Outdoor Activities in Las Vegas
Despite being one of the brightest, busiest, and most dazzling cities in the world, Las Vegas is also home to a great many unique and exciting outdoor activities. From hiking to camping to fantastic natural landmarks like the Grand Canyon, and even water sports in the desert, nature enthusiasts and fun-loving families will find plentiful opportunities to explore the colorful desert landscapes that surround the city of Las Vegas.
Red Rock Canyon
Located just under 30 minutes from the Las Vegas Strip, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is an expansive desert environment featuring red-striped mountains, lush Joshua trees, and unique animal life. Here you can find 31 hiking trails of varying difficulty: Calico Tanks trail offers a view of the Las Vegas Strip, Petroglyph Trail leads to authentic ancient petroglyphs, and Ice Box Canyon has a seasonal waterfall at the end!
Red Rock also offers guided horseback riding, rock climbing opportunities, and campsites with reservations. Because Red Rock is a National Conservation Area, prepare to pay $20 to enter with a vehicle.
Just over 45 minutes northwest from the Las Vegas Strip the scenery makes a stark change from sandstone desert to lush greenery. Mount Charleston is a remote mountainous region covered in vibrant green pine trees and is often much cooler in temperature than on the Strip. It’s free to enter and offers visitors gorgeous hiking opportunities like Mary Jane Falls, where you can find a seasonal waterfall to cool off. For accommodations, there are several campsites available as well as cozy cabins for rent that feature indoor jacuzzi tubs. You can even head down to the Mount Charleston resort for drinks, dining, and live entertainment.
Looking to cool off? Skip the Las Vegas pools and head down to Lake Mead! This massive manmade reservoir is a local favorite for boating, fishing, and swimming. You can relax on the beach or explore the nearby hiking trails – you can even camp on the beach at Boulder Beach campground! Nearby vendors also rent boats, jet skis, and even houseboats. In the summer, you can even buy a pass to the Aqua Park, a massive inflatable obstacle course in the water! Lake Mead requires a $25 pass to enter in a private vehicle. If you’re visiting Las Vegas with kids, Lake Mead is the perfect daylong getaway from the bustle of the casinos.
Arizona Hot Springs
Just across the border from Nevada in Arizona (about 45 minutes from the Strip), you can find the hidden Arizona Hot Springs. This loop hike starts on flat desert land and ventures into a unique slot canyon, where you’ll reach several earthen pools filled by natural hot springs. Be sure to wear a swimsuit! Past the hot springs, the hike continues down a ladder, where you’ll pass the Colorado River if you want to cool down. The hike continues back to your starting point.
Known as the birthplace of Las Vegas, the Springs Preserve is the most family-friendly of the outdoor activities in Las Vegas. This 180-acre outdoor cultural center is the home of the Nevada State Museum, several animal exhibits, a seasonal butterfly habitat, a large botanical garden, and many interactive events and activities specifically for kids. Families visiting Las Vegas can easily fill an entire day exploring and learning about the fascinating history and nature of this historic city and it’s just 3 miles west of Downtown Las Vegas!
Ethel M Botanical Garden
You don’t need to find a golden ticket to visit one of the most famous chocolate factories in America! The world-famous Ethel M chocolate headquarters is located right here in Las Vegas. You can visit the factory free of charge and enjoy a self-guided tour – you can even watch the production line through a viewing aisle. The Ethel M also offers chocolate samples and tasting events.
But how is a chocolate factory an outdoor activity? Just in front of the factory entrance is the Ethel M Botanical Cactus Garden. You can enjoy a peaceful stroll through this 3-acre expanse surrounded by beautiful species of cactus and plants. The garden is also decorated seasonally, so be sure to visit if you’re coming to Las Vegas during Christmas or Valentine’s Day!
Interested in outdoor activities in Las Vegas with a little more of an adrenaline rush? Book an ATV tour for your group! There are many ATV tour companies located throughout Las Vegas that offer thrilling excursions through desert locations like Dry Lake, Mojave Desert, Eldorado Canyon, the historic Goodsprings mining town, the Seven Magic Mountains outdoor art installation, and the world-famous Valley of Fire.
Many Las Vegas ATV tour companies also offer adventures on quads, Polaris RZRs, and other off-road vehicles. Be advised when choosing your ATV tour that most operators require all riders to be over the age of 18 and may have other health restrictions.
Lake Las Vegas
For a more upscale experience, make the trip to Lake Las Vegas south of the Strip. This privately-owned community surrounds a massive 320-acre lake with an incredible 10 miles of shoreline. The neighborhood contains an outdoor mall, great restaurants, and two high-end golf courses. Lake Las Vegas is open to the public for shopping and dining, but visitors must purchase a resort pass to access activities at the lake, which include boat rentals, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards, and even water jetpacks and flyboards.
If you plan to visit Lake Las Vegas, check in advance to see if there are any exciting events or live music taking place that day!
Visit the Grand Canyon
Yes, you can visit the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas in just a few hours with plenty of time to continue your vacation on the Strip! Daily Grand Canyon helicopter tours depart from the Las Vegas area to the West Rim, and even land on the canyon floor. You can also upgrade your West Rim helicopter tour to include entry onto the Skywalk Bridge or to enjoy a boating adventure on the Colorado River. Helicopter tours to the Grand Canyon also feature aerial sights of Hoover Dam and beautiful desert scenery.
If you’d like to spend the entire day, try an airplane tour to the Grand Canyon National Park (also known as the South Rim). You’ll have plenty of time to see the most world-famous sights of the canyon and the Colorado River below, shop, and even grab a meal. You can upgrade your Grand Canyon airplane tour to include a helicopter flight or a Hummer tour to several locations along the edge.
If you truly love nature, then there is no more magical place in the world than the Grand Canyon – making it the most incredible of all of the outdoor activities from Las Vegas!