If you want to experience nature during your Vegas trip without taking too much time out of your day, the 2,900-acre Clark County Wetlands features quiet areas, desert animals, ponds and more.
The 210-acre Nature Preserve trail is one of the city's best-kept secrets. A favorite for wildlife viewing, the park is open from dawn to dusk. Follow trails along streams and keep your eye out for ponds and plants including willow, cottonwood trees and towering cattails.
Make sure you bring your camera: There's a good chance you'll see jack rabbits and an array of birds. There are even viewing areas where you can watch birds and other wildlife without disturbing them. Birds include the Cinnamon Teal Duck, American Coot, Ruddy Duck, Great Blue Heron and Green Heron, to name a few. There are also shade shelters and seating areas scattered throughout the trail if you need to rest.
Pets aren't allowed in Nature Preserve but if you did bring Fido, the Duck Creek Trails permit pets as long as they're on a leash. Located on Broadbent Boulevard (about half a mile from the Nature Preserve), Duck Creek also includes picnic areas, along with a bicycle and horseback trail.
We highly recommend wearing comfortable walking shoes. Flip-flops are not recommended, especially when you're walking through the terrain. Also, make sure to bring sunscreen and plenty of water. The summer months can get scorching hot, so plan on going early in the morning or later in the evening.
The information center provides complimentary postcards, a map of the area, as well as pamphlets on the plants and animals that inhabit the park. Fun for all ages, you'll see plenty in just a couple of hours. Plus, you don't have to be a hiking expert to enjoy this type of beauty. And while the drive is only about 20 minutes from the Las Vegas Strip, you'll feel miles away from the hype.
-- Review by Jeannie Garcia