Wednesday, December 1, 2004
Vista Las Vegas
America's City of Lights isn't known for its nature photography, but nearby areas make it worth considering for scenics and more
Yes, you can find outstanding photo opportunities close to the City of Lights. Although Death Valley and Bryce Canyon National Parks are nearby, these locations take a journey of hours to reach from Las Vegas. You'll find amazing landscapes a short distance away that can be reached by sunset after a day of meetings or at sunrise to start out a day right.
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
This Bureau of Land Management (BLM) area has long been an outlet for me when traveling to Las Vegas. It's only 17 miles from the Strip, where all the casinos lurk, and offers a variety of landscapes, from desert to mountain, and even features waterfalls. Wildflowers bloom in the spring, and it's habitat to a range of Mojave Desert wildlife. When the press of people at a big trade show becomes too much, I know I can quickly reach Red Rock Canyon.
While it used to be a short drive, time-wise, from the center of Las Vegas, exploding growth in the city has made traffic somewhat troublesome at times. For early-morning shoots, traffic isn't a problem, but you need to give yourself more time for evenings. The main area opens at 6 a.m. and closes at different times, depending on the season—winter's short days versus summer's long days (check the Website for exact times). State Route 159 cuts through a section of the area and you can drive it at any time.
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