While Las Vegas is typically associated with the 24-7 party atmosphere of The Strip, there’s a whole world of natural wonders that you can hike around only about an hour or less away from the city.
Given the city’s location within the Mojave Desert, there are a number of geographically diverse hiking spots, including sprawling desert landscapes, flowing waterways, and forested mountain ranges.
We’ve compiled a list of some of the best hiking spots near Las Vegas for both novice and expert hikers alike:
Red Rock Canyon
Located about 20 miles southwest from the Las Vegas Strip, Red Rock Canyon has over 30 designated hiking trails featuring breathtaking views of red Aztec Sandstone formations, native cacti and wildflowers, and seasonal waterfalls. Trails range in difficulty from beginner-friendly paths to advanced trails for more seasoned hikers.
Besides hiking, the conservation area has several designated trails and areas that allow camping, rock climbing, horseback riding, and biking. If you’re lucky, you may spot some desert wildlife including wild burrows, rabbits, birds, tortoises.
If walking around isn’t your thing, the conservation area also offers a one-way 13-mile scenic road and virtual hikes.
With most of its trails, campgrounds, and picnic areas ranging between 6,000 to almost 12,000 feet in elevation, Mt. Charleston and the surrounding Spring Mountains National Recreation Area offers picturesque, forest scenery.
The area includes over 60 miles of trails ranging across different experience levels, including the 16-mile Charleston Peak South Trail which takes you to the 11,916 foot peak of Mt.Charleston.
Located about 35 miles outside of Vegas, Mt. Charleston is typically 20-30 degrees cooler than the city, making it a great destination to beat the local triple-digit summer temperatures.
Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire State Park is best known for its stunning red Aztec Sandstone outcrops and vistas which give the valley a fire-like aura—especially at sunset.
The 40,000-acre park also holds historical significance dating back to prehistoric times.
Ancient, petrified trees and other geographic features dating back to the Jurassic era, as well as petroglyph carvings dating back 2,500 years ago are scattered throughout the park.
The area also has numerous campgrounds equipped with shaded picnic areas and grills.
Lake Mead National Recreation Area is best known for its aquatic amenities, but also hosts a number of beautiful trails that showcase red sandstone and black volcanic soils, to gorgeous vistas with lake views about 30 miles from The Strip.
Notably, beginner and seasoned hikers alike can enjoy the Historic Railroad Trail which features an old railroad bed and tunnels left over from the building of Hoover Dam. This trail offers panoramic views of Lake Mead, overlooking the Boulder Basin area.
Experienced hikers can also take on the strenuous Gold Strike Hot Springs Trail, which has a number of natural hot springs to soak in. This seasonal trail is located off U.S. 93 near the Hoover Dam exit.
The 48,000 acre Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area is a hidden gem of geological and historical wonders.
In particular, the Sloan Canyon Petroglyph Site is home to 300 rock art panels, and nearly 1,700 designs representing native cultures dating back thousands of years.
The 14,763 acre North McCullough Wilderness area located within the Sloan Canyon NCA contains volcanic geographic attractions including lava and ash flows.
Despite being only a few miles outside of Las Vegas and the City of Henderson, Sloan Canyon is generally a quiet getaway that seldom sees large crowds.
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