Desert. Snowy mountainside. Red sandstone. Flowing wetlands. All this- and more- is found throughout the Las Vegas valley and mountains of Nevada. If you’re looking for a break from casinos and Las Vegas city living, here are 19+ Las Vegas hikes for all levels; from day trips to multi-day hiking adventures to experience all of these regions for yourself.
Remember to check out our bucket list guide to the best Day Trips from Las Vegas guide for unique travel ideas around this gorgeous region, in addition to hiking near Las Vegas.
A special thank you to Hotels.com for inviting us to share our thoughts on traveling to Las Vegas.
Best Neighborhoods to Stay in While Visiting Las Vegas
If you plan to do outdoor activities towards the north or west side of Las Vegas, we recommend staying in Summerlin. Summerlin is a suburb of Las Vegas, and is the best neighborhood in Las Vegas for easy access to areas like Red Rock National Conservation Area and Mt. Charleston. Stay at Red Rock Casino or Suncoast Hotel and Casino. These hotels have fabulous restaurants, and often, low rates.
If you plan to do some of the best Las Vegas hiking in the southeast, the District is a great place to set up basecamp. A little shopping center, next to Green Valley Ranch Casino, you’ll love to stop in at boutiques and fuel at cool restaurants like the Bella Vita. Stay at the Casino and visit the partially open-air spa after a day on the trails.
Of course, the Strip comes up while thinking of a place to stay while visiting Las Vegas. This isn’t a bad option, even if you are not planning on spending much time on the Strip itself. This is because many tour companies offer shuttles from resorts on the Strip to main hiking destinations. Some companies even offer transportation from the Strip to the Grand Canyon, or Zion National Park. So, when deciding where to stay while hiking Las Vegas, choose from great hotels like NoMad or The Cromwell.
Las Vegas Hiking Essentials
One of the best ways to plan your hike more seamlessly is by downloading the AllTrails apps. The app will provide offline maps (which come in handy if you lose signal), interactive trail maps that can record your trajectory (so you know how many steps you took, how long you hiked for and exactly what kind of loop you made on the map), and other up-to-date trail information!
Remember, the desert is an extreme climate, with dangerous wildlife and conditions. So, when hiking trails near Las Vegas, you’ll need to plan ahead. Be sure to pack these essentials.
|Hat, wide-brimmed is best||Water (lots of it) either carried in bottles or a hydration backpack|
|Hiking boots (make sure to go half a size up for hiking down slopes)||–Travel towel|
|Snacks (including protein)||Swimsuit|
|ECO sun screen||Hiking poles|
|Sun umbrella||Battery pack|
|Day pack||First-aid kit|
|Garbage bags to help carry out anything you bring in||ECO bug spray|
|Tissues||Tampons/pads (just in case)|
|Light, loose layered clothing and long pants||Cell phone + battery charger|
|Pocket knife||First-aid kit|
For overnight hikes, add:
- Small tent
- Inflatable sleeping pads
- A mini backpacking pillow and sleeping bag
- Toilet paper
- Backpacking stove
- Fire starter
- Collapsible pot for cooking/boiling water
- Freeze dried entrees
Depending on the season, your pack may change. Cooler mornings in the desert may call for thicker clothing, and even knit caps and mittens. Furthermore, in summer months, you’ll want to pack more water than in winter. Above all, do not take any chances, and make sure you feel prepared for your desert hike.
Important Tips for Hiking Around Las Vegas
As you prepare for your hiking trails Las Vegas adventure, there are a few important tips to keep in mind.
- Keep an eye on the weather- but not just the temperature. While the heat of the day is of utmost importance, many hiking areas are prone to flash floods and intense lightning strikes. Thus, if there is rain in the forecast, you may want to change the date of your hike.
- Many popular trails become very crowded. The most crowded trails are short, easily accessible, trails with large parking lots. If you wish to avoid crowds, aim for more remote trailheads with small lots.
- Hike in a group.
- Leave wildlife alone- especially snakes. If you come across a snake, back away and give it a wide berth.
- Do not reach into any rock crevices without looking first. Tiny, sometimes dangerous critters make their homes in these cooler spots.
- Do not run if you see a mountain lion- back away slowly.
