17 Absolutely Stunning Hikes In & Around Las Vegas for All Levels
Some of our posts include affiliate links. When you make a purchase from one of these links, The Urban Outdoors may receive a commission at no additional cost to you. As always, we only recommend products and services we actually use - no BS necessary.

While the rest of the world might know Las Vegas as Sin City or the Strip, the city’s best kept secret is its proximity to some of the most beautiful outdoor areas in the country. With sweeping mountains, canyons, waterways, and more just a stone’s throw away, there are an endless number of opportunities for hiking in Las Vegas. These stunning hikes in Las Vegas are a perfect way to explore the outdoors (or nurse a hangover), while experiencing all of the natural beauty this region of Nevada has to offer.

Looking for the perfect gift for your favorite hiker? Here’s a comprehensive list of our
35 favorite (practical) gifts for hikers, updated for 2020!

The Railroad Tunnel Trail near Hoover Dam

Easy Hikes in Las Vegas

Historic Railroad Tunnel Trail

  • Trail Distance: 3.4 miles (can be extended to 8 miles)
  • Location: Lake Mead

For history buffs, families, and just about anyone else, the Railroad Tunnel Trail is an easy, leisurely hike along a historic railroad route near Lake Mead. Historically, the trains that ran through here brought supplies for the construction of the Hoover Dam. Today, the train tracks have long since been removed, and the trail features flat pathways in its place through several rock tunnels. You can also catch breathtaking views of Lake Mead and Hoover Dam, and might also stumble upon herds of bighorn sheep hanging around!

Lost Creek Falls

  • Trail Distance: 0.6 miles
  • Location: Red Rock Canyon

If it’s waterfalls and hidden pathways you’re looking for, the Lost Creek Trail is one of the best and most convenient hikes in Las Vegas for you. While this trail is very short, it’s got a lot to see and explore, and is perfect for families with kids or beginner hikers who want to soak in gorgeous canyon and waterfall views. There’s also a lot of beautiful plant life here, with native cacti and colorful wildflowers lining the trails.

Amazing colors and shapes of sandstone formations in Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada, USA

Fire Wave Trail

  • Trail Distance: 1.5 miles
  • Location: Valley of Fire State Park

Situated a little more than 1 hour from the Strip, Fire Wave Trail is one of the most beautiful spots for hiking in Las Vegas and its surrounding areas. This short hike is incredibly picturesque, with rock formations laced with white, pink, and red stripes that resemble ripples in a pond. Additionally, the trail culminates in a towering rock formation that looks like the crest of a wave. Family-friendly and accessible to all levels of hikers, this trail is a fantastic adventure for anyone looking to explore Nevada’s unique natural beauty.

Photo Credit: M. Orchard (Flickr CC)

White Domes Trail

  • Trail Distance: 1.1 miles
  • Location: Valley of Fire State Park

Running through a unique slot canyon (pictured above), the White Domes Trail at Valley of Fire State Park is a super cool and picturesque short hike that’s accessible to all levels, including families and beginners. Featuring fascinating rock formations, narrow canyon trail areas, and fantastic photo opportunities, this is one of the shadier hikes on our list for sunny days. Watch out for sandy areas, which can often be slippery!

Photo Credit: Frank Fujimoto (Flickr CC)

Moderate Hiking in Las Vegas

Calico Tanks

  • Trail Distance: 2.2 miles
  • Location: Red Rock Canyon

As a local favorite trail, Calico Tanks is a short, leisurely hike through a colorful section of Red Rock Canyon. Lined with boulders, rock walls, and gravel, this trail has stunning photo opportunities and rock staircases that weave through narrow rocky pathways. Eventually, you’ll make your way to some rounded, almost cylindrical-looking red rock “tanks,” which is what gave the trail its namesake. While there is a bit of an ascent/descent, this trail is fairly easy and is suitable for all levels.

Arizona Hot Springs

  • Trail Distance: 5.9 miles
  • Location: Lake Mead

If you’re looking to take a dip in some hot springs near Las Vegas, the Arizona Hot Springs trail near Lake Mead is a great way to do so. Dirt trails lead you through the Lake Mead wilderness, with opportunities to see local wildlife, beautiful flowers and plants, and views of the lake and the surrounding peaks. As a reward for your hard work, you can take a dip in one of the hot springs pools at the end of the trail – the temperatures tend to vary, so be sure to test it out before submerging yourself! Since parts of the trail wind through the springs, it’s advised to bring water shoes and a towel along with you.

