Famous for the Strip’s bright lights and glitzy nightlife, Las Vegas, Nevada, is also an amazing destination for nature lovers.
These scenic hikes less than an hour’s drive from Las Vegas are a great way to explore the stunning landscapes near this entertainment mecca. Hikers will come across desert sands and cacti, of course, but also forested mountains, cool waterfalls, fascinating petroglyphs and otherworldly rock formations. These are day hikes, meaning you can leave your hotel in the morning and be back for a shower before the lights start coming up on the Strip, although timing a hike to take in the sunrise or sunset can make for especially awesome memories.
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Just 35 minutes west of Las Vegas, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is known for its towering red sandstone peaks and a 21-kilometer Scenic Drive, which leads to trailheads for numerous awesome hikes.
Perfect for families, the Petroglyph Wall Trail is an easy out-and-back trail (only .3 kilometers) that leads from the Willow Springs Picnic Area to a cliffside with both petroglyphs (artwork chiseled into the rock) and pictographs (paintings) at least 800 years old. The Calico Tanks Trail is a 3.5-kilometer moderate out-and-back trail that leads to hidden water and great views of Las Vegas. Looking for another fascinating perspective? The Las Vegas Overlook Loop, also known as Muffin Ridge, is an easy 6.4-kilometer loop that offers commanding views of the Strip and surrounding mountains.
Sandstone cliffs surrounding the trails of Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Valley of Fire State Park
With outcroppings of red Aztec sandstone set against gray and tan limestone, it’s clear where Valley of Fire State Park, just under an hour northeast of Las Vegas, gets its name. One of the area’s most photogenic trails, the Fire Wave Trail – 2.5 easy out-and-back kilometers – leads to swirling red sandstone formations that become even more vibrant around sunset. Hike along the easy 1.8-kilometer White Domes Loop to colorful rock formations, a slot canyon, mysterious caves and an abandoned movie set.