I love Thanksgiving. It always gives me good reason to pause, contemplate and express gratitude for the many wonderful blessings that fill my life. Last week, I made a personal Top 10 list of some of my favorite things to be thankful for. And this week I’d like to add one of my favorite things about Boulder City — specifically, its many dazzling vistas, view points and overlooks.
One thing I love about the western United States is the fact that, in most places, I can still see the horizon off in the distance. The East Coast doesn’t have horizons. Or at least we can’t typically see them. The lush trees and vegetation (beautiful as they are) always seem to get in the way.
Las Vegas used to have horizons, too. Until, during the construction boom, they “paved paradise and put up a parking lot” as the old Joni Mitchell song mourns. Yes, you can still see the vistas and surrounding mountains from elevated spots like freeways, but the recent addition of sound walls along Interstate 15 and U.S. Highway 95 now blocks many of those once-beautiful views as well.
Fortunately, in Boulder City we can still see the beautiful horizons that encircle us. And we are still ever so blessed with many stunning vistas to savor. Please indulge me while I share just a few of my personal favorites.
The summit of Radar Mountain has to be near the top of my list. Especially at sunrise. You can drive there through Bootleg Canyon. But I prefer to hike or jog in the dark and arrive just before daylight. In my opinion, the best route is the River Mountains trail that starts near St. Jude’s Ranch for Children and winds its way up between Red Mountain (denominated Radar Mountain by locals) and Black Mountain.
Regardless of what you call it or what time of day you arrive, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of Las Vegas, Boulder City and Lake Mead, all from a single vantage point. I’ve made the trek many times now. And every time I get a new perspective.
Sometimes I get unimpeded views on a clear day. Other times I see Boulder City enveloped in fog. And still other times the sky is filled with rainbows that appear to arch from here to eternity. I’ve never been disappointed. Trust me, it’s well worth the effort.
Closer to home is Pratte Field in Veterans’ Memorial Park. I’ve enjoyed watching my kids play soccer, flag football and T-ball there over the years. Please don’t tell them, but just between you and me, I actually spend most of my time checking out the 270-degree mountain views and spectacular sunsets. Don’t let a lack of kids, grandkids or sporting events keep you away, though. Any day of the year, just plant your lawn chair in the middle of that big grassy field and prepare to be amazed.
One of my new favorite view points is the hill above Railroad Pass casino overlooking the ongoing construction of Interstate 11. Just walk from the hotel-casino parking lot to the paved trail above and check out the men and machinery in action.
Last but not least are my many favorite lake overlooks. Just about anywhere on the River Mountain Loop Trail will do as I’m pedaling my bike down toward Lake Mead. But I’m particularly fond of the views from a park bench that some anonymous donor has graciously and rather judiciously placed just below mile marker 27.5.
Just around the bend above Government Park (Wilbur Square Park) is another popular overlook for both locals and tourists. But my favorite lake view is probably from Hemenway Valley Park. Because I also get a closeup view of grazing bighorn sheep just a few feet away. And that alone is a sight that everyone should journey to see at least once in a lifetime.
Of course, I don’t have a corner on the favorites market. And beauty is always in the eye of the beholder. So, I hope you’ll share your favorites, too.
In fact, I’d like to invite each of you to visit your favorite Boulder City vistas, view points and overlooks. Then share your photos and descriptions so the rest of us can enjoy them as well. Please submit them by email (firstname.lastname@example.org), on the city’s website (bcnv.org), or in person at the city clerk’s office (401 California Ave.).
I’ll find a way to share them on Facebook or by means of other social media, and I’ll have some helpers select some of the best photos to be displayed conspicuously in City Hall where we can all relish them together.
Thanks everyone! Of all the sights for sore eyes in this glorious city of ours, you’re my favorite ones of all.
Rod Woodbury is mayor of Boulder City. He has been serving on the City Council since 2011 and is the president and managing shareholder of his law firm, Woodbury Law.