Photo Credit: Graeme Maclean (Flickr CC)

Ice Box Canyon

  • Trail Distance: 2.3 miles
  • Location: Red Rock Canyon

For those looking for shorter, quicker hiking trails in Las Vegas, the Ice Box Canyon trail is an easy to moderate option that’s perfect for all levels of hikers. While the trail itself isn’t too steep, we’ve marked it as ‘moderate’ because of the very rocky terrain, which includes gravel and boulders interspersed throughout the trail. While there’s technically a waterfall on the trail, it often dries up during periods of infrequent rain. However, this hike is still worth doing for the views and rock formations alone!

First Creek Canyon

  • Trail Distance: 3.4 miles
  • Location: Red Rock Canyon

For one of the most fun, family-friendly, and accessible hikes in Phoenix, you can’t miss First Creek Canyon. This mostly flat trail takes you through meadows, between rock formations, and ultimately to a small but scenic waterfall. You’ll have to scramble a little bit to get to the base of First Creek Falls, but it’s well worth it for the cool mist and spectacular views. At times, the waterfall does dry up, so this hike is best after some rainy or wet conditions.

Photo Credit: James Marvin Phelps (Flickr CC)

Petroglyph Canyon

  • Trail Distance: 4.4 miles
  • Location: Sloan Canyon

For history buffs, there are few better hiking trails in Las Vegas than Petroglyph Canyon in Sloan Canyon. Along this 4.4-mile trail, you can stop to admire ancient petroglyph carvings on the large stones and cliffs that line the pathway, some which are said to date back tens of thousands of years. They’re everywhere! Parts of the trail do require some light scrambling, but it is generally safe and enjoyable for families and children.

Bristlecone Trail

  • Trail Distance: 5.7 miles
  • Location: Spring Mountains Recreational Area

Named after a local tree species, the Bristlecone Trail is a family-friendly, beautiful trail that offers spectacular opportunities for wildlife viewing, forest exploration, and hiking in Las Vegas. While this trail is a bit longer than many on our list so far, it’s a fairly manageable path in terms of elevation gain and difficulty. You’ll find shady, forested paths that bring you through the Spring Mountains, providing several points for viewing the striking rocky peaks that surround the trail.

Photo Credit: Ken Lund (Flickr CC)

Mary Jane Falls

  • Trail Distance: 3.1 miles
  • Location: Mount Charleston

Although it is short, Mary Jane Falls is a gorgeous, moderately difficult trail that offers a nice balance of forest areas, mountain views, and waterfalls. At just a few minutes from the city, Mary Jane Falls and the Mount Charleston area are both fantastic places to go hiking in Las Vegas. The trail offers beautiful rock formations, evergreen forests, and stunning mountain panoramas, and the incline is graciously rewarded by a crisp, cool waterfall cascading from a rocky cliff.

White Owl Canyon

  • Trail Distance: 3.6 miles
  • Location: Lake Mead

White Owl Canyon is an easy to moderate canyon hike through the rocky regions surrounding Lake Mead. Unlike White Domes (the other slot canyon hike on our list), this trail is much longer and has a lot more diversity along its paths. The slot canyons here are strikingly picturesque, with ridges and grooves in the stone faces due to erosion over many, many years. It’s a fantastic hike in Las Vegas to do with family or groups with varying levels of hiking abilities.

Photo Credit: James Marvin Phelps (Flickr CC)

Challenging Hikes near Las Vegas

Fortification Hill

  • Trail Distance: 3.5 miles
  • Location: Lake Mead

As a lesser-known hike in the Lake Mead area, the Fortification Hill trail boasts breathtaking views and challenging terrain to get to the summit of this iconic mountain. While most of the trail is fairly moderate with gradual inclines, the last mile to the summit has some light scrambling and steep, rocky terrain leading up to the top. The wind can be strong and the gravel can be slippery, so we’d strongly recommend hiking with sturdy trekking poles to keep your balance.

Note: You need to drive an SUV in order to get to the trailhead, as the road to get there is made of sand. If not, you can park farther out and hike the additional miles in.

