Saturday

Lower Las Vegas Wash

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Destination: (Lower) Las Vegas Wash
Distance from Point of Origin: 48 miles.
Estimated (One Way) Travel Time: One hour.
Directions: Las Vegas Wash is located inside the Lake Mead Recreation Ares, east of Las Vegas on the western shore of Lake Mead. From the Stratosphere Casino head northeast on Las Vegas Blvd about 3 miles and turn right to merge onto US-93/95. Go 12.5 miles and Merge onto NV-564 E/W Lake Mea Pkwy via Exit 61B. Heading east on NV-564 (Lake Mead Blvd) go over the mountains (passing between Frenchman Mountain to the south and Sunrise Mountain to the north) to the park entrance station. Pay the entrance fee ($5 per car or an annual pass), and proceed to the T-intersection with Northshore Road (NV Rt 167) and Lakeshore Road (NV Rt 166). Bear left and drive north on Northshore Road (NV 167) for just a few miles until you are opposite Lake Las Vegas, turn right and park.


General Description: A natural wetlands area, the Las Vegas Wash is a 12-mile plus tributary that channels storm water, urban runoff, shallow groundwater and highly-treated wastewater, an average of more than 150 million gallons a day, through the wetlands and into the Las Vegas Bay at Lake Mead.  Approximately 2 percent of Lake Mead's water comes from the Wash. It is fed by several natural and man-made sources including Duck Creek, Las Vegas Creek, Flamingo Wash, Pittman Wash, Monson Channel, Sloan Channel, Meadows Detention Basin, and the Tule Springs Wash which is often referred to as the Upper Las Vegas Wash (see map below). Near its terminus at Las Vegas Bay, the wash passes under the man made Lake Las Vegas through two 7 foot pipes.
Special Attraction or Points of Interest The Las Vegas Wash is an important ecological resource for Southern Nevada providing habitat to about 300 fish and wildlife species and more than 200 species of upland, riparian and wetland plants. Though sightings at this location may be scarce depending upon when you visit, it is a place where one can seek refuge from the desert and watch waterfowl, herons, grebes, shorebirds, pelicans, and other birds associated with water. You will find much more to see and do at the Wetlands Park located on Wetlands Park Lane at the end of Tropicana on the eastern outskirts of Las Vegas, which by itself, is another daytrip.
Primary Activity: Hiking/Birding
Secondary Activities: Photographing and Rock-hounding.


Elevation: Approximately 1,200 feet.
Best Time To Visit: After a major rainfall.
Difficulty: Moderate. Easy hike down to Lake Mead’s shoreline, however, it can be much more strenuous on the way back up to the parking area depending upon which route you take back.
Facilities: None.
Estimated Round-trip Time: Three and 1/2 hours.
For More Info on the Wash go to: http://riparianhabitatrestoration.ca/LAME/lvw.htm

Click the Map to Enlarge for More Detail


12/08/2011 Trip Notes: There really isn't much to do here except to hike along the wash as it makes it way into Lake Mead. If one has enough time to sit and be patient, there are opportunities to do some birding and maybe capture a few pictures. Here are some of the pictures I shot on today's hike.

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The three pictures above are looking upstream towards Lake Las Vegas. Click on the small picture on the upper right to enlarge and will be able to find a bird and some cormorants. The two pictures below are looking downstream from the waterfall above as the wash winds its way toward Lake Mead.
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01/20/2011 Trip Notes: I first visited the (lower) Las Vegas Wash on 01/20/2011 on the return of a Lake Mead Northshore Road daytrip with the rock hounds from the Heritage Park Senior Facility.

Las Vegas Wash Map
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I give thanks to Jason R Eckberg, Environmental Biologist with the Southern Nevada Water Authority for providing me with the name of this plant. It is a Atriplex Hymenelytra, a species of saltbush commonly called the Desert Holly. This gray-white sub-shrub grows from Utah to southern California. This is a desert-dwelling shrub reaching heights of between 1.5-3 feet. It is generally a rounded bush covered in distinctive reflective silver-gray, twisted, oblong, many-pointed leaves. The fruits are enclosed in disc-shaped bracteoles after flowering. The toothed leaves and the small reddish fruits borne on the plant give it a passing resemblance to the unrelated European holly.
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(OPTION 1) Each show is designed to run automatically in place, without leaving the current browser window. If the show is not already running, just click the large "Play" button in the middle of the picture and let it run.

(OPTION 2) Running the cursor over the picture being shown will PAUSE the show and bring up a navigation bar at the bottom of the slideshow window with Pause, Forward and Back buttons, allowing you to start, stop or manually forward or back up pictures one at a time.

Slideshow Description: This is a 21 picture show showing shots of the wash as it flows towards Lake Mead. I have also included several shots of plants and vegetation found along the way.