Taking on the Great Outdoors

2 Jun

I grew up in a small town in Wisconsin. It was a “rural” town, but my house was in the “suburbs.” The usual Midwest hobbies included fishing, hunting, and camping. I never involved myself with those hobbies. Once I got my license I would take off every weekend and head to the nearest city. The idea of challenging the great outdoors never fazed me. The one time I did go camping for a Jack Johnson concert, I freaked out and slept in my friends’ car. June is “Great Outdoors Month” and I guess my inner adventurer is about to be born. However, reading about the “warnings” and precautions… well, let’s just say if my blog stops posting, I didn’t survive.

Hiking and Hot Springs
Hiking is a great physical activity and a good way to get your outdoor fitness on. There are three prominent hiking areas about 45 minutes from Las Vegas: Red Rock Canyon, Mount Charleston and Valley of Fire. Each park has a small fee to park your car. Each location offers various hiking trails that are miles long so make sure you bring water and a flashlight in case you get lost. The Valley of Fire also offers camping locations in case you feel like making a weekend escape. There are two locations for hot springs close to Nevada. Next to Lake Mead is the Roger’s Springs and Blue Point Springs. Just be careful at Roger’s if you are going to swim because there are warnings for Naegleria Floweri, an amoeba that can cause death if you submerge your head in the water. There are also four hot springs located below the Hoover Dam. Some are harder to get to than others, but it is not recommended to hike to them in the hot summer weather. Just make sure you pay attention to signs and you should be able to enjoy the experience.

Off-Roading
There are around eight different options to grab a buggy, ATV, or dirt bike and drive the challenging courses on the outskirts of Las Vegas. If you prefer a dune buggy, you might want to check out the Mini Baja Buggy Tour from Las Vegas. For thirty minutes you will take a dune buggy over 10-15 miles of challenging terrain. Rolling Stone magazine name Mini Baja Buggy Tour as Vegas’ Best Near-Death Adventure. If you are looking for a longer buggy experience, Valley of Fire Buggy Tour offers a 3 and half hour with lunch included. If an ATV is more up your alley, options are offered for full day or half day rides. The El Dorado Canyon and Gold Mine Trip brings you up to El Dorado Canyon with a walking tour of the Techatticcup gold mine. Another option is to head south towards Jean, NV and ride along the Hidden Valley next to Primm. You can choose from a half day or full day tour. If you like the scenery by the Valley of Fire, you should check out the ATV Off-Road Desert Adventure that takes you for a two and half hour ride. If two-wheels are more your style, the last option would be driving a dirt bike with the Hidden Valley and Primm Extreme Bike Tour. The tours range from $150-$350 per person depending on how long and what mode of transportation you decide on.

Horsing Around
Whether you are a morning or a night person, Las Vegas offers horseback riding tours for animal lovers along Red Rock and the desert for around $130. You can take on the “Wild West” early morning with Morning Maverick Horseback Ride. Guests will arrive at the ranch where breakfast will be served before heading out for an hour long ride along Red Rock National Park. If you like to see the sun set, try the Wild West Horseback Ride. After an hour long horseback ride, you will be brought back to the ranch where a cowboy BBQ dinner will be served. You will be able to enjoy the night sky in the desert around a campfire, but back in time to still head out for the night.

Taking on the Rapids
I personally prefer to stick to the pools when it comes to water, but for those more adventurous, they can take on smooth or rough rapids on the Colorado River. There are options to stick around the city, taking off near the Hoover Dam, with smoother waters or take a journey to the Grand Canyon where the rapids can get rough. It is under $200 around Las Vegas, but can cost up to $600 to travel to AZ. It just depends on what is considered worth it to you.

There are other adventures to check out like skydiving and helicopter tours, but I figured I would stick to the wilderness for this blog. I am going to try out a few of these adventures, I think, maybe. I’m sure one my outdoorsy friends will eventually convince me. Either way, just remember, safety first! Respect the parks and areas by throwing away garbage and make sure to keep track of your belongings. Lastly, have fun!

3 Responses to “Taking on the Great Outdoors”

  1. Anonymous June 3, 2011 at 1:12 am #

    What part of Wisconsin? I am from a small town in WI too. I was up North. Near the MN border. Just curious. I always love your articles, and it was ironic to see that you are from Wisconsin too 🙂

  2. Agent 21 @ SpyOnVegas.com June 6, 2011 at 4:04 pm #

    I'm from a little old town called Frederic, WI, but went to school at Madison, top party college in the nation! 😉

  3. car finance September 20, 2011 at 4:44 am #

    Where exactly are these off-road tracks outside Las Vegas? I have never noticed anything, and I've been living in the area for years.

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