Las Vegas is a land of many attractions and a leading entertainment capital. The city, which is arguably one of the most popular destinations in the country, is famous for its impressive spread of hotels, casinos, restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. The attractions, however, don’t stop there.
As I mentioned previously, greater Las Vegas is much more versatile than most people think. Along with pool parties, acrobatic shows and professional sports games, visitors can also explore the great outdoors at the many natural attractions that exist nearby.
Below, I’ve listed some of my favorite outdoor destinations in the greater Las Vegas area. Next time you’re visiting Nevada and have some time to explore, try checking these off your bucket list.
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area sits 25 miles west of the Las Vegas Strip at 1000 Scenic Loop Drive. The National Conservation Area is administered by The Bureau of Land Management and encompasses beautiful sandstone landscapes, desert foliage and a serene 13-mile Scenic Drive that leads to several viewpoints, overlooks, hiking trails, walking paths and over 2,000 coveted rock-climbing routes. The trails range from easy to difficult, varying in both distance and elevation, and the geology and wildlife are equally as diverse. Whether you spot a Chuckwalla at Calico Hills or discover fossilized remains of dinosaurs or mammals at the Blue Diamond Hills, you’re sure to experience the wonder of this place.
Entrance to Red Rock Canyon costs $15 per car for a one-day pass and summer hours for the Scenic Drive are 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. (hours vary by season) but rock climbers are able to obtain Late Exit (LE) permits for an extra two hours of climbing at select routes for after hours.
Valley of Fire State Park
Valley of Fire State Park in Overton, Nevada is located at 29450 Valley of Fire Road, just 55 miles away from Las Vegas and six miles from Lake Mead. The park, accessible via exit 75 on Interstate 15, is a desert gem comprised of over 40,000 acres of vibrant Aztec Sandstone. It is not until witnessing firsthand the intense hues of red that one can truly understand why the park is named Valley of Fire. The red rocks passionately illuminate the dry desert in a way that must be experienced to be understood.
In addition to the elaborate rock formations, visitors can expect to see a variety of cactus and seasonal flowers, including desert marigold, indigo bush and desert mallow. As if the park’s stunning scenery wasn’t enough, visitors can also enjoy hiking trails and nature paths while admiring the many petroglyphs throughout the park.
Though the park is open year-round, the weather does vary seasonally. Winters are typically mild, but the temperature can fluctuate anywhere from freezing to mid-70s, whereas summer is expectedly much warmer, with temperatures as high as 120 degrees.
Entrance to Valley of Fire State Park costs $10 per car for a one-day pass and is open daily from sunrise to sunset, with 24-hour access to campgrounds.