Desert discovery

Hoover Dam is 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas via U.S. 93; portions of the recreation area are 15 miles from the city. Traffic may be delayed near the dam because of construction of the Hoover Dam Bypass, which will include a new bridge over the Colorado River scheduled to open in 2008.

Boulder City ( www.bouldercitychamber.com or 702/293-2034) is the closest town to the dam with food and dining options. For Las Vegas information, visit www.lasvegas24hours.comor call 800/332-5333.

Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Inquire about trail conditions before heading out. $5 per vehicle; ranger-led hikes are offered weekly Oct-Apr. For information, stop at the Alan Bible Visitor Center (8:30-4:30 daily; 3 miles west of Hoover Dam on U.S. 93; www.nps.gov/lame or 702/293-8990). A second visitor center is located at Katherine Landing (8-4 daily; 5 miles north of Laughlin beside Lake Mohave; 928/754-3272).

Hiking trails

Anniversary Mine/Lovell Wash Narrows. There's no formal trail to this spectacular slot canyon, but both a wash and a road lead to it. Check at visitor center for flash flood warnings. 5 miles round-trip; moderate. Park at North Callville Wash at milepost 16 on Northshore Rd. Walk on Approved Rd., on the right, for 100 yards or so, then go left toward mountains. Stay to the left at a series of intersections. In about 1.5 miles, you'll see a sign for Ore Car Mine; continue for 0.5 mile and descend into Lovell Wash. Turn right and continue to slot canyon.

Grapevine Canyon. It's an easy 10-minute walk to petroglyphs. The area is sacred to Native Americans (visitors are asked to treat the area accordingly). From Laughlin, take State 163 west 6 miles, then follow dirt Christmas Tree Pass for 2 miles to spur road on the left.

Railroad Tunnel Trail. This hiking and biking trail follows a railroad used during dam construction and offers lake views and passages through old tunnels. 5 miles round-trip; easy. Access from Alan Bible Visitor Center.

Redstone Picnic Area. Interpretive trail leads around outstanding formations. 0.5 mile round-trip; easy. On Northshore Rd. at milepost 27.

St. Thomas. Trail leads from overlook to townsite ruins. 2 miles round-trip; moderate. Take Northshore Rd. to Approved Rd. 109; turn right and drive 2 miles to parking.

White Rock Canyon. Hike to Colorado River, then follow river 0.25 mile south to canyon containing Arizona Hot Springs (accessed via a 20-foot ladder). 6 miles round-trip; moderate. Parking is 4.2 miles past Hoover Dam on U.S. 93 in Arizona.

Attractions

Black Canyon. Canoe and kayak trips explore about 11 river miles below dam. Permits and licensed outfitters are required. Only 30 craft allowed per day. For permits ($13 per person) and outfitters, contact the Launch Permit Office (702/293-8204).

Hoover Dam. The Discovery Tour includes a stop in the Nevada wing of the power plant. Tours every 15 minutes 9-4:30 daily; $10. www.usbr.gov/lc/hooverdam or 866/291-8687.

Lost City Museum. Includes pueblo replica and artifacts from a nearby Ancestral Puebloan site. 8:30-4:30 daily; $3. 721 S. Moapa Valley Blvd., Overton; www.nevadaculture.org or 702/397-2193.

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