Lake Las Vegas: a mostly deserted paradise

Lake Las Vegas serves as a hot spot for UNLV graduation photos and sorority and fraternity formals. The Mediterranean style gives a distinct resort town feeling and the aura of vacation. Paddle boats and kayaks line the pier that reaches out into the man-made lake. Store fronts face curved cobblestoned sidewalks to provide guests with shopping and restaurants. Unfortunately, a majority of those store fronts are vacant and foot traffic along the sidewalk is scarce.

Located about 35 minutes from the Vegas Strip, Lake Las Vegas was the work of actor J. Carlton Adair in 1967. After a string of bankruptcies and properties opening and closing, the area that covers over 3,000 acres was eventually cleared of all debt and finished in July 2010. The property now has a golf course and three resorts, The Hilton Lake Las Vegas, Aston MonteLago Village Resort, and the Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort. There are also retail shops including River Mountains Bike Shop and the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. The area is also sprawling with gated residential neighborhoods and apartments.

Having only been to the area at night for a sorority formal, I was interested in revisiting the beautiful area that made me question whether I was really in Vegas anymore or if I had been swooped up and dropped somewhere in Italy. I went to Lake Las Vegas on a Saturday afternoon armed with my Nikon Coolpix l810 ready to capture the gorgeous scenery. The scenery was indeed gorgeous, but the area felt largely abandoned. Maybe I caught the area on an abnormally slow day, but a majority of the store fronts had leasing signs in the windows and even some that had things inside were closed. The busiest places were the few restaurants serving guests food and drinks on shaded misted patios. Few families lined the sidewalks and the shore feeding the ducks drifting by. Only a single paddle boat floated out into the waters.

It’s a shame that this area seems to be struggling with poor business. Perhaps, the tourists staying in the resorts are busy enjoying a leisurely vacation within the hotels and on the golf course. Perhaps, the over 35-minute drive for some Vegas locals is just too much. Perhaps, water activities are more plentiful and convenient at Lake Mead.

But, there is still hope that this area won’t go under again. The new Seasons Market just had its grand opening in the area. Offering guests organic and specialty items, the hope is it will increase foot traffic around the area where residents and guests of the resorts won’t need to make a trip down Lake Mead Pkwy.

Lake Las Vegas made for a beautiful little day trip. Though it isn’t exactly a bustling resort town yet, it certainly has the potential to be. If you ever need a break from the rushed bustling daily Vegas life, Lake Las Vegas provides a lovely little escape.

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  1. Hi Ashtyn,
    The few times that I’ve been to Lake Las Vegas, it was bustling with people, live music, and gondolas galore. Although, it has been a few years since I’ve made the drive up there.
    Your article makes me want to go back and contribute to the revival of this desert oasis, if it is indeed failing.
    Also, your photos are beautiful.
    Thanks for sharing,

  2. Your photos are beautiful! I’ve only been to Lake Las Vegas a couple times but I think it is a great place. Your pictures and post do a great job of explaining how the place is pretty desolate despite it’s grand appearance. I have to admit I’ve forgotten this place exists, but after reading your post I would love to go back!

  3. Your pictures are stunning! I really do think that this place does not get enough credit or the foot traffic is deserves. Your photos exhibit just how much of a getaway destination Lake Las Vegas really is!

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