Along with plenty of fun bars and casinos, the area around Las Vegas, Nevada, has some of the most beautiful scenery in the United States. It’s perfect for taking a ride on your favorite motorcycle or sports car and enjoying the open road. Here are some of the best scenic drives near Las Vegas.
The Hoover Dam and the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge
The Hoover Dam is only about 40 minutes away from Las Vegas, and on the way there, you’ll see beautiful canyons, the Colorado River, rock formations, railroad tunnels, and more. There are plenty of places where you can stop for photos along the way, and the Hoover Dam is one of the most spectacular landmarks in the United States.
You can see its amazing architecture from the highway, or you can stop and take a guided tour. It was once the tallest dam in the world, and it’s 900 feet high. The walkway across the dam is the world’s tallest concrete arch, and you can see a variety of interesting sculptures if you take a walk across the top. The Hoover Dam Tour Center is open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge is only about 1,500 feet downstream from the Hoover Dam on U.S. Highway 93. This arched, 1,900-foot concrete and steel bridge opened in 2010, and it replaced the two-lane section of highway that crossed the Hoover Dam, eliminating one of the area’s largest traffic bottlenecks. The bridge honors former Nevada Governor Mike O’Callaghan and Pat Tillman, a hero in the Afghanistan war, and it was the first bridge of its kind in the United States. It’s also the widest concrete arch in the Western Hemisphere.
It has beautiful views of the Colorado River, and crossing this bridge on a motorcycle is a lot of fun. Just make sure you take proper safety precautions. On your way back to Las Vegas, you can visit the Hoover Dam Museum in Boulder City. It has a variety of exhibits that describe the Great Depression and the construction of the Hoover Dam. The city was founded to house workers as they built the dam.
The Lake Mead National Recreation Area is also in Boulder City, and it has several appealing drives with picturesque views of the lake. There are lots of places where you can pull over and go fishing, enjoy a picnic, or explore the area. You can also go scuba diving, biking, hiking, or boating.
Lakeshore Road is the oldest and busiest road in the park, and you can enter it from Interstate 93. The first place you’ll see is the Lake Mead Visitor Center on your right. You can find lots of information about the park along with helpful park rangers. After that, you’ll see a parking area and the trailhead for the Historic Railroad Trail. It eventually leads to the Hoover Dam through five tunnels built in the 1930s.
You can also take Northshore Road to the Redstone Picnic Area and Dune Trail. This road leads through a variety of impressive rock formations, and it stretches for almost 50 miles. Pearce Ferry Road crosses a Joshua tree forest. It’s also about 50 miles long, but it’s unpaved. Joshua trees look like cactuses, and they’re unique to the Southwestern United States.
Valley of Fire State Park
The Valley of Fire State Park is the largest and oldest state park in Nevada. It has a variety of beautiful sandstone rock formations that look like they’re on fire in the hot desert sun. The tallest ones are almost 500 feet high, and they formed 150 million years ago during the Jurassic Period. This park has several scenic roads.
The Valley of Fire State Park Scenic Byway is about 11 miles long, and it connects the eastern and western entrances of the park. Along the way, you can see Elephant Rock, a unique rock formation that looks like an elephant. Parking next to the rock isn’t allowed, but there’s a parking lot less than half a mile away. You can also see the Seven Sisters, a row of seven massive sandstone boulders along the scenic byway. There are several picnic areas, and it’s a great place for rock climbing.
White Domes Road is 5.7 miles long, and it goes past several impressive ridges or domes of red and white sandstone. The road is also called Mouse’s Tank Road, and it leaves the Valley of Fire State Park Scenic Byway near the visitors’ center in the middle of the park. It offers information about the area’s natural history, geology, and wildlife, and it’s the largest state park visitors’ center in Nevada.
The Scenic Loop Road also connects to the Valley of Fire State Park Scenic Byway. It’s about 2 miles long, and one mile is unpaved. Atlatl Rock is nearby. It gets its name from the prehistoric carvings or petroglyphs on its surface. You can see a variety of animal carvings and a carving of an atlatl, an ancient throwing stick or dart thrower. You can climb a staircase to the top of the rock to see spectacular views of the surrounding valley. Arch Rock is next to the road as well. It’s a striking natural arch formed by erosion.
The Mt. Charleston Scenic Byway
This road is about an hour north of Las Vegas on Interstate 95. It has excellent views of the Spring Mountains and Mt. Charleston, and as you move away from Las Vegas, the desert transforms into beautiful mountain scenery. You can see bristlecone pine, sage, juniper, fir, ponderosa pine, owls, deer, hawks, foxes, and many other plants and animals. The area has at least 25 species that aren’t found anywhere else in the world, including the Mt. Charleston Blue Butterfly. The road reaches an elevation of almost 8,500 feet, and you can expect beautiful views.
These are just some of the awesome scenic drives around Las Vegas. Did we miss any of your favorites? Contact us and let us know which roads you like best.