A large portion of the adventurous crowd in Las Vegas feels trapped inside during the summer months– they feel it’s simply too hot to be outside. That can be very disappointing, unless they know where to go that will both escape the heat and quench their appetite for the outdoors. I chose this topic because in the last couple of years, I made these discoveries and it has drastically changed how I spend much of my time in town. It’s a healthy way to spend time, and I think there are a lot of people who don’t know how close non-desert nature is to us here in the Valley.
I used a Canon PowerShot SDI200 for the Red Rock photos and a Nikon D40 for the Mt. Charleston ones (you can view the photo set on Flickr here). A couple pictures I already had from earlier in the year, but many I took last week.
There are several places to go hiking and camping that are within easy driving distance and suitable to stay at, even during the summer months like July and August. Mount Charleston is one of them. It is less than an hour away from the Las Vegas strip, but is at a much higher elevation. This keeps the air much cooler– for instance, today, June 20, the high was 78 degrees fahrenheit. The lowest hike on Mt. Charleston has a trailhead at about 7,000 ft. The trails range from one mile round-trip to 13 miles round-trip. There are multiple campgrounds up on the mountain, spread out through the trees so that no one feels cramped. One notable thing to add is that there is a completely free campground that not many people know about. 4×4 drive is required to get there, but it is well worth it once arrived.
Red Rock Canyon is another local area worth checking out for hiking. It’s not so high up as Mt. Charleston, so the weather still gets quite warm in the summer– but taking plenty of water and starting out nice and early in the morning can easily solve that problem. Red Rock has many trails, like Mt. Charleston, but it also has something that Mt. Charleston does not– an abundance of bike trails. The cycling community of Las Vegas is very fond of the Red Rock trails. There are opportunities for both the mountain bikers and road bikers.
Several other places to keep in mind that don’t have as cool of weather in the summer but are still good to keep in mind for adventuring are the Lake Mead conservation area, Boulder City, and the Valley of Fire National Park. There are some great Internet sites that give good overviews, ratings, summaries and reviews of hikes around the Valley. Hiking Las Vegas is a really good one.
Whether it is hiking through the forests, biking the scenic loops, or camping in the canyons, there are plenty of places to have adventures in Las Vegas, even in the summers. You just have to know where to look.