Viva Las Vegan!

25 Apr

las vegas sign Each year nearly 40,000 people visit Las Vegas.  They flock to this city in the desert to eat, drink, gamble and party.  With designer shopping, luxury hotels and upscale restaurants it can be easy to get caught up in the excess.  Known as sin city, Las Vegas is a town of indulgence. However, there is another side to Las Vegas that people don’t normally experience.  The craziness that the Las Vegas strip is built in a valley surrounded by the natural beauty of the Mojave desert and Spring mountains.  After going to Las Vegas numerous times, my last trip there was the first time I was able to enjoy the outdoors and explore another side of the city.

Lake Mead

Driving on a winding desert road for miles, getting further away from the chaos of the city I finally arrive at my destination, Lake Mead.  Formed by the Hoover Dam and located on the Colorado River, Lake Mead is the largest reservoir in the United States.  A national recreation area surrounds it which offers hiking, beaches, boating and camping. 20140417_174313 20140417_174732 Along the main road leading through the park were areas to pull in, park and walk the trails.  Stopping at several different points allowed me to get multiple views of the lake and surrounding mountains.  Boulder Beach was one of my stops through the park.  The sandy beach made for a wonderful spot to do a quick yoga practice. 20140421_154207-1

Although Lake Mead is a national recreation area and popular place to visit, there are plenty of quiet spots to reflect and spend some time on your own.

Valley of Fire

Accessible from the Lake Mead recreation area is Valley of Fire state park.  The park gets it’s name from the red sandstone formations which often look as though they are on fire as they reflect the sun’s rays.  The park also features scenic drives, hiking trails and picnic areas.  There are two entrances to the park, one at each end with a main road running through it, making it easy to navigate. This park could probably be seen in one day, depending on how much hiking you want to do.  I recommend driving to see each attraction and then choosing a few hiking trails that you want to do.  Here are some of the magical things you can find in the Valley of Fire.

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                  Beehives                                                            Seven Sisters     

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                Petrified logs                                                   Elephant rock

 

And of course no trip of mine would be complete without some good food!  While there are not many vegan restaurants in Las Vegas, they do have a few which are vegan friendly.  Greens and Proteins is a healthy cafe with two locations in the city.  This is not a vegan only cafe, but they do have extensive plant based menu options and even have a raw section of the menu.  I highly recommend the raw nachos!

greens

 

 

As I dust the desert sand off my shoes, I am grateful that I got to experience the natural beauty that surrounds Las Vegas.  Next time you are in Las Vegas, remember that beyond the walls of the casino are many things to discover.  Never stop exploring!

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