This may shock you, but Las Vegas is not only home to the glitz and glam of the strip. It’s also home to some of the most beautiful natural desert scenery. With breathtaking landscapes filled with hiking trails, these accessible paths allow locals and tourists to take a break from the city life and witness the natural recreation Vegas has to offer.
The Calico Tanks Trail at Red Rock Mountains
Located in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, the Calico Tanks Trail is 2.2 miles. Although short compared to most trails in the desert, it is known to be some what-challenging. The trails have some areas that require both hands and feet to move over certain rocks and naturally made stone stairs. Although there’s some work involved, the result leads hikers to a natural water catchment called Calico Tanks. The views on this trail feature the beautiful desert landscapes with a gorgeous view of the mountains. The best times to try this trail are the cooler months in Las Vegas, October through April.
Fire Wave at Valley of Fire State Park
As a premier hiking destination, the Fire Wave at Valley of Fire State Park features a 1.2-mile hiking trail with beautiful scenery and colorful hills that range from shades of yellow and orange to turquoise and green. The trail starts on soft sand and then transforms into waves of stone. The scenery is picturesque, which is why many hikers end up deviating just a bit from the trail to explore the area even further. Allow time for photo ops if you plan to capture and document your adventurous time on this trail. There is no shade available on this trail, so try heading to this spot earlier in the day when the temperatures are cooler.
Lone Mountain Trail
The Lone Mountain Trail is located in Lone Mountain Regional Park on the North-west side of Las Vegas. It’s an isolated mountain, which gives it its name. This trail spans from 1.2 miles but roughly takes about 1 hour to climb up and climb down. As you climb the mountain, you’ll find that the path is pretty steep, which makes it one of the more challenging hikes Vegas has to offer. It takes hikers to two-three false peaks until you reach the very top of the mountain, which allows hikers to take a couple of quick breathers as they venture through the trail. Once you arrive at the actual peak, you’ll find that it doesn’t offer much room. However, it gives hikers the most spectacular view of the city as it’s known to be one of the only spots in Las Vegas that gives you a full 360-degree view of the valley.
Lone Mountain also has a loop trail around the mountain which is heavier in traffic most days. Locals in the area find this trail easier than hiking up and down the mountain, but it still offers an excellent workout as it is about 2.2 miles in total. It’s a great spot to meet with friends and walk together or a place to take your dogs for a nice walk.
Mary Jane Falls at Mount Charleston
Mary Jane Falls Trail is located at Mount Charleston and is a local favorite when it comes to hiking trails. In terms of intensity, it’s ranked as “moderate” as it offers some switchbacks that can make climbing the mountain a bit of a challenge. The path offers some shady rest stops so hikers can still climb at their own pace. The route for the trail is highly visible, which helps hikers navigate through the area without getting lost. The surroundings of the trek are forest-like, so expect a lot of rocks, pines and different trees in your view. Aside from the beautiful views of mountains all around, the trail leads to a must-see waterfall and a sitting area at the top. Mary Jane Falls is a great trail to bring a meal or snack to so you can rest at the top and enjoy a nice outdoor picnic before heading back down. This trail is only open from April to December and is heavily trafficked on the weekends.
Wetlands Park Nature Reserve Loop
The Wetlands Park Nature Preserve Loop is located near Las Vegas and is about a 2.1-mile trail that is good for hikers at all levels. The path is used for all sorts of recreational activities, such as walking, running, jogging, hiking and bird watching. This family-friendly loop is paved, features several ponds and has a beautiful scenic view. The trail also offers resting stops, such as picnic tables and benches. Lastly, the path allows strollers and is mostly wheelchair accessible.