is a sanctuary to a whole slew of animals living right in the middle of Vegas. The stars of the show are the Chilean flamingos, who live alongside numerous other specious of birds and fish that call this little slice of man-made paradise home, complete with waterfalls and everything.
If you want to observe the desert in all of its beautiful and natural glory, this is a nice little side trip to take outside of the strip. The preserve is a sanctuary for desert succulents and all of the creatures who depend on them for survival, including the natives who still call the desert home. You will find food stands and the local farmer’s market selling some of the best produce you can find in the city.
If the Spring Reserve was right up your alley in-terms of experiencing Nevada’s natural backyard, then the Spring Mountain Ranch is another page in the book of desert secrets. Here you will find plenty of beautiful natural flora as well as the rich cultural heritage of the Paiute who live there. You can take a tour and explore the history for yourself, taste the sacred tradition, and come away with a new perspective in life.
While the body of water is natural in the sense that water is the source of life, Lake Mead is actually made possible through human engineering, through the creation of the Hoover Dam. The lake is the largest of its kind in America, and it is a proverbial oasis in the middle of the desert landscape of Nevada. There’s plenty to do in and around the lake, it’s a great alternative to visiting the flashier theme parks with the family.
If you’re not one for hiking in Mount Charleston, then Floyd Lamb is an excellent alternative to go out and be in the wilderness, do some fishing around Tule Springs, and go camping in a relatively safe environment. There are some creatures that might run into you, but you won’t be chasing bears or lions away from your tents.
The name may sound a bit ominous, but trust us, this is one state park you won’t want to miss. It is officially the oldest park in Nevada, it looks like a living museum piece. The rocks all around you are records of Earth’s turbulent past, ancient tree stumps serve as fossilize reminders of what once was. Don’t forget to stop by the famous Elephant Rock and take note of the various wall paintings and carvings from prehistoric man.
One last exhibit of the freakish combination of man and nature, we find the world’s only man-made geothermal geyser. It’s like a science project gone awry, but it looks absolutely amazing. This dome of colorful algae and rock was created via a well that was drilled a century ago, releasing the hot water that was trapped below, eventually forming the colorful mineral deposits that are seen today.