Though Vegas is probably best known for its nightlife on The Strip, it also has some amazing outdoor adventures just outside of the city! You can drive just under an hour away from the hustle and bustle and find beautiful red rock views, sandy bluffs over Lake Mead, and natural hot springs to soak in. This guide will tell you about some of the best hikes near Las Vegas, and some of the best outdoor activities within an hour of the city!
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Table of Contents
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About These Hikes Near Las Vegas
Some of these hikes are easy walks, while others are harder treks. No matter where you’re hiking, it’s important to be prepared! Here are a few things you’ll need to know about hiking near Las Vegas.
The Best Time to Hike Near Las Vegas
Summer hiking is definitely not recommended in this area – with temperatures getting up to the hundreds and many of the hikes having pretty much zero shade, it’s not fun, or safe. Some hikes even close for the summer due to the danger or overheating!
The best time of year to do these hikes near Las Vegas is winter, when daytime temperatures are usually in the 60s. Keep in mind, however, that it does get pretty cold at night, so bring layers if you’re hiking early or late in the day. Some of the mountain hikes in the Mount Charleston area do get snow, so for those higher elevation hikes, spring and fall will be the best time to go!
Leave No Trace on Hikes Near Las Vegas
Anytime you’re outdoors, whether you’re a beginner hiker or an experienced adventurer, it’s essential that you practice Leave No Trace (LNT). LNT is a set of seven principles that help us understand our impact on the outdoors – because while we usually have good intentions, the environment is more fragile than we think, and one snap-second decision can cause damage to the environment that will take the earth years, even decades to repair.
While I firmly believe everyone deserves to enjoy these amazing spots, do your part to make sure the hikes stay clean and beautiful! People not respecting the land can lead to these places being closed – so to make sure we can keep enjoying them, follow these principles!
Leave No Trace means enjoying the outdoors without disrupting nature, as much as it’s possible to do so. Here are the 7 principles of LNT, and how they apply when you visit these hikes near Las Vegas!
- Plan ahead and prepare – before you hike, make sure you know what to expect. Always bring plenty of water, be prepared for exposed trails, and have the right gear for your hike.
- Travel and camp on durable surfaces – make sure to stay on established trails. Avoid stepping on grass and plant life!
- Dispose of waste properly – don’t leave trash, or anything else, behind. Most places don’t have trash cans, so pack out anything you bring in.
- Leave what you find – I know it can be tempting to take a cool rock or leaf, but leave these things where they belong! Animals often use these, and if everyone takes one, the area won’t be as pretty.
- Minimize campfire impacts – only make campfires when and where it’s allowed, and use wood that’s already dead, or better yet, bring your own firewood. Put it out when you’re done!
- Respect wildlife – never approach wildlife, and never feed the animals! It’s bad for their stomachs, causes aggression, and messes with their natural patterns.
- Be considerate of other visitors – you’ll often be sharing the trail with other people. Be respectful, and don’t ruin the experience for others.
What to Bring to These Hikes Near Las Vegas
When you visit some of the best hot springs in Nevada, here’s what you’ll need!
- Hiking Shoes – I prefer hiking in sandals and usually hike in my Chacos, but boots are a good idea for more ankle support. For sturdy hiking boots, I love my Danner boots.
- Layers – the desert is often chilly in the mornings and evenings, so a lightweight windbreaker or a fleece is a good idea. For the cold, I love my Columbia puffy jacket – it’s lightweight, and water resistant!
- Backpack – you’ll need a backpack for water and snacks. I use an Osprey Hikelite 26L, or a Deuter Aircontact for backpacking trips.
- Headlamp – going at sunrise or sunset is a great way to avoid crowds, but make sure you have a headlamp for hiking in the dark! It’s also always a good idea to bring a headlamp just in case.
- Hiking poles – if you have knee pain going downhill, poles help a lot with that!
- Water – water is a must, always. Bring more than you need, as most of these hikes have little to no shade. I usually bring my 2L hydration pack, and a water bottle with electrolytes.
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The Best Hikes Near Las Vegas
There are lots of amazing hikes near Las Vegas, and tons of outdoor adventures. Here are a few of the best trails, all within an hour’s drive of Vegas!
