There’s not a lot of this in Vegas – waves crashing over pebble shores, breezy winds, gentle sunshine, you get it – so when we found it at the end of a two lane street in the middle of the desert (and on my birthday, no less) it felt about as close to paradise as I could ask for. Welcome to Nelson’s Landing.
We came here for my birthday to do the only things it’s known for: cliff jumping and getting weird sunburns.
Of course, Nelson’s Landing isn’t actually in the middle of nowhere – in fact, this part of the Colorado river is so close to Las Vegas you could probably take an Uber there (but don’t quote me on that), and it’s as simple as following the US-93 south before the NV-165 exit. This means you could be paddling away from the summer heat just an hour after you get off work and that makes Nelson’s Landing a ton more attractive. I mean, if the bare desert cliffs don’t do it for you already.
Sam and I took the Bonneville out there and jumped off a couple of short cliffs before daring the 20-foot tall one. There are no signs for the heights or anything, we just estimated it based off the butterflies in our stomachs.
To get there, we parked at a large dirt lot at the end of the road and walked until we hit the water. From here you can follow a trail to the right that leads you along the edges of the cliffs until you find a height you’re comfortable with. Before you jump, remember to test your spot to avoid getting KO’d by shallow or otherwise dangerous water.
Nelson’s Landing isn’t the picturesque kind of experience you imagine when you think of cliff jumping, but that doesn’t take away from the thrill and for as close to the city as it is, it’s the perfect summer getaway. Just don’t forget to pack water and sunscreen, a message brought to you by your mother and advice you’ll probably forget about until you feel the consequences.