It is that time of year again when resident rattlesnakes start appearing on our local hiking trails. They come out of hibernation to enjoy the 70- to 90-degree temperature range, just as many humans do.
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In the waning weeks of winter, if you live in Southern Nevada, you owe yourself a trip to Death Valley National Park, just over the mountains in California. Warm weather arrives at the park earlier than in the Las Vegas Valley and are often ideal.
While Brian Head, Utah, is best known for its downhill skiing and snowboarding, a slew of other adventures await those who make their way there. In less than a four-hour drive from Las Vegas, you can be at 9,000 feet doing just about anything that...
The last echo of a mining boom died long ago in this old village in Northern Arizona, yet it's no ghost town, still boasting roughly 250 residents. But it's not your stereotypical small town either, for individualism runs rampant, and there's even some important public art here.
Now is a great time of year to head out to Lake Mead National Recreation Area and enjoy the Historic Railroad Tunnel Trail.
A New Year's resolution you can carry out is to visit one of the nearby national parks with which our region is so richly blessed. One of the best for winter months is the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
At this busy time of year, it's good to keep in mind an outdoor destination close enough that it won't require much time and preparation. Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve is just such a place -- an oasis of natural peace hidden close to the urban bustle of the Las Vegas Valley.
This is the perfect time of year to get over to Death Valley National Park and hit some of the badland trails. One especially suited for winter is the hike from Zabriskie Point to Golden Canyon.
Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1963 to provide a wintering habitat for migratory birds including a large variety of waterfowl. "Pahranagat" is a Paiute word meaning "valley of shining water." The refuge encompasses about 5,380 acres of lakes, cattail marshes, wet meadows, riparian habitats and even desert uplands.
Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge serves at least two important functions: Preserving rare creatures and plants, and preserving the sanity of urban visitors by surrounding them with the beauty of green wetlands, glimpses of small fish darting through natural pools, and the sound of birdsong.
Natural Bridges National Monument isn't the easiest park to get to, but the rewards are well worth your time. The drive really becomes one of them, for it wraps the traveler in some of the most spectacular scenery of the Southwest. And the monument'...
Some of the tallest sand dunes in North America can be found in the remote and extreme northern section of Death Valley National Park, California. The Eureka Dunes, in the enclosed Eureka Valley, have a base elevation of about 3,000 feet, and from there, they rise up nearly 700 feet more. The formation is about three miles long from north to south and one mile wide.
With the temperatures in our region finally cooling off, now is a good time to head out to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. There are many canyons to explore in the park but Pine Creek Canyon should be tops on your short list.
If you have ever aspired to hike the world-famous Zion Narrows, over the next month or so is an ideal time to do so. Water and air temperatures remain as pleasant as they'll ever be, and the threat of flash flooding is lower than the last couple of months.
Along the eastern rim of Utah's Paunsaugunt Plateau lies Bryce Canyon National Park, a visual feast for the eyes. Standing along the park's rim, visitors are treated to a multicolored landscape of natural spires, pinnacles and pillars called hoodoos. They got their name because their upright shape, with a little imagination, suggests humanoid or even supernatural beings.
If a visit to the Grand Canyon National Park is on your summer schedule, I recommend heading to the canyon's North Rim rather than the better-known and thus more crowded South Rim. The North Rim affords classic views just as stunning as those visible from the South Rim but you get to enjoy them in cooler weather. Summer daytime high temperatures on the North Rim average in the 70s. And nighttime lows drop to the 40s, making good sleeping weather for campers.
Great Basin National Park doesn't get its fair share of visitors, but that's all the better for the enlightened few who get to enjoy it without fighting any crowds. Deep summer is the best time to go there, when its high elevation provides the cool temperatures so longingly sought by hikers and campers from Southern Nevada. Nevada's only national park, it offers plenty to do.
One benefit of living in Southern Nevada is the opportunity to explore little-traveled back roads winding their way to uncrowded outdoor adventures. One of the best is the Mormon Well Road, originally a pioneer wagon trail on what is now the Desert National Wildlife Refuge.
You might think summer outdoor activities in Death Valley National Park are out of the question, but this is actually an ideal time to hike to the summit of the park's Panamint Mountains.
Big Bear Lake, California, is one of the closest high-elevation destinations for Southern Nevadans seeking a summer getaway with cool temperatures.
Now, it's possible to see two kinds of condors at one of their natural habitats: the Grand Canyon.
If you can hit the trail early on these days of late spring, you can still sneak into a few lower-elevation destinations before temperatures soar into the misery range. A good point for such a dawn attack might be Keyhole Canyon in the western foot of the Eldorado Mountains about 20 miles south of Boulder City.
Hackberry Canyon is a hidden gem in the southwestern section of the 1.9 million-acre Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, Utah. It is a bit off the beaten path, but those who make the effort will be rewarded with a colorful narrow canyon complete with a perennial stream, flanked by lush vegetation.
After driving miles of remote desert road through the Mojave National Preserve, Californians are often surprised to come upon the Kelso Depot, where a railroad station large and elaborate enough to serve a small city sits virtually in the middle of nowhere. It serves as the primary visitor center for the preserve, has excellent museum displays and even offers a good place to get a light lunch.
Joshua Tree National Park, just outside of Twentynine Palms, Calif., is a great springtime destination to visit for a day or two or even an extended trip to hike, go birding or just drive around looking at wildflowers. The park was established as a national monument in 1936 and gained national park status in 1994, and this year, it is celebrating its 75th anniversary.
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