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Not an hour east of Las Vegas, a spectacular stretch of low desert wild country hugs the north shore of Lake Mead. One trip here, a scrambly off-trail loop of 7 miles, offers a compelling sample that will bring you back for more: intimate canyons, broad ridge top views and dazzling sandstone formations. The route loops through 5-foot wide Anniversary Narrows and over the top of Peak 937 before descending through Bowl of Fire, a basin of brilliant sandstone, and Callville Bay Wash. Sleep at the notch north of the peak for long views stretching to the snow-topped Virgin Mountains.
Lake Mead National Recreation Area: (702) 293-8907, www.nps.gov/lame/