Escape From Vegas: Take A Break From The Crowds To Find Peace Below The Hoover Dam

If the lights and the crowds and the busy hum of Vegas have become a bit overwhelming, you can escape to serenity very easily. 40 minutes away, you'll find the Hoover Dam, an engineering marvel in itself. Below the dam on the Colorado River, as it meanders through the Black Canyon, you can take a float trip on a motorized raft, canoe or kayak. Here are some reasons why this trip will rejuvenate your spirit:

The Colorado is peaceful and calm.

Some areas of the Colorado River can be treacherous, but not on this stretch. The water flows calmly with no rapids or dangerous whitewater sections. You can relax knowing you're not going to get tossed out of the watercraft by strong currents or rapid formations in the river.

There is no development along most of the route, so you hear only the serenity of the river, the call of birds and the laughter of your fellow travelers. There is a peace that settles in on you as you see the volcanic rock, the waterfalls and springs, and the contrasting colors of the river and the canyon.

You gain an appreciation for those who came before.

Before the Hoover Dam was built, this stretch of the Colorado was full of torrential rapids that could spell doom to steamboats bringing supplies to Las Vegas. You can still see the gauging station where workers measured the silt in the river, the flow rate and the depth of the water in the 1920s and 1930s.

To get to the station, an extensive catwalk was erected high on the canyon walls, ending in a small basket that runs on a cable across to the gauging station. You can see these catwalks today and appreciate the bravery of the people who risked their lives to keep steamships from trouble.

You can also see the ringbolts once pounded into the rock walls of the canyon, through which chains were run to help pull the steamboats by hand or by animal through the dangerous and tricky waterway.

You can see the native animals and plants of the area.

You have to look closely for bighorn sheep, who blend into the rocks, unless you take a trip in the fall. Then you might hear the males vying for love in a contest where they butt heads at up to 20 miles per hour. The cracking sound can be heard over a mile away.

Birds to watch for are golden eagles, blue heron and even that pesky roadrunner. Some of the fish seen in the river are rainbow trout, striped bass, and shad. Flora includes the barrel cactus, a unique species to the area.

Most tour companies are happy to pick you up at your hotel in Las Vegas and bring you back when the tour is over. Taking a day off from casino madness for some R&R is now easier than ever. Contact a company like Sweetours to get started.