ahhhhhh time to venture away from all that neon ... see whats beyond balleys, and past the rio..go to red rock, the valley of fire, mount charleston, these are all within an hours drive from las vegas....
Mount Charleston is a great place to get away from the business and the lights of Vegas (and they do grow on you!) It takes between 40 minutes and a hour to get there. It is the big mountain you can see from the strip. Once you get to the top, the hotel/resort sits about 9,000+ feet high. Be careful, it gets cold sometimes! We came from the Strip which was in the seventies and by the time we got up most of the mountain, it was snowing hard.
On a HOT Aug. day, a ride up to Mt. Charleston can be very refreshing. The higher you go, the cooler and greener it gets. At the end of the road is a nice lodge with restaurant and cabins. In the winter, this is a ski area. In the summer, there are lots of hiking trails. There is even a really nice camp ground up there. It took about 45 minutes to drive up there from Vegas.
Actually this isnt that far from Vegas but it could as well be a million miles away.
Having looked out of hotel window at the desert surrounding Vegas it was hard to believe just a short drive away we where in an Alpine setting.
Also amazing was that for all the millions of tourists in Vegas nobody seemed in the least bit interested in visiting this beatiful area.
Mt. Charleston and Lake Mead are great for getting away from the city. Mt. Charleston has camping grounds, cabins for rent, and a great hotel. Eat in a nice restaurant or roast marshmallows, its up to you. Lake Mead offers your choice of water sports. Jet Skis are available for rent as are boats. Also great for camping the view is nice and the waters warm in the summer, be careful though, the water is not the cleanest wouldn't advise getting to wet.
That's Mount Charleston with the snow on top. This was taken at about the same location that we saw the coyote. Another 20 minutes up this road and the temperatures drop 10-15 degrees. The day (in May) that we drove through you could feel and see the difference, cactus and other plants were still in bloom as you started up the mountain - the same plants were past their 'season' on the valley floor.
On the way to Mount Charleston, got this picture of a coyote from the side of the road - and only 15minutes outside Las Vegas city limits. Most people never leave the 'Strip', but 'Vegas has a lot more to offer than just gambling.
Even though its hard to believe -- you can rise from the desert floor and climb over 5000 feet to cool air on Mt Charleston
Try and spy some wild donkeys on your way up