Vegas outdoors

The best off-the-Strip, fresh-air adventures, from desert hikes to river paddles

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Spring Mountain Ranch State Park. This peaceful 520-acre homestead at the base of Wilson Cliffs has the second-oldest ― and one of the tiniest ― buildings in all of Las Vegas. Tours daily; $5 per vehicle; 6375 State 159, Blue Diamond, NV; 702/875-4141.


One of Nevada's oldest state parks, dedicated in 1935, is a sci-fi--like land of red sandstone and gray limestone formations. Today the stark landscape sees more lizards than it does visitors. Winter, when temperatures are mild, is the best time to go. Delineated hiking trails here are relatively short, but you're free to explore on your own. From Las Vegas, take I-15 55 miles to the park. Or, for a more scenic route, take Lake Mead Blvd. into Lake Mead National Recreation Area ($5 per vehicle); bear left at Northshore Blvd. and continue to Valley of Fire State Park ($6 per vehicle); allow 1 1/2 hours; or 702/397-2088.


White Domes Trail. A 1.2-mile jaunt through canyons of contrasting color. Stop at the visitor center for more information.




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