The 4 Best Hikes in and Around Las Vegas, a Surprising Geological Dreamland

Eva Hagan - Author

Feb. 14 2023, Published 10:44 a.m. ET

Las Vegas Hikes
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Consumer-focused tourism, gambling, and casinos really steer the portrayal of Las Vegas in the media. This leaves the beauty of towering aspens, the rock-sandy canyons, and the hikes that are beautiful in the spring and turn brutal in the summer heat are unknown to many.

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Here are some of the best hikes near Las Vegas, because getting outside happens in Vegas too.

The Upper and Lower Bristlecone Loop, Spring Mountains National Recreation Area

Nevada hike
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The Spring Mountains National Recreation Area (SMNRA) is a portion of the Humboldt- Toiyabe National Forest. Locals know the area as Mount Charleston, a mix of desert and forested mountain peaks just 30 minutes Northwest of the city, per the U.S. Forest Service.

According to Condé Nast Traveler, this is just one of the hikes you should consider here.

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A moderately difficult 5.7-mile loop at the top of Lee Canyon includes a shady track through ancient pines and the McWilliams campground for those who want to stay in the area. The start of the hike is around 40 minutes from downtown Las Vegas.

Fire Wave, Valley of the Fire State Park

Meteor shower behind rocks
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This 40,000-acre state park features petrified trees and Aztec sandstone mixed with gray and tan limestone to create some of the coolest rock structures on the planet, per Nevada State Parks.

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According to the travel magazine PlanetWare, Fire Wave is among the most interesting hikes to take in the Valley of the Fire State Park. It is a 1.2-mile out-and-back hike, but most travelers end up wandering off the trail (responsibly) to explore the hills of streaked stone. It's a great place for photos, but be mindful that the whole hike is in direct sunlight, so there's no taking refuge in the shade.

Wetlands Park Nature Reserve Loop, Clark County Wetlands Park

Mountains in Nevada
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Just 30 minutes outside of Las Vegas is the town of Whitney, where the Clark County Wetlands is a great spot to see some wildlife while also getting moving.

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Recommended by Condé Nast Traveler, the Wetlands Park Nature Preserve Loop is a 2.1-mile loop that is not only beautiful, but more accessible than most hikes in the region. It has little vertical gain, making it a great spot to maneuver wheelchairs or strollers. Like Fire Wave, this hike does not have a lot of shade, so if it's a hot day remember to pack water and try to visit when the sun isn't at its peak.

Ice Box Canyon Trail, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation

Within the 195,819 acres of Nevada's famous Red Rock Canyon National Conservation, located in the Mojave Desert, there are over 26 hikes and trails, as well as camping, driving tours, and geological masterpieces, per Southern Nevada Conservancy.

According to Vegas Magazine, the Ice Box Canyon Trail is a strenuous 2.3 mile hike that takes around two hours, with views on the waterfalls during the winter and spring months. The great thing about this hike is that it tends to be a lot cooler than other parts of the canyon because most of the path is blocked from the sun.

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