When you’re in Las Vegas and gambling, shopping, and clubbing aren’t your things, the activity options are few. So when my aunt and uncle flew into Vegas for a conference, I joined them that weekend, and we ventured to nearby parks.

Hoover Dam, low water levels

About 45 minutes away is Hoover Dam, which straddles the Nevada and Arizona border. Construction began in 1931 and is considered by many as a mark of great engineering achievement. The dam is on one end of Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the US, and services Arizona, California, and Nevada with power. In fact, the dam generates so much energy that the revenues from power paid for its $49 million construction and continues to cover its own operation and maintenance expenses.

Hoover Dam
Lake Mead at Sunset

The next day, we picked up a few sandwiches from Earl’s and drove half an hour to Red Rock Canyon. Iron oxide gives the rocks its rich red color for which the area is named. Millions of years as an ocean floor and subsequent millions of years as sand dunes resulted in this unique layering of rocks that is popular with rock climbers. There are numerous trails with a wide range of difficulty, making it perfect for both touristy sightseers and more seasoned hikers.

Red Rock Canyon
Water in Calico Hills
My Aunt Peering Over Calico Hills