The Las Vegas area has several hidden treasures. But with most of them being exclusive bars and places to find cheap drinks it’s easy to forget some of the most beautiful hiking trails are just a 15 minute drive from your house. Now that it’s summer and the sun is perpetually shining, it’s time for Las Vegas residents and tourists alike to go out and get in touch with nature.
Hiking trails surrounding the Vegas valley range in difficulty from easy, to moderate, to strenuous. On the strenuous end of the spectrum lies Gold Strike Canyons. Located right near Hoover Dam the trail can take over half a day to complete. There are several instances of hikers having to rely on their own body strength using ropes to repel and climb to certain areas. Make sure to wear shoes with traction, with several natural hot springs throughout the trail rocks do get slippery.
Since it is summertime and this is Vegas it obviously gets very hot. The most important thing is your safety, so make sure you dress appropriately and bring plenty of water. Try to get an early start to beat the triple digit temperatures. Check the weather forecast and plan your hiking adventures on the “cooler” days. Of course, there is another option if you just have to get out into nature.
Mt. Charleston offers several hiking trails. The mountain can also stay up to 30 degrees cooler Vegas. Just a 40 minute drive out on the 95, Mt. Charleston provides a nice change of scenery. Hikers can find a waterfall on the Mary Jane Falls trail while enjoying the shade of tall trees and the view of log cabins peaking above the greenery.
Of course, if you aren’t up for a far drive Red Rock Canyon also offers a variety of trails for a small fee per car. There are also some trails you can get to for free. The one I explored was First Creek Canyon trail. Just a slight drive farther than the normal Red Rock turn off, you will begin to see cars parked and lining the road near the small fenced entrance. Park carefully and make your way down the barbed wire fence until you find the entrance. There you will be greeted by fellow hikers and their pet companions. Make sure you bring your sunscreen, though there are trees and shade on this hike a majority of it will be spent in direct sunlight. I was told this hike ends with a waterfall, but it got too late and too hot for me to reach it.
I’ve just recently tried to become more active and get out and see what Vegas has to offer besides shopping, eating, and night clubs. I’m no expert at hiking but one day I hope to find myself on nearly every trail the area has to offer. If you are hoping to do the same, check out this post about the many hiking trails basically in your backyard.