- Before leaving, let someone know where you plan to hike and when you’ll return.
Best Hikes From Las Vegas: West of the Valley
To immerse yourself in desert hiking trails from Las Vegas, drive west. Here you’ll find Red Rock Canyon and Spring Mountain Ranch nestled into the Spring Mountain National Recreation Area. These beautiful red rock formations are foothills to more alpine conditions north of the valley. In this region, you’ll see desert vegetation like cacti and Joshua trees. You may even see a herd of wild burros walking along with you. To see for yourself, check out one of the Las Vegas hiking trails below.
1) Ice Box Canyon – 2.6 Miles
Ice Box Canyon is located along Red Rock Canyon National Recreation Area’s 13-mile scenic drive. The 2.6-mile in-and-out hike follows a winding, rocky path to a cool, shady waterfall. Be ready to use your hands- hikers need to scramble a bit to reach the waters. Additionally, temperatures cool the closer you get to the mountains. So, bring along a sweater!
2) Oak Creek Trail – 1+ miles
When hiking near Las Vegas, visitors sometimes expect nothing but dusty desert wilderness. However, Oak Creek Canyon Trail travels along a babbling creek surrounded by thick vegetation. Tall Ponderosa pines tower over hidden picnic tables and places to rest. Follow the loop, or the many connecting trails and explore to your heart’s content. But, be sure to wear good shoes and long socks- protect your skin from any poison sumac hiding among the reeds!
3) Sandstone Canyon Loop- 2.1 Miles
To easily access the beautiful mountains west of Las Vegas, drive to Spring Mountain Ranch State Park. The easy 2.1 mile Sandstone Canyon Loop leads you to one of the canyons hiding behind the old ranch. Bring your camera- you will want a picture.
NOTE: This popular trail may be closed due to COVID-19 restrictions. Call ahead to ensure availability!
4) First Creek Canyon – 4 Miles
First Creek Canyon is a fairly popular Las Vegas trail located just south of Red Rock Canyon. This trail winds through serene, exposed desert, so make sure to apply sunscreen, wear a hat, and consider loose, long sleeved clothing.
Your reward halfway through this in-and-out trail is a small waterfall tucked into beautiful cottonwood trees. During the dry parts of the year, this waterfall may not flow. However, you will still enjoy following the little creek as you explore the area.
In addition, keep your eyes peeled. It’s very common to see a wild burro, or a herd of them, munching on the desert vegetation.
5 & 6) White Rock + La Madre Springs Loop Trail – 7.5 miles
When it comes to Red Rock Las Vegas hiking, you won’t want to miss these two hikes. Take a longer hike through the North end of Red Rock Canyon by hiking the White Rock Trail loop. First, you’ll enjoy stunning views of the iconic red and cream colored rocks. Next, your route will require some minor boulder hopping, which is perfect for any adventurer.
Continue up and around the loop to the extension of La Madre Springs. Here, you’ll be able to explore until you reach an old cabin. The vegetation in this area is much more lush than you’d think a desert would be.
Finally, throughout your hike, you may be able to see some ancient petroglyphs on rocks and cliff walls. Keep an eye out, but please be respectful of the cultures that left this magnificent art.
Hiking Near Las Vegas: Northwest of the Valley
The Spring Mountain National Recreation Area gains elevation behind the red rocks, and grows more mountainous. Here, you will find the tallest mountain in the area- Mt. Charleston. Often topped with snow, visitors come to Mt. Charleston to hike, ski, and escape the desert heat below. Experience the Mt. Charleston area by setting out on these hikes from Las Vegas.
7) Cathedral Rock- 2.8 Miles
Cathedral Rock gets its name from its high out-dropping, overlooking the town below. This trail is especially beautiful in the autumn, when the leaves turn to bright gold throughout the mountains around you. Find the trailhead behind the Mt. Charleston Lodge. Then, follow the steep path upwards until you reach the summit. Bring water, and a willingness to take breaks! At the summit, pause to enjoy the incredible view. On clear days, you can see down to the desert beneath the mountains.
