Surrounding the neon lights and bustling entertainment of Las Vegas lies a unique natural landscape offering serene and rewarding experiences to those living in Ascaya’s private community. Here are five destinations within an hour’s drive from Ascaya, perfect for a day trip exploring the Mojave Desert’s fascinating wilderness.
1. Sloan Canyon
Less than 15 minutes away, Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area is practically Ascaya’s neighbor, forming the mountains to the south of Las Vegas and Henderson. Explore its desert wilderness by way of hiking or horseback riding, and be sure to stay on the lookout for wildlife. An impressive variety of mammals, reptiles, and birds are to be found throughout the area, from jackrabbits and desert kangaroo rats to kit foxes and desert bighorn sheep to bobcats and mountain lions. One of the most unique and memorable destinations in the region is Petroglyph Canyon, featuring more than 300 rock art panels and nearly 1,700 designs created by native cultures from the Archaic to historic era.
2. Lake Mead
Lake Mead holds a number of titles — America’s first National Recreation Area, the largest reservoir in the United States, and the perfect year-round day trip destination for Ascaya residents. Just over a half hour away to the east, Lake Mead and its surrounding National Recreation Area offer 1.5 million acres of mountains, canyons, valleys, and lakes to enjoy and explore. With such beautiful and varied terrain, it’s an ideal spot for all kinds of active types. Bike, boat, fish, hike, and swim, or take your pick of fun spots found across the more than 750 miles of shoreline, such as Boulder Beach or Hemenway Harbor.
3. Red Rock Canyon
Drive 45 minutes northwest to Red Rock Canyon and then…keep going, as Nevada’s first National Conservation Area features a scenic, 13-mile, one-way drive to explore the canyon’s highs and lows. The region’s nearly 200,000 acres of Mojave Desert reveals a fascinating and dynamic landscape that invites hikers to explore the geology, wildlife, and 26 hikes and trails.
4. Willow Beach
Roughly an hour to the southeast, Willow Beach offers a very peaceful day. Explore the Colorado River or unwind on its shoreline at the campground or the marina, where you’re able to rent boats and paddlecrafts. Fishing is also available from the pier. You don’t have to start at Willow Beach, however. There’s also the option to venture out from the base of the Hoover Dam as part of a guided raft or kayak trip, stopping at coves, hot springs, and waterfalls along the way, ultimately arriving at Willow Beach.
5. Valley of Fire
About an hour to the northeast, Valley of Fire State Park invites Ascaya residents to explore 40,000 acres of geologic wonderland with petrified trees and petroglyphs from more than 2,000 years ago. Dramatic and interesting formations of gray and tan limestone decorate the desert landscape, so be sure to have your camera ready. Hike, picnic, and drop by the visitor center to learn more about the park’s ecology, geology, and history.