If you have a day off and want to visit the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead, here are a few things to do in Mead. Boulder Beach is another great option for a family day out. It has picnic facilities and life jackets for guests. While you’re in the area, you can also take in park ranger events like talks on the local bat population and how Lake Mead was created.
Lake Mead is home to the Hoover Dam
Lake Mead, located in the Mojave, Great Basin, and Sonoran deserts, has an unusually diverse wildlife. It is home to razorback sucker fish, 41 species of reptiles, and 12 species of amphibians. There are also desert bighorn sheep and bald eagles.
The Hoover Dam produces nearly two million megawatts of electricity, enough to power nearly 8 million homes. Despite its incredible size, the dam is not immune to the pressure caused by the Colorado River. In 1983, the Colorado River flooded the dam spillways, and Lake Mead dropped 170 feet. If this trend continues, the lake could dip to a dead-pool level, preventing water from flowing downstream. This would be devastating for millions of people.
The water levels of Lake Mead will soon reach their lowest level since the Hoover Dam was built. The water levels of the lake have been falling faster than expected, owing to parched conditions in the Rocky Mountains. The hotter climate has made the watershed drier, and eroded the river’s flow. The changes are visible on the shores of Lake Mead. In the last 12 months, Lake Mead’s water level has dropped 20 feet.
Today, water levels are steadily dropping in Lake Mead, and the water level is constantly decreasing. As a result, sedimentary rocks that were hidden for nearly a century have been exposed. Some of these rocks contain volcanic ash from 12 million years ago. The low water levels have also uncovered ancient human remains, sunken ships, and abandoned villages.
The federal government has been stepping up its efforts to conserve water in the Colorado River basin. Last summer, the Bureau of Reclamation announced a water shortage in Lake Mead. It has asked states to propose immediate cuts in water deliveries by 2023 to prevent the reservoir from falling further. If the water level continues to decline at this rate, Lake Mead may become a deadpool in a few years.
Tonopah Stargazing Park
The Clair Blackburn Memorial Stargazing Park is a place where you can observe the stars and constellations, far from the lights of the city. The park is equipped with picnic tables and cement pads, where you can set up your telescope. The park also hosts nighttime photography workshops.
The park is a national landmark and is a favorite spot for stargazing. There’s little light pollution here, so you’ll be able to see thousands of stars, constellations, and galaxies. If you have your own telescope, you’ll be able to set up a tripod and enjoy the view.
The park is located about an hour’s drive northeast of Las Vegas. It’s most popular in the spring and fall. Summertime temperatures can exceed 100 degrees. If you’re a novice stargazer, visit in the cooler months, when the temperatures are cooler.
The park is located on the eastern side of the state and is a Gold Tier Dark Sky Park. There are about 90,000 visitors annually. The park’s campgrounds are first come, first serve, and are free of cell service. You’ll need to pack light-proof camping gear if you plan to spend the night under the stars.
The National Park Service recommends that you visit the park in the fall or early spring. While temperatures can be high in summer, winters can be harsh and can reach a low of zero on the high plateaus. During these months, the park is ideal for stargazing.
The town of Tonopah prides itself on its mining history, which lasted until the 1920s. The town also hosts the Central Nevada Museum, which showcases local history. The town is home to many Victorian buildings.
Valley of Fire State Park
The Valley of Fire State Park is an excellent spot for hikers. You’ll be amazed by the views, which include red sandstone formations that look like Mars. You’ll also see ancient petroglyphs left by Native Americans. The park offers both hiking and driving tours that will leave you with some amazing photos.
This state park is 55 miles from Las Vegas. The drive to the park will take about 45 to 60 minutes. The park is accessible by car, but you’ll want to make sure you leave early to avoid the crowds. You can access the park from the East Entrance, which is off Northshore Road, near the Hoover Dam. Alternatively, you can join a tour, which will usually take a whole day and will provide round-trip transportation from Vegas. A guide will be escorting you to various sites throughout the park.
The best time to visit the Valley of Fire is from October to April. During cold snaps, temperatures can dip very low. Otherwise, daytime temperatures average between 15 and 23 degrees Celsius. March and April have a higher average temperature, making them ideal hiking weather. While rain does fall in the valley during these seasons, it’s short and light and won’t prevent you from enjoying your hike.
The visitor center features comprehensive interpretive displays about the local geology, ecology, and prehistory. While exploring the park, be sure to take the time to check out the Elephant Rock, which resembles an elephant. From the Scenic Loop, you can also see Arch Rock, which is a unique pastel pink rock formation.
Located in the Valley of Fire National Park, Elephant Rock is a short drive from the park entrance. Although it can be dangerous during flash floods and monsoon season, it is a great place to start your exploration of the Valley. It is a few miles inside the park on the main Valley of Fire Highway, so you can easily access it without getting lost or driving too far.
The Elephant Rock Formation is visible from the road and is a 0.3-mile hike from the park’s entrance. The sandstone arch gives it an elephant-like shape. The hike is easy, so it’s perfect for beginners. However, it’s best to visit Elephant Rock later in the day.
If you’re travelling with children, you may want to take them to Elephant Rock. This arch rock formation is only three feet tall, making it ideal for little children to explore. The easy hike from the parking lot to the trailhead takes about half an hour. The park also has two campgrounds and some interesting rock formations.
You’ll also want to explore the Valley of Fire. It is the oldest state park in Nevada and offers ancient petroglyphs. You can see petroglyphs and cultural icons at the Atlatl Rock. The name Atlatl Rock comes from the ancient stick used to draw the carvings, which was used to hunt animals.