8) Mary Jane Falls- 3.2 Miles
Mary Jane Falls has some of the most popular hiking from Las Vegas. For this reason, the parking lot is often packed, so it is best to get there early in the day. Once you set off, you will quickly begin gaining elevation through a series of switchbacks. You will need motivation- but the tough workout is worth it when you reach the falls. The misty Mary Jane Falls drops from high on the mountain to the rocks below. Cool off under the water before having a picnic and hiking back down.
9) Robber’s Roost- 0.4 Miles
While one of the shortest hikes in the area, Robber’s Roost is one of the most fun hikes near Las Vegas. A local legend says robbers would hide here while waiting to loot travelers along the Old Spanish Trail in the 1880s. Today, take the short, steep hike up rocky stairs to a series of wind-carved caves. Bring climbing gear if you are skilled- this is a great place to climb!
10) Mt. Charleston Summit – 17 Miles (Overnight Hike!)
Looking for the best way to beat the intense summer heat in Las Vegas? Hiking to Charleston Peak is best done in the summer months, when ice and snow have long since melted. This hike can be done in one day. However, there is a campsite near the summit. Thus, we recommend that hikers take one day to ascend the mountain, and another day to head down. So, if possible, plan to backpack in with your tent, and anything else you’d need for a one night stay.
Additionally, while this hike is technically a loop, you can treat the route as an out and back to the summit. This allows you to prepare for your descent, and avoid a long walk back to your car along a paved main road.
Begin your route behind Mt. Charleston Lodge. Within minutes, you’ll begin climbing the mountain. Therefore, you’ll catch breathtaking views right from the start. In addition to great views, you’ll see beautiful wildflowers, cross streams, and conquer many switchbacks along the way.
You will pass campsites on your way to the summit. Once you reach the top, it will most likely be very windy. It will be worth it, though, for the spectacular view of the valley and desert below.
Best Las Vegas Hiking Trails: Northeast of the Valley
To the north of the Las Vegas valley, you will see the Las Vegas Range. Slightly northeast are Frenchman and Sunrise Mountains, with a pass in between. In addition, closer to the city, visitors can find more urban Las Vegas hiking trails. Check out these two vastly different trails to experience this region.
11) Sunrise Mountain – 6.5 Miles
Sunrise Mountain is one of the most strikingly beautiful mountains from the Las Vegas Valley. If you plan on taking the 1300 foot elevation gain, start in the morning and bring enough water! At the top, you will be able to view the Las Vegas Strip below. Stay late, and watch the sunset against the Spring Mountains across the valley.
12) Clark County Wetlands and the Wetlands Loop Trail – 14 Miles
Not many people think there would be a swampy wetland anywhere near Las Vegas. However, there once were many springs and wetlands all throughout the area. Now at Clark County Wetlands Park, you can catch a glimpse in an urban setting. Most trails are paved and fairly easy, so bring the entire family. Explore the area for a half mile, or take the 14 mile Wetlands Loop Trail.
Hiking in Vegas: South Edge of the Valley
While hiking in the north is mountainous and sometimes snowy, hiking Las Vegas in the south is dusty, vast, and seemingly empty. The North McCullough range has some vegetation- mostly small desert shrubs and small cacti. Instead of tall trees, this area has beautiful cliffsides, hills, and dried waterfalls to explore.
13 & 14) Sloan Canyon & Petroglyph Canyon Trail – 4.1 Miles
Hidden behind the suburbs of Las Vegas is a small visitor center and trailhead to Sloan Canyon. The best hike here is to Petroglyph Canyon. Follow the long dry riverbed between high canyon walls, until the trail narrows. Here, you will need to scramble up rocks that once held a waterfall. At the top, you will find yourself in Petroglyph Canyon. Take your time and look closely at the rocks surrounding you. Many of these rocks have ancient drawings left by Native Americans. Thus, this is one of the best hikes near Las Vegas for those who love culture and history.
This area is very popular- bring your sense of wonder and respect but also be sure to leave no trace.
Hiking Around Las Vegas: Out of the Valley
Hiking from Las Vegas has so much to offer. Short drives away from the city offer even more. From the other-worldly Valley of Fire, to Lake Mead National Recreation Area, visitors can find beautiful, diverse, and popular hikes. If you find yourself visiting this area, be sure to check out this final Las Vegas hiking trail.
