From any tall building in Las Vegas, you need only to glance out of a window to the west to see the mountains. That’s the direction of the stunning Red Rock Canyon, and it’s part of the reason why Sin City is a goldmine for hiking enthusiasts.
Don’t let the night-time spectacles and lights of the Strip deter you from seeking out a more organic travel experience. From nature-filled vistas, vibrating with wild-life, to scorching desert sands, Nevada is a must-see place for any adventurer. Just remember, the heat can get quite extreme, so make sure you plan your day around the sun, and bring plenty of water when you check out these five trails.
1. The Las Vegas Overlook
Starting with a relatively simple hike (6.3 miles) within Red Rock Canyon, the Las Vegas Overlook is perfect if you want to get an unparalleled view of the city. From one angle, you’ll see the skyline in the distance; from the other, you’ll be able to enjoy the stunning natural formations of the canyon itself.
The trail will send you along the outskirts of the Blue Diamond Hills, where the Las Vegas Valley stretches for miles. Although some of the other trails in this area can be complicated, this particular trail is gentle enough for beginners. Of course, if you feel like some additional challenge, you can branch off into a different trail along the way.
2. The Valley of Fire, Fire Wave
Created through over 150 million years of natural formation, the crimson scenery of Valley of Fire State Park was originally home to Anasazi Pueblo farmers. It’s well worth the hour-and-a-half drive from the Strip to get here, particularly since nature enthusiasts consider the park to be the ultimate dream for hikers.
With valleys, cliffs, and canyons spread across nearly 35,000 acres, there are several trails to choose from that offer views of petroglyphs and rocks dating back thousands of years. The Fire Wave is the most simplistic hike, taking you through 1.2 miles of outstanding scenery, featuring vibrant stone hills and sandstone. Get an early start and avoid the midday sun, as there is no shade on this particular route.
3. Red Rock Canyon Turtlehead Peak
Nevada’s first official conservation area, Red Rock Canyon is particularly appealing for budding and expert hikers. The space is enormous, measuring at more than 195,000 acres, and more than a million people frequent it every year. You’ll find over 30 miles of rock climbing, mountain biking, and hiking trails to explore.
Perhaps one of the most appealing trails is Turtlehead Peak. This challenging hike offers truly unbeatable views once you reach the end of the canyon. Here, you’ll find a wonderful respite from the sounds and sights of Sin City, if you feel the need to reconnect with nature after a few nights on the Strip.
4. Mount Charleston
Hiking around Mount Charleston is another refreshing treat for nature-lovers who want to explore beyond the casinos in Las Vegas. While the journey through Mount Charleston is always beautiful, it’s the most dramatic during summer, where you can explore a range of amazing climate zones within one single location. The high trails at around 12,000 feet are perfect for the hotter days, when hiking anywhere lower down might be impossible.
There are several trails to enjoy at Mount Charleston. However, two of the most popular options are Big Falls and Mary Jane Falls. Mary Jane Falls is the easier option, stretching 2.5 miles with forests of ponderosa pines to explore. As you follow the route up the canyon, you’ll also get a great view of Big Falls, too!
5. The Historic Railroad Trail
Last but not least, the Historic Railroad Trail at Lake Mead is a beautiful, interesting, and accessible hiking area for individuals and family alike. The route snakes around Lake Mead and reaches out towards the iconic Hoover Dam, with 3.7 miles of unbelievable desert scenery. In 2015, the path earned official recognition as a National Historic Trail.
You can access the trail at either side of the railway, but if you don’t want too much of a long walk, the best option is to enter from the Alan Bible Visitor Center, off Highway 93. The stunning center and the trail are only about a mile from the first tunnel. The route is also conveniently wheelchair accessible.
Explore the Nature of Nevada
While the lights and sounds of Las Vegas are seductive enough, it’s worth remembering that there’s more to the heart of Nevada than its wild nightlife and awe-inspiring shows. If you’re a nature lover, then you’ll discover that the local hiking options offer an experience that’s just as gasp-inducing as any high-caliber Strip show.
Sky is a condo community on the north end of the Las Vegas Strip. We’re located in the center of one of the most exciting places on Earth — but we know it’s nice to get out into the open air of nature, too.