I’m going to start this post with a personal note–the past few weeks have been hard.
What is it about winter that makes me want to DRINK?
Is it how good it used to feel to cozy up with a beer or whiskey and hang on the couch vegging out to episode after episode of Ugly Betty or Parks and Recreation? 4 hours later realizing it was dark again outside and figuring, heck, I’ll just have a few more drinks (and maybe like…a candy bar for dinner with a side of jelly beans?)
Then I remember that those winter days were SAD.
They weren’t cozy.
They were days that I hid from my friends, from my partner, from myself.
I would wake up the next day feeling even sadder than the day before and the whole cycle would start again. Ugh.
I have to remind myself that those drinking-couch-netflix-binge days were NOT cozy and sweet–they were lonely and empty and sad and left me with hangovers and headaches.
So…what to do now with my short winter days?
That has been my mantra of late–there is so little daylight so I’m working to take advantage of what small amount of fresh air I can get to outside of work hours!
The Clark County Wetlands Park has been an incredible place to spend those precious winter daylight hours.
And it’s FREE!
Located on the Southeast side of Vegas (off of Tropicana, East of Boulder Highway) it’s an incredible place to walk and observe many different animal species.
I’ve seen snakes, rabbits, turtles and so many different types of water fowl here over the past two years.
There’s also a Visitor Center open daily from 9am to 4pm, and the staff has always been quick and kind to answer questions I’ve had about trails and park rules and regulations.
Parking is also ample and easy–and there are a few different ways to access the trail areas, either directly from the Visitor Center area or from the parking area.
One other nice thing to note is there are restrooms available even after the Visitor Center closes across the parking lot.
There are a number of trails you can choose from and I’ll link to the PDF here, and you can also bring your bike if you are looking to do a longer trail.
Fun fact from the Wetlands website: Wells Trailhead was named for actress Dawn Wells, best known for her portrayal of MaryAnn on Gilligan’s Island. Ms. Wells and her family have many ties to Southern Nevada.
Leashed dogs as well as horses are also allowed on certain areas of the trails, and the PDF link above gives details about where each are permitted (as well as biking rules).
This park actually gets a decent amount of foot traffic, but one thing I love is that it still feels very quiet, calm, and serene.
When I’m feeling overwhelmed I like to head out east to walk the paths here.
There are also picnic tables throughout the Wetlands Park, which is a nice way to share a meal with a friend without the risk of being tempted by a bar…!
And, the views of the Vegas Skyline as well as the mountains are incredible.
On my last visit however we had a rare cloudy day, so sadly you can’t see as much of the incredible views as I’d like to share.
You can check out more pictures here.
The park closes at dusk so make sure to be ready to go when the sun starts setting.
A tip for out-of-towners:
This is probably a little too far to do a cab/uber/lyft to, but if you have a rental car it’s about a 20-25 minute drive from The Strip.
There’s an Albertsons grocery store shopping center nearby to pick up snacks at as well.