Here’s a fun, bilingual fact about nature: Las Vegas means “the meadows” in Spanish. Many years ago, when the aquifer beneath this land of South Paiute was bubbling in springs that fed grasses, flowers and mesquite trees, a Spanish explorer stumbled upon our valley and aptly called it a meadow, because it obviously was.
Today, weekend travelers see Las Vegas mostly as concrete, asphalt, chlorinated water, electricity, non-native trees, and rock. But anyone who has lived in this valley for more than a week knows it contains pockets of natural beauty, places that are nothing like the Vegas the world has come to know. Here, savvy explorers can find lush parks, grasslands, wetlands, forests, and even orchards. The real Las Vegas is there. You just need to know where to look.
Photographs by Wade Vandervort