We had a good ride leaving Utah on the I15 for a ways, and then we split off near Moapa Valley onto routes 169 and 167 as we took the Northshore road around Lake Mead which is fed by the Colorado river. My favorite part was driving through the Valley of Fire State Park . It was colorful, enchanting, yet visually so dry and almost barren, maybe that’s what they call bad lands in this area. But definitely worth seeing the rock formations if you’re headed west of south-west to las vegas. But it was gorgeous weaving along the park when the lake finally appears on the horizon and the vividness of the lake’s color just sparkles, a really gorgeous hue. We stayed on the outskirts of Las Vegas as we headed to the Hoover Dam.

Valley of Fire

It was really close by, and really interesting, not just from an engineering viewpoint. We had a nice walk along the rim, and then across the bridge that overlooks it. I’ve never personally seen such a large dam or reservoir, and all the supporting structures and cable towers seemed to magnify its powers. If we had time I’d have done a tour of the Hoover Dam facility, but as always on this trip time and lack of funds governed our choices. What we did do is go to the walkway way up on the bridge over the dam. I think it’s an Interstate, but because the bridge is so high and so massive there is a walkway on one side, so you can literally see the whole reservoir beneath you.

Hoover dam late in the afternoon

Hoover dam

As the sun set we made our way to our couchsurfing hosts’ house which was in a nice suburb 20 minutes from downtown. Surprisingly she was around 50, but was a very kind and energetic woman and an active host. From her story it seems she found couchsurfing after looking for a way to utilize her house to meet travelers from all over the after her son moved out, and preferred CS over airbnb. She mentioned that she saw something similar in a movie once and started researching how to get involved right away. She cooked a nice supper for us as we chatted about travelling and our personal histories.

Our host, Laura has lived and worked in Las Vegas all her life. She's traveled around a lot, only recently to Asia :) She hosts a lot of people too.
Our host, Laura has lived and worked in Las Vegas all her life. She’s traveled around a lot, only recently to Asia 🙂 She hosts a lot of people too.

The next day we took it easy during the morning. We knew we’d check out downtown later, but first packed lunch and headed out to Red Rock canyon national park since it was so close. It wasn’t huge, but it was a nice drive around a rising plateau, had awesome views, and of course almost unnatural rustic red rocks. Our host recommended willow springs picnic area where we ate, read our books for a bit, and saw a fox which was awesome! It also amazed me that people were feeding it chocolate cookies. Nice place overall, I’ll attach the park link with maps and hours in case you visit. Apparently the Ice Box trail is also worth it.

Red rock canyon

Red Rock Canyon