Desert. Snowy mountainside. Red sandstone. Flowing wetlands. All this- and more- is found throughout the Las Vegas valley and mountains. Follow these 11 Las Vegas hikes to experience all of these regions for yourself.
Remember to check out our 19 Stunning Day Trips from Las Vegas guide for unique travel ideas around this gorgeous region, in addition to hiking near Las Vegas.
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!
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.
4) 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.
5) 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.
6) 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!
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.
7) 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.
8) 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.
9 & 10) 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.
11) 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.
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.
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.