The gentleman in my life has LOTS of energy. He walks and line-dances almost every day and never takes a nap….never! All that exercise appears good for him and his still athletic body. My body, sadly, remains a bit puffy-mature, so I decided to join my friend on one of his walks.
The location: a place I had never visited before even though it is the largest park in Clark County (2900 acres): Wetlands Park, with an entrance just east of Boulder off Tropicana. Wetlands Park itself is located in an area called the Las Vegas Wash. There are actually several parking lots adjacent to the Wetlands Park. The Nature Preserve has two parking lots, the main lot (adjacent to the visitor center) opens at dawn, but the lot at mile 0 of the Wetland Loop rarely closes and many early walkers park there to catch the first rays sunrise. A mile or so further south on Broadbent Blvd is the Duck Creek Trailhead. The third parking area is at the Pacbco Trailhead on Weston Ridge Street and the fourth parking lot is Terrazza Park near Lake Las Vegas.
The day of the walk I drove to meet the gentleman and drove right past the park entry. I kept driving and finally hit Sunset. I was so disgusted, I decided to turn around and go home, but on the way back I actually saw a “Wetlands Park” sign and turned in.
I drink coffee every morning, and so much time had passed while I drove around looking for the Wetlands that I now had to use a restroom. Hooray! Right where we had both parked at the Wetlands Nature Preserve parking area were two restrooms. (Occasional restrooms are also available within the park as are, more hooray, benches.)
And so, we took off on our walk. I had a big coat because of the weather, but by golly that crisp air was great — and I kept up, though the gentleman occasionally almost jogs which, in respect for me, he didn’t do that day.
Wide walkways led us throughout the area. Tall grasses and occasional streams were on either side of the walkways which twisted in and around the park. “How lovely…how relaxing….no wonder you come here so often,” I said. Some days the gentleman walks two miles; sometimes four but for me I believe we made the mile and a quarter walk. I stopped and took pictures and passed only a few other people. “In the summertime,” he says, “the park is crowded with visitors of all ages.”
I did see a few birds and later found out that Wetlands Park is particularly fascinating for “birders”. I also found out that Wetlands Park is a man-made park that greeted its first visitor in 1999. The streams and waterfalls one sees are man-made as well. I got so curious about the park that when I got home, I googled Wetlands Park and the Las Vegas Wash and learned the fascinating history. I urge readers to view the video at the end of this column.
The gentleman has seen ducks, turtles, snakes and even a couple of coyotes on his walks, but he says the animals seem more afraid of him than the other way around. The wide walkways are great for walking though one can take dirt paths off the walkways as well. The Wetlands Park brochure says if you want to have a picnic on your journey, bring your own food, and on warm days bringing water is a must.
For folks who like organized activities, guided walks and tours are available as well as arts & crafts for kids, art programs for teens & adults and family programs.
Below is a video that explains the role of the Las Vegas Wash. Watch the video, then join the walkers! I am returning for more walks myself.