Beyond the neon lights of Las Vegas, there is another colorful world waiting to be discovered. The great outdoors beyond the city is popular with locals, and visitors often head there when in need of a break from the bustle of Las Vegas Boulevard.
While some people plan their entire trip to the desert with the natural beauty of Las Vegas in mind, most tourists visit only The Strip and Downtown Las Vegas. But there’s so much more to explore. Below are four areas where you can get a much-needed dose of nature and fresh air in the greater Vegas area.
1. Mount Charleston
Mount Charleston is the tallest peak in southern Nevada and a haven for people who want to escape the sweltering heat that accompanies summertime in the Valley.
Head up the mountain to find some remote hiking trails. Pick the gorgeous Lee Meadows for the perfect picnic spot, or check out one of the open trails like the easy uphill Fletcher Canyon. Other areas include:
- Cliff Rose Trailhead
- Deer Creek Picnic Area
- Desert View Overlook
- Juniper Trailhead
2. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Take in the breathtaking views of Red Rock Canyon while exploring miles of red sandstone peaks, the Keystone Thrust Fault and searching for ancient petroglyphs on foot.
One of the park’s most popular hikes, Ice Box Canyon, is a higher difficulty level than some, but it’s also a great experience that can include seasonal waterfalls in the winter and spring. If you’re a seasoned hiker, this route is a way to access some of Nevada’s most pristine natural landscapes.
3. Wetlands Park Nature Preserve
A 210-acre swath of land east of the city, the Wetlands Park Nature Preserve features three miles of paved and accessible trails. Here, you’ll find rushing water and wildlife (if you’re lucky), and the world-famous Strip juxtaposed on the horizon.
With numerous paths to choose from, the preserve takes guests on winding journeys through an entirely different landscape than the rest of the city.
4. Lake Mead
The Lake Mead National Recreation Center isn’t just for swimming. Visitors can enter on foot or via trailheads outside its gates for scenic hikes.
A popular and relatively easy hike is the Historic Railroad Trail. The seven-mile trek takes you on former railroad tracks and through five tunnels while providing a stunning view of Lake Mead’s Boulder Basin. Bonus: It’s dog-friendly.
For a little more of a sweat, check out the River Mountain Loop trail. Outbound, the hike is downhill, but the return takes you on a climb back to the starting point of about 1,200 feet.
Ready to get outside? Las Vegas is home to abundant natural beauty and outdoor activities — and there are even more amazing places around the area to explore.