hikes in Las Vegas
The mere mention of Las Vegas conjures an image of hedonism, bright lights and all the endless delights of the Las Vegas Boulevard. However, look beyond the glitter and the fanfare and you’ll discover another side to this stunning region. The nearby Spring Mountains, with their impressive gorges, bright red rock canyons and gurgling natural springs are crammed with fantastic hiking trails, and there’s plenty of natural treasure waiting to be discovered outside the city.
Hiking in Las Vegas is an adventure into a land of fire, passing through red rock canyons that gleam under the strong desert sun. This distinctive landscape is the backdrop for some epic hikes, passing through deep canyons with sheer cliffs, or scrambling over ridges with wonderful mountain views. Red Rock Canyon is the site of some of our favorite routes, with a range of hiking trails that will satisfy your lust for adventure.
Close nearby, Mount Charleston also offers many possibilities for hiking. In winter this epic peak is Las Vegas’ winter sports playground, where visitors can enjoy skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing. However, in summer the cool mountain provides a welcome respite from the hot sun, with challenging trails and breathtaking views.
Las Vegas might not be known as a hiking destination, but we think it should be! Come and experience the drama and stark beauty of the desert on some of these wonderful hiking trails. We’re sure they won’t disappoint.
Top 10 Hikes In Las Vegas
The area around Las Vegas has something to offer just about every visitor, from beginner hikers and families with young children, to more advanced climbers who are looking for a bit more of a challenge. Many of the canyon walks are family-favorites, passing along relatively easy, flat trails with plenty for kids to look at along the way. If you’re looking for something a bit more strenuous, you’ll find lots of moderate trails that require a little scrambling or way finding, many of which will stretch the abilities of even experienced hikers. Whatever your age, fitness ability or level of experience, this region has it all.
- Fletcher Peak Hike: This hike is a fantastic option if you’re an intermediate hiker looking for a little extra challenge. It’s one of the easiest peaks to climb in the park, and you’ll have some fantastic views of the Spring Mountains from the summit. The panorama from the top offers views of Mummy Mountain, Charleston Peak and Griffith Peak, making this one of the best half-day hikes in Las Vegas.
- Mary Jane Falls Hike: This wonderful route is one of the best hikes in Las Vegas and is deservedly popular! The trail ascends gradually to a beautiful waterfall in the heart of the Mount Charleston Valley, with a picturesque, secluded, natural amphitheater surrounding the gushing water. The falls themselves only come to life in spring when the snowmelt feeds the cascade and creates a stunning torrent.
- La Madre Springs Hike: Head for the iconic Red Rock Canyon and enjoy this moderate hike that passes alongside a very pretty river. The steep cliffs rise up on either side as you hike, and there are often rock climbers attempting gravity-defying ascents of the canyon! The views of the mountain up ahead are incredibly striking, before you finally arrive at a picturesque waterfall. This is a wonderful hike, but take care on hot days as the trail can get very warm.
- Trail Canyon Hike: This fantastic route might look steep, but the well-maintained trail means that you’ll gain elevation without even realizing it! You’ll climb up to a high ridge with spectacular views of the Spring Mountains and Mount Charleston, and an alpine vista that will take your breath away. Come prepared as the winds at the top can make it chilly. We’d recommend following the unmarked path all the way to the ridgeline for a fantastic picnic spot!
- Icebox Canyon Hike: The Icebox Canyon hike is very popular, and with good reason! The trail ascends up a steep-sided canyon where you’ll scramble over large rocks and boulders. This hike is somewhat exposed so try to start early when the weather is cooler and there will be fewer people on the trail.
- White Rock Trail Hike: Looking for a place to escape the crowds? Head for this beautiful trail just above the Red Rock Canyon with spectacular views of the La Madre Mountains. The trail is relatively short and easy but you’ll be treated to an incredible vista with the tall cliffs of the Red Rock Canyon emerging from the desert valley.
- Moenkopi Trail Hike: Start this lovely route early in the morning to enjoy the trek before the trail gets busy and heats up in the afternoon. Beginning at the Red Rock Canyon Visitor Center, the hike ascends on to a gorgeous ridge offering breathtaking views over the entire park. In particular, you’ll have a wonderful view over the La Madre Mountains and their sheer cliffs that rise in dramatic fashion all the way to the summit.