15) White Owl Canyon- 3.6 Miles
When visiting White Owl Canyon, it is important to be as quiet as possible. In early spring, hundreds of white barn owls visit the sandstone slot canyons you will hike through. There is even more wildlife on this hike, as you pass the rushing rivers that lead into Lake Mead. Visitors love to see the owls, but try to avoid going in early spring, when the owls are nesting.
16) Cleopatra Wash Trail – 16.6 Miles (Overnight Hike!)
Cleopatra Wash is located deep within Lake Mead National Recreation Area. The Wash is a trail left behind by the receding waters of Lake Mead. Thus, there are many opportunities for rock scrambling, as you traverse where water once flowed. Since you are following the route of the lake’s water, this out-and-back route eventually leads to Lake Mead itself. Once at the lake, you can swim, fish, or collect shells.
There are places to set up camp along the trail, though camping here would be quite remote. If you’d like to camp, make sure you have the right gear, and pack out anything you pack in to take care of the trail.
17) Arizona Hot Springs Ringbolt Loop Trail – 5.9 Miles (Overnight Hike!)
When hiking near Vegas, you won’t want to miss Arizona Hot Springs. Located at the southern end of Lake Mead, this is a fabulous day trip, and also a spectacular overnighter.
The two sides of the Arizona Hot Springs Loop are decidedly different; the north side follows a deep wash canyon, the other an exposed, mountainous route. Both lead down to the Colorado River, where you can set up camp against the cool waters. There are pit toilets there, and the main attraction- hot springs.
The hot springs vary in temperature, and are relaxing and healing to soak in during a day of adventure. When you’re not resting, you’ll love exploring the slot canyons all around. Water flows from the springs throughout the paths, making the whole area feel like a natural waterpark.
This hike is best done in spring and fall months. In the summer, the canyon is closed due to heat.
18) Mouse’s Tank – 0.8 Miles
Mouse’s Tank is one of the most popular Las Vegas trails, and is located just behind the Valley of Fire Visitor Center. The trail is in deep, red sand and surrounded by amazing rocks. Many of these rocks are covered in petroglyphs.
After walking a short while, you’ll reach Mouse’s Tank. The tank is a natural formation that once collected water. Mouse was a Southern Paite Indian who once used the water in the tank to survive for several years.
19) Charlie’s Spring – 6.9 Miles
Valley of Fire State Park is one of the most popular places to hike in Las Vegas, and is sometimes quite crowded. Shorter, more accessible hikes are often full of people, especially on the weekends. If something more secluded is your style, try Charlie’s Spring. Even on the busiest days, you may not see another person here during the entirety of your hike.
This very sandy loop offers fantastic views of the fiery red rocks, and leads to a warm spring that is full year round. If possible, wear high topped hiking boots to keep sand out of your shoes.
Hiking Las Vegas is one of the most beautiful, challenging, and rewarding things to do. With so much diversity, any traveler can find the perfect hike for them. On your next trip to Las Vegas, make sure to plan a day on the trails.
Visiting Las Vegas: Safe Travel Practices
While traveling to and around Las Vegas, remember to follow healthy travel practices like washing your hands regularly, wearing a mask, and keeping a safe distance from others. Due to Covid-19, some activities or businesses may be closed so be sure to call ahead before arriving. Official websites will provide the latest updates on local policies and the status of local businesses.
Please keep your safety and the safety of others in mind at all times. When you are comfortable traveling, please do so mindfully and respect the local regulations. And finally, consider booking a hotel with free cancellation options in the case that you may need to change your travel plans at the last minute.
As you can see, outdoor adventures are easy to find along these Las Vegas hiking trails. So if you’re an outdoor lover, be sure to add this unique area and enjoy all that Nevada has to offer to your bucket list!
About the Author of 19 Day Trips from Las Vegas:
Erin grew up and currently lives in the woods of Wisconsin… but her heart lives out West. While staying in Las Vegas for four years, Erin made it her mission to see as much of the amazing deserts as she could. She hiked, biked, camped, and explored small ghost towns and big cities alike along with her many road trips from Las Vegas. She is passionate about holistic, outdoor living, and strives to share her experience through her writing. Now, she offers services through online content for law firms, education services, and travel blogs.