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Nearby camping destinations offer spring break opportunities

Monday is the first day of spring break for students in the Clark County School District. While this traditional respite from school long has been an opportunity for many families to brush the dust from their camping gear and leave the confines of their urban environment, my guess is the price of fuel and other economic factors will make trips to distant locations difficult for the average family.

While those factors might require us to be more frugal, it doesn’t mean we have to resign ourselves to staying home. Many quality “remote” camping destinations are less than a tank of gas from downtown Las Vegas.

For those who want to get away from civilization, but not too far away, a couple of options are along the Colorado River near Laughlin, Big Bend of the River State Park on the Nevada side of the river and Davis Camp on the Arizona side. Though summer temperatures are hot enough to raise a blister on the back of your neck, spring temperatures are pleasant. Big Bend of the River is located about five miles south of Laughlin along the Needles Highway and 100 miles from Las Vegas. Park amenities include 24 campsites with RV hookups and shade ramadas, picnicking areas, swimming, a boat launch and fishing access to the river.

Davis Camp is sandwiched between Davis Dam and the Laughlin Bridge five or 10 minutes from Laughlin or Bullhead City. Operated by the Mohave County Parks Department, this facility offers campers the choice of RV spaces or room to sleep under the stars. Visitors can select from two beaches. The South Beach offers a boat launch and has been developed to serve the needs of the personal watercraft and boating crowd, while the North Beach probably is more suited to fishing or picnicking. Visitors also have access to shower facilities.

People who want to get a little farther away from civilization can drive a little farther in the opposite direction. Lincoln County is home to six state parks, three of which offer camping and fishing. Those parks are Spring Valley, Echo Canyon and Beaver Dam. All are about 3½ hours from the Las Vegas Valley.

With Eagle Valley Reservoir as its centerpiece, Spring Valley State Park is one of Southern Nevada’s most popular state parks, especially for trout anglers. Each spring and fall the Nevada Department of Wildlife stocks the reservoir with feisty rainbow trout, but the lake also is home to German brown and tiger trout. Visitors will find quality campsites with shade ramadas and access to warm showers as well as a boat ramp. For wildlife watchers, the nearby mountains offer plenty of elk and mule deer.

Located about 15 minutes from Spring Valley, Echo Canyon State Park also offers quality campsites and fishing opportunities. The park is built around Echo Canyon Reservoir, which holds rainbow trout, largemouth bass and crappie.

As the most remote of eastern Nevada’s state parks, Beaver Dam is a good choice for those who want to be alone. Its location on the Utah state line puts it in rugged canyon country. Campers with vehicles and trailers longer than 25 feet probably should find somewhere else to go. Facilities include campgrounds, a day-use area and hiking trails. Anglers can fish in the nearby stream and pools made from beaver dams.

Freelance writer Doug Nielsen is a conservation educator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. His “In the Outdoors” column, published Thursday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, is not affiliated with or endorsed by the NDOW. Any opinions he states in his column are his own. He can be reached at intheoutdoorslv@gmail.com.

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