- Calico Hills Loop: A visit to the distinctive colored rocks of the Calico Hills is a must for any visitors to Red Rock Canyon and the area around Las Vegas. This short easy hike is perfect for families as the trail is relatively easy and there’s plenty to look at along the way. Gaze on the sweeping plain that leads all the way to the La Madre Mountains and admire the deep red rock of the Calico Hills.
- Cathedral Rock Trail: This popular hike in the Spring Mountains offers some of the most stunning views of the park without requiring you to expend too much energy. The trail is well maintained and easy to follow, with a series of easy switchbacks towards the summit of Cathedral Rock. The vista from the top is simply spectacular, taking in the Old Town, Charleston Peak and Griffith Peak.
- Calico Tanks Trail Hike: Departing from the picturesque Sandstone Quarry, this trail passes through a narrow canyon all the way to the pretty spring at the end. Some route finding and scrambling is required, but this simply adds to the fun of the hike, and the tall walls of the canyon mean that it’s difficult to really lose your way. This is one of our favorite short hikes in Las Vegas.
When Is The Best Time To Hike In Las Vegas?
The area around Las Vegas is a year-round hiking destination, so whatever time of year you visit, you should be able to find a good hiking trail to suit you. Having said that, we think that the best time to go hiking in Las Vegas is in early spring or autumn, when the weather is cool and the trails are quiet. In spring and autumn you can expect clear skies, plenty of sunshine and moderate temperatures. In winter, you may find many of the trails are covered in snow, especially around Red Rock and Mount Charleston. On the other hand, in the peak of summer hiking can be difficult as the weather is very dry and warm, and some of the more exposed trails can get very hot. If you’re hiking in the warmer months, make sure to get up early and complete your hike before the summer sun heats up the trail.
Other Outdoor Activities In Las Vegas
Las Vegas may be known as a party city, but head out of the city and you’ll find plenty of other outdoor activities on offer! In addition to hiking and backpacking, the area around Red Rock and Mount Charleston is fantastic for horse riding, mountain biking, rock climbing, and bouldering. You’ll also find opportunities for rafting and canyoning, and in winter, Mount Charleston turns into a stellar ski resort. There’s a little something here for everyone.
How To Plan A Trip To Las Vegas
Ready to leave behind the bright lights of the city and immerse yourself in the spectacular nature around Las Vegas? We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to Red Rock and Mount Charleston that will help you navigate the area and plan your trip to perfection. You’ll find advice on where to stay, things to see and do, and plenty of insider tips on the best hiking trails. Forget the casinos and clubs – head out into the desert to see some of Las Vegas’ real treasures!
Frequently-Asked-Questions About Las Vegas
How far is Red Rocks from Las Vegas?
Red Rock Canyon is located around 40.2km from Las Vegas, making it an easy day trip if you’re staying in the city.
Which is better, Valley of Fire or Red Rock Canyon?
The area around Las Vegas boasts some truly stunning, dramatic scenery. There are so many excellent trails in and around Red Rock Canyon, and we think it’s one of the best places close to the city to go hiking. However, travel a little further and you’ll soon reach the Valley of Fire, another extraordinary state park in Nevada. Both of these spots are simply stunning. Our top tip? Plan to stay for at least a few days so you can visit them both!
How much does it cost to go to Red Rock Canyon?
In order to visit the Red Rock Canyon, you must pay a fee at the entrance to the park. As of 2020, the fees are $15 per car, $10 for motorcyclists and $5 for cyclists and hikers.
What are the mountains in Vegas called?
The range of peaks that can be found to the west of Las Vegas are known as the Spring Mountains, named for the number of natural springs that can be found within them.
How tall is Mount Charleston?
Mount Charleston sits at an elevation of 5845.1km and is the highest peak in the Spring Mountains. It is also known as Nuvagantu, which literally translates to ‘where the snow sits’.
Does Mount Charleston have bears?
There are no bears known to inhabit the Spring Mountains.
The best hikes in Las Vegas
Are we missing your favourite hike?
Tell us! If you've got photos, a GPS track and know the hike, we'd love to share your favourite hike with the rest of the 10Adventures community.