Las Vegas Overlook

  • Trail Distance: 6.3 miles
  • Location: Red Rock Canyon

Located in Red Rock Canyon, the Las Vegas Overlook trail is one of the quintessential trails in the area, perfect for hiking in Las Vegas. The trails here are quite steep, giving hikers a steep challenge as they ascend to the overlook.

On the way, you’ll catch really jaw-dropping views of the surrounding rocks and mountains, which almost look like they’re painted different pastel colors, especially in the early morning or late evening light. From the overlook itself, you can see out to downtown Las Vegas, but in our opinion, the mountain panoramas are the real reward here.

Photo Credit: James Marvin Phelps (Flickr CC)

Frenchman Mountain

  • Trail Distance: 4.4 miles
  • Location: Shadow Rock Park

If you’re looking for fantastic city views with a great workout on top, Frenchman Mountain is one of the closest places for hiking in Las Vegas. Located between Las Vegas and Lake Mead, this strenuous hiking trail is a great way to see the city from a bird’s eye view. The trail is steep, so come prepared with your best set of hiking boots (with tread!) and a set of poles too. Consider tackling this hike early in the morning or later at night for beautiful sunrise/sunset views and a glimpse at the sparkling lights of the strip.

Black Mountain Trail

  • Trail Distance: 6.8 miles
  • Location: Sloan Canyon

ABCD

Photo Credit: Jorge Elias (Flickr CC)

Charleston Peak South Trail

  • Trail Distance: 16.1 miles
  • Location: Mount Charleston

Taking hikers to the summit of Mount Charleston, the Charleston Peak South Trail is an incredible adventure for those willing to tackle this strenuous trail. This intense, full-day hike is 16 miles long, so we’d definitely only recommend it to folks who have distance hiking experience. A steep ascent will bring you through canyons, wildflower meadows, and rocky outcroppings all the way to the peak. If you make it to the summit, you’ll have reached the highest point in southern Nevada, and your sense of achievement will be accompanied by some of the most spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and landscape.

Additional Resources for Hiking Near Las Vegas

What to Bring Hiking in Las Vegas

  • Hiking boots – You can’t hike without appropriate footwear, period. For most trails, we recommend an all-purpose waterproof boot with ankle support. We recommend Salomon hiking boots or Keen hiking boots for a comfortable hike.
  • Breathable hiking clothes – For warmer hikes, you’ll want to stay cool in a sweat-wicking shirt/tank top and breathable pants, like these PrAna hiking pants for men and women. For cold-weather hikes, we recommend dressing in layers, including merino wool baselayers, an insulated puffer jacket, and a waterproof outer shell. And don’t forget a pair of the best hiking socks in the world!
  • Trekking poles – You won’t need these for every single hike, but we recommend throwing them in your car anyway just in case. We recommend the Black Diamond foldable trekking poles, which are lightweight and easy to transport.
  • Water bottle – Having water available at all times is a huge must. To spare disposable plastic, we recommend bringing your own refillable water bottle. We’re obsessed with Hydro Flask bottles because they keep water cold for hours, but a good old Nalgene works very well too.
  • Sunscreen and bug spray – This should be self-explanatory, but sweatproof sunscreen and DEET bug spray can help you avoid sunburn and bug bites, two of hiking’s most annoying after-effects.
  • A brimmed hat or cap – The sun can be brutal in open hikes, so always pack a brimmed hat or cap for day hikes in the sunshine.
  • Emergency blanket and first aid kit – We’d strongly recommend bringing a first aid kit and a lightweight emergency blanket on every hike. Why? Because the unfathomable can happen, and it’s always best to play it safe.
  • Durable day pack – A durable day pack is the perfect spot to stash all your hiking gear. While any backpack will do, we recommend Osprey day packs because they’re comfortable and breathable for long hikes.

Wondering what exactly you should pack for your next hike? Visit our Complete Day Hiking Packing List for our full list and our top gear recommendations.

Related Links


Avatar
Author

Kay Rodriguez is the founder of Urban Outdoors. She's also the writer and photographer behind Jetfarer. When she's not writing furiously on her laptop or editing photos, you can find Kay running, hiking, paddling, or playing in the snow.

Comments are closed.