About JoAnna H
Lives in Las Vegas, Nevada
Since Sep. 2009
I am a full-time freelance writer based in Las Vegas. When I'm not sleeping in hotels, eating out at restaurants and enjoying new attractions, you can often find me writing about them. Beyond Las Vegas, I travel and write frequently about destinations throughout the Southwest United States, especially those in Arizona, Southern California and Utah. I'm an outdoorsy person and enjoy hiking, camping and backpacking in the United States' national parks.
Canyons, Geologic Formations, National Parks, Nature & Wildlife Areas, State Parks
Nature & Wildlife Areas
Ski & Snowboard Areas
Nature & Wildlife Areas
Nature & Wildlife Areas, Parks
One of the most adventurous ways to see the vast stretch of desert is by zip lining over top of it. From the comfort of a paragliding-like harness, you'll fly about 1,000 feet over the ground below and up to 50 miles per hour. The experience includes four zip lines, the last of which is both the longest and fastest.
When visitors get their first glance of Red Rock Canyon, they're often surprised that such a stunning natural place exists so close to Las Vegas. There is a 13-mile, one-way road that loops through the park, dotted with a scenic overlook at the highest point of the drive and several trail heads for hiking. Many visitors seek out the park for day hikes, but this is also a popular place for photographers and rock climbers as well.
This 520-acre ranch is a welcome reprieve from all the activities going on in Las Vegas. There is a living history program in the spring and fall that brings the colorful stories of this destination alive for guests, and in the summer, a long-running outdoor theater program is the ideal way to spend an evening with local families. Throughout the year, a network of hiking trails in the Red Rock Conservation Area and ample space for picnics allows guests to amble at their own pace as well.
Located on the border of Nevada and Arizona is Lake Mead National Recreation Area, a destination for water lovers. Though the lake's water level has dropped considerably in recent years, it still provides ample recreational opportunities for boaters, swimmers and SCUBA divers. There are several marinas in the area where people can rent houseboats, kayaks, jet skis and other related equipment, or for those who just want to relax on the shore, there are several beaches and picnic tables.
Though the Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort hardly rivals the likes of Vail, Heavenly or Taos, it is still impressive that within an hour's drive of the Las Vegas Strip there is a fully functioning ski mountain. In the winter, the ski resort receives an average of 240 inches of snow each year, which guests can explore via 20 groomed trails and 30 acres of snowboarding terrain accessed with three chairlifts and one surface lift. As the area has grown in popularity, a number of development projects are creating better base lodge and locker facilities.
This state park is like a splash of fire in the desert with deep red rock sandstone marked with ancient petroglyphs, great viewing opportunities for the desert sunset and miles of hiking trails. Camping spots are available on a first-come, first-served basis and can be a novel way to explore Las Vegas' great outdoor offerings.
Nevada's eighth largest mountain peak topping out at around 12,000 feet is a welcome respite from the repressive temperatures that often blanket the city. With several miles of hiking trails, it's easy to safely 'get lost' among the juniper and Ponderosa pine trees just a short drive beyond Las Vegas.
This national refuge area is 1.6 million acres in size, the largest refuge outside of Alaska. It encompasses mountain ranges, deserts and meadow areas, and is home to many species of birds, reptiles and mammals. Due to its size, much of it is inaccessible, but a visitor center at the entrance of the refuge offers information about the area and volunteers can point visitors toward shorter hiking trails or longer backpacking excursions if they are interested.
The impressive Hoover Dam is an engineering marvel that draws millions of tourists every year. Guests can visit the inside of the dam, but those who choose not to take a paid tour can still walk across the 725-foot high dam to check out the views. The Mike O' Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, which was completed in 2010, can be seen from the dam, and visitors can walk across the bridge to get a different view of the Hoover Dam as well.
Those who'd like to escape the city for a trip into the desert but don't have a lot of time to spare can head toward Springs Preserve, just a short drive from the Las Vegas Strip. This low-key, 180-acre park really once was an oasis in the desert and highlights key features of the desert landscape with walking trails, a botanical garden and indoor exhibits about water conservation, desert wildlife and Las Vegas' cultural history.