Las Vegas and Beyond: Nature to Neon Lights in Nevada
By Fatima Von
Imagine a fiery desert glistening in the evening light or glowing neon signs that shine brightly in the midnight sky – a dark night sky lit up by stars, a bright night that never darkens. Imagine that you are alone in the silence of nature, then surrounded by thousands of people. Welcome to the region surrounding Las Vegas in southern Nevada, characterized by exciting contrasts between neon and nature.
Natural Lightshow in Valley of Fire State Park
For an extraordinary natural light show, come to the Valley of Fire State Park. The best time to admire nature’s play is at sunrise and sunset, when the colours of the rocks alternate between red, orange, yellow, white, pink and everything in between. It appears as if the valley is "burning." The Valley of Fire extends over 54 square miles and became a state park in 1968. Discover the "Elephant Rock" or the "Mouse's Tank”, or stop by the "Seven Sisters," my favourite of the rock formations. My short hike through the Petroglyph Canyon Trail leaves me in awe. On the trail, you’ll see impressive ancient drawings and carvings by the ancient Anasazi Indians. Although these carvings are over 3,000 years old, it looks as if they had just been etched in the stone. Be sure to take enough water with you, as it can get very hot during the day.
Exciting Nightlife in Las Vegas
Now, forget everything I've written so far, because we are going into the Mojave Desert. You don’t need to bring any water, because there is plenty of it here. If you don’t believe me, go to the Bellagio first where you’ll be enchanted by the colourful fountain show, perfectly choreographed to classical music and the popular Broadway hits. See, this is how fast we made it to Lake Como. Let’s continue. Do you prefer New York or Paris? How about Venice or the great pyramids? Luckily, you can visit them all! After all, we are in Las Vegas and each casino is a marvel. For a spectacular light show (provided by technology, this time), visit the Fremont Street Experience at night for the Viva Vision light show, the largest light show in the world with 12.5 million LED lights. You walk under a lighted canopy featuring moving pictures and booming music through which you can even fly on the Slotzilla Zipline. Wow!
Marvel at the Hoover Dam
Additionally, you should visit the Hoover Dam on the border of Arizona, only an hour away from Las Vegas. This engineering marvel, completed in 1935, spans the Colorado River in the Black Canyon, and supplies both electricity and drinking water to Arizona, Nevada and California. The dam is massive – 726 feet high and 12,044 feet wide – and attracts about 7 million tourists a year. One can go on a guided tour, which includes taking a lift downstairs to visit the inside of the power plant, and concludes with the opportunity to admire the views of the Dam, Lake Mead and the electric lines from the observation deck. You can also take a walk over the Mike O'Callaghan - Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge to the state of Arizona for another stunning view.
You don’t have to choose between nature and nightlife in Nevada! You can find peace and quiet, the hustle and bustle of city life, hot days and cool nights. Just do it all!