As anyone that lives in Las Vegas knows, the casinos are central and integral part of Las Vegas. But when you wander away from the bright lights of the strip, you can discover a wonderful outdoor recreation scene that encourages many locals to live here. One of those reasons is the year-round access to hiking trails. Plus, we are only a short drive to the scenic hiking trails in Southern Utah, Northern Arizona and Southern California.
Here is a guide to what you need to know for your hiking adventure in Las Vegas.
Picking Your Trail
From mountain trails at Mt. Charleston to desert scenic trails, the great Las Vegas area offers a wide variety of hiking trails for all levels of experience. You can hike with a view of the Lake Mead or a view of Red Rock Canyon. Whatever you choose, it will be a good time. Some of our favorite trails include:
- Mt. Charleston – the trails are open year around, but may require specialized snow gear for the winter. These trails offer locals a respite from the heat of the valley during the summer.
- Red Rock Canyon – a go-to area for anyone that hikes in the Las Vegas area, Red Rock offers many miles of trails with wonderful views, both inside and outside the main park. These trails are often better suited during the non-summer months.
- Lake Mead – around the lake and down the river beyond the dam offers many opportunities for hiking and soaking in hot springs.
- Valley of Fire – a short trip just outside the city, the red rock setting offer spectacular views, but best avoided during the hot summer month.
- McCullough Hills – this double track trail system connecting Henderson and Anthem is well marked and has plenty of benches for rest.
Terrain, Weather and Critters
Las Vegas is not known for smooth trails. Many trails are loose, rocky and often flanked by spikey plants that want to hurt you. So, make sure to be alert and carry a first aid kit when possible.
Las Vegas can have extreme temperatures and random flash flooding, so it’s important to check the weather before you go mountain biking. It’s best to avoid the hottest parts of the day, especially
during the summer, and plan your ride during the morning or late afternoon. Night riding is a popular choice here during the summer months, just make sure to invest in a good bike light for your
handlebars and helmet.
Flash flooding is no joke in the desert. If you are out and there is a thunderstorm, avoid drainage areas and be aware of your surroundings. These types of storms usually happen between July and September.
Rattle snakes, tarantulas, tortoises, coyotes, big horn sheep, wild horses and burros are just some of the wildlife you can encounter in a desert adventure. We always recommend not touching or interacting with the wildlife you encounter.
Given the spicey terrain, random weather and abundance of wildlife, we always recommend taking a buddy on a ride or, at least tell someone where you are going.
When hiking in Las Vegas, it’s essential to follow trail etiquette to ensure everyone’s safety and enjoyment. This includes staying on designated trails, packing out all trash, yielding to other hikers, and keeping your pets on a leash. As described above, the desert is full of wildlife and going off trails makes it more likely that you will have an unpleasant encounter with an animal friend.