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.