Discover The Wonderful Hikes Surrounding Vegas This Time Of Year

las vegas hikes

The American Southwest is bursting with incredible outdoor getaways and hiking destinations. Naturally the Grand Canyon tends to be the first such destination that comes to mind, but it is ultimately just one of many. There are several other gorgeous national parks, from Zion, to Bryce Canyon, to Glen Canyon and Lake Powell, and more. There are beautiful areas surrounding popular cities, such as the rocky hill hikes around Boulder, Colorado, or the surroundings of Park City, Utah. And the list goes on and on.

One destination on that list that is easy to overlook, however, is Las Vegas. Understandably, Vegas is best known as the world’s premier casino resort hub. It’s a wild, over-the-top city that doubles as a luxury vacation spot and a sort of perpetual adult carnival. Most visit Vegas to play casino games, lounge at cozy resorts, see shows, and enjoy the nightlife. But the city is also an excellent destination for lovers of the outdoors. Because all around Vegas, in all directions, there are excellent hiking spots to enjoy.

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Valley of Fire State Park

 
 
 
 
 
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Without question, the primary hiking area near Vegas is Valley Of Fire State Park. Located to the northwest of the city, and just north of Lake Mead, the valley is a destination unto itself. Accordingly, it is not just home to a single trail, but rather a whole cluster of them. Planetware’s list of the best hikes in the park does a nice job of identifying the highlights, the best of which are the Fire Wave Hike, the Mouse’s Tank Hike, and — best of all — the White Domes Hike. Each of these makes for a tremendous outdoor escape, and each is manageable in a matter of hours (meaning if you like, you can explore much of the valley over the course of one day).


Red Rock Canyon

 
 
 
 
 
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If you’re looking for the kind of hike that just invites you to chill out and enjoy some natural beauty (rather than test yourself on challenging terrain), look no further than Red Rock Canyon. Singled out in a list of Vegas attractions on Poker.org as “relaxing,” “scenic,” and “peaceful,” it is in some respects the ideal getaway for those actually staying in the city. This canyon — which is officially designated as a National Conservation Area — is just barely outside the city to the west. And like Valley Of Fire State Park, it is home to several specific hiking trails. The Calico Tanks Hike, Ice Box Canyon, and Calico Hills are all unforgettable daytime walks.


Las Vegas Overlook Trail

 
 
 
 
 
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The Las Vegas Overlook Trail runs along the edge of the Red Rock Canyon area, but makes for a different experience. It’s a slightly more strenuous hike, running nearly 10 miles and largely at a reasonably high elevation for the area. But it is favored by some hiking enthusiasts for its relative lack of crowds, and for its vantage point. As the name suggests, the trail provides some stunning looks out over Las Vegas and the surrounding area.


Lake Mead Railroad Trail

 
 
 
 
 
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Perhaps the most unique hike in the area, this trail will take you along the shores of the sprawling Lake Mead (east of town), and through several old, abandoned railway tunnels. It’s not a traditional Southwest hike through rocky hills, but it’s one that’s become beloved by many travelers, and according to the Las Vegas Sun was marked as a national trail back in 2015. Granted, some may find it almost a little eerie to hike through Old West rail tunnels. But others find it exhilarating, and enjoy the sense of connecting to the region’s history.


Death Valley National Park

 
 
 
 
 
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Death Valley National Park is a little bit farther from town to the west, but still makes for a perfectly suitable hiking getaway. It also happens to be a massive area, which means like Red Rock and Valley Of Fire, it’s home to several different trails. The ones many ultimately aim for though are the Golden Canyon Hike and the Badlands Loop. The latter in particular is worth going out of your way to see. It looks like a chunk of another planet.


With all of these hiking destinations in such a small area, Vegas is a more sensible destination for outdoor adventure than people tend to assume. It’s hard to beat the idea of setting up camp in a Vegas hotel, hiking all day, and perhaps enjoying a nice dinner in town at night.

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Have you done any of our favorite Las Vegas hikes? Are there any you love that we didn’t mention? Let us know in the comments below!


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