Fire Wave, White Domes, and Seven Wonders Loop
This is a really great way to see a lot of Valley of Fire State Park in one hike! This loop combines several trails, so if you want a shorter hike, you can choose one of the trails – but this one takes you through the White Domes slot canyon, to the Fire Wave, the Pink Canyon, and more along the way.
Location: Valley of Fire State Park
Length: 3.2 miles (5.1 km) loop
Elevation Gain: 380 feet (115.8 meters)
Fletcher Peak Trail
For some more greenery, head to the Mount Charleston area just outside of Las Vegas! The Fletcher Peak hike is gorgeous, with forest and mountain views, but it is steep with a lot of switchbacks. At the summit, you’ll be rewarded with a view of Mount Charleston! It’s a popular trail, so I recommend heading there early in the morning or closer to sunset to ensure that you get a parking spot.
Location: Mount Charleston Wilderness
Length: 6.2 miles (10 km) loop
Elevation Gain: 2214 feet (675 meters)
Gold Strike Hot Springs
The trail to get here is challenging, but fun! There are lots of scrambles, rocks to climb over, and ropes that help you go up and down rock walls. You’ll be rewarded with some incredible pools to soak in!
Location: Lake Mead National Recreation Area
Length: 5.3 miles (8.5 km) loop
Elevation Gain: 1013 feet (309 meters)
Arizona (Ringbolt) Hot Springs
This one is located just over the border in Arizona. The Arizona (Ringbolt) hot springs are a cascading series of hot pools tucked inside of a canyon – an incredible hike with gorgeous desert views takes you to an amazing place to soak and relax! The trail is a loop, and part of it requires hiking right through the pools. It can be done as a day hike, or as an overnight backpacking trip.
Location: Lake Mead National Recreation Area
Length: 5.9 miles (9.5 km) loop
Elevation Gain: 1223 feet (373 meters)
Calico Tanks Trail
The Calico Tanks trail is a fun trail with a few rock scrambles, and great views of the sandstone formations and rolling hills, as well as some views of Las Vegas. Red Rock Canyon is a popular recreation area due to its close proximity to the city, so there is a reservation system in place for the scenic drive – if you go from October 1st to May 31st, make sure to check if you need a reservation!
Location: Red Rocks National Conservation Area
Length: 2.4 miles (3.9 km) loop
Elevation Gain: 439 feet (133.8 meters)
Bonus Hikes (Not so) Near Las Vegas
All of the hikes mentioned above are within an hour of driving from Vegas, but there are also some great hikes that are just a little farther! Zion National Park is two hours away, but definitely worth the drive if you hike the iconic Angel’s Landing trail. About two and a half hours north of the city is Cathedral Gorge State Park, which is really remote and quiet, with some really beautiful hikes that are especially incredible at sunset.
Map of the Best Hikes Near Las Vegas
Here’s a map of all the best hikes near Las Vegas mentioned in this post! The yellow icons are moderate hikes, while the red ones are more difficult.
Where to Stay When You Explore Hikes Near Las Vegas
Hiking near the city means plenty of options for places to stay! Here are a few ideas for when you visit Las Vegas.
Glamping, Cabins, & Yurts
For a unique place to stay during your trip, check out Hipcamp! It’s like Airbnb for campsites – and you can find yurts, cabins, glamping sites, and more.
You can even get $10 off your first booking here!
A Camper van
With a camper van, you get a vehicle and a place to sleep, all in one! This is my favorite way to travel, and you can rent a fully decked out van with Escape Campervans. Another option is to use Outdoorsy, which is more like Airbnb – you can rent vans, RVs, and trailers from people who live nearby!
Find a Campsite
Whether you car camp, tent camp, or rent a tiny home on wheels, The Dyrt is the best way to find campsites! There are a lot of campgrounds in the area, often located close to some of these hikes. But, there’s BLM land really close to many of these trail – which means you can camp for free!
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Hotels & Lodges
Booking.com is a great place to find hotels and lodging when you’re in Las Vegas!
For some options, check out this map of places to stay. Make sure to change the dates, and zoom out to see all of your options!Booking.com
If you’ve been to any of these hikes near Las Vegas, have some recommendations, or if you’re planning a trip and have any questions, leave them in a comment below!
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