Valley of Fire State Park
What a pleasant surprise it was to find such a lovely park such a short distance from Boulder City and greater Las Vegas. The park is located about 40-45 miles from Boulder City and even closer from Lake Mead. Within the some 42,000 acres that comprise the park you will find some stunning red rock formations, natural arches, petroglyphs, and petrified wood.
The park gets its name from the bright red sandstone formations which were formed from drifiting sand dunes dating back about 150 million years ago. The bright red color, which you see throughout the park, comes from iron oxide. According to the park visitor center there human habitation in the area dates to about 300 B.C. to 1150 A.D.
There is one main paved road that winds a twenty mile route through the park. There are several little diversions from the road to see other sites. The most impressive sites for us were the trails that contained the impressive petroglyphs. It was indeed interesting to see that the majority of the examples of rock art in the park had not been disturbed by vandals.
The visitor center is above average. It was recently remodeled in 2011. The center provides exhibits on the geology, ecology, prehistory, and history of the park and the nearby region.
Camping is allowed in the park at Atlatl Rock and Arch Rock on a first come basis. The cost of camping is currently $20 a night.
More than a dam.
Boulder city is more like a small town but it is not too far from Vegas and many people travel through here. Most just want to see the Hoover dam and move on. There is a lot more to Boulder city than the Hoover dam.
If you have the time, stop for a souvenir or for gas. You'll find out how friendly the people are here and you really feel like you just been dropped into a cowboy movie when you look around. You see western style shops, houses and vendors selling leathers, skins and all kinds of local goods. You can accomodate your self in a motel for a much lower price than in Vegas. Check out the web site and see for your self all the activities and things you can see in Boulder city.
- Family Travel
Hoover Dam Spillways
There is a little part of Hoover dam that many people do not know anything about. That is the spillways. The spillways are located on both the Arizona and Nevada sides.
The spillways were made to take care of any overflow that may occur with Lake Mead. The spillway is made of concrete lined open channels about 650 feet long, 150 feet wide, and 170 feet deep on each canyon wall. More than 600,000 cubic yards of rock were excavated for spillways. The spillway walls are lined with 18 inches of concrete and the floors with 24 inches; 127,000 cubic yards of concrete were placed for the spillways.
The overflow water enters into the outer diversion tunnels through inclined shafts 50 feet in diameter and 600 feet long. The discharge is controlled by four automatically or manually operated 100- by 16-foot, 500,000-pound drum gates on each spillway crest. Maximum water velocity in the spillway tunnels is about 175 feet per second, or 120 miles per hour. About 500,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) can flow from the spillways. Each spillway can discharge 200,000 cfs. If the spillways were operated at full capacity, the energy of the falling water would be about 25,000,000 horsepower. The flow over each spillway would be about the same as the flow over Niagara Falls, and the drop from the top of the raised spillway gates to the river level would be approximately three times as great.
- Family Travel
- Historical Travel
Lake Mead is a beautiful area that you will pass if you are heading from Las Vegas towards the Hoover Dam. It is 110 miles long and has over 500 miles of coastline.
There are camp sites around this area. Also you have go on cruises, hire boats, fish, swim and water-ski.
- Family Travel
This isnt really an off the beaten path tip but as we walked along the pavement on the dam, I had my photograph taken in front of the Intake Tower with the Nevada time on it. Why on earth did it say Nevada time I asked myself????
Further along there are two more Intake Towers with another clock. I then saw it said Arizona time! Doh....... it dawned on me then I had just crossed over into another state!
- Family Travel
Lake Mead Rec Area picnic tables
Boulder City is practically on top of Lake Mead, which has several beaches with picnic tables, public restrooms, ranger station, etc. We enjoyed the discovery that Boulder beach was small rounded rocks, rather than the silky white sand we're used 2 in Gulf Shores/Pensacola. Afterwards we drove the scenic byway to loop into Las Vegas.
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