The background of this area should be an image. Please use Change Background feature to change the background of this area.
(Can be found under DESIGN tab)
Hiking Las Vegas Blog
A surprising number of people travel to Las Vegas in order to enjoy some of the beautiful surrounding country. That might seem counterintuitive if you’re used to pictures that make it look like Vegas simply shoots out of a flat landscape in the middle of nowhere. But one need only venture a few miles away from the city to start seeing more varied terrain, and only a little farther to start seeing some true national wonders. Lake Mead is a popular hiking destination for instance, best known for being the site of the Hoover Dam; Red Rock Canyon is a popular draw as well.
For the most part, these destinations can almost be considered akin to some of the main attractions of Vegas. Seeking out surrounding national parks, for some visitors, is not unlike trying to find the best restaurants or hunting down the best roulette experiences on casino floors. Just as the legendary casino games and luxurious comforts exemplify the spirit of Vegas, the surrounding natural areas are synonymous with the American Southwest.
Even with there being some renowned natural areas around Vegas, however, there are some that are somewhat overlooked. One is the Kelso Dunes, a breathtaking area nestled within the Mojave National Preserve, which is just across the California border from Nevada. Essentially rising out of nowhere in the midst of a vast expanse of dry land, the Kelso Dunes are higher and more striking than most dunes you’ve seen at popular beaches. And naturally, they make for a great hike!
To some extent, if you drive to the dunes and bark at an entrance to the park, you can explore the area on your own. However, there are set hikes as well. Hikespeak outlines a three-mile round trip that takes you to the top (about 650 feet over the desert floor, which is actually quite high) and back to where you started. The directions to the trailhead provided there are from the west, assuming a visitor is driving from Barstow. But the coordinates are provided as well, which should make it easy to reach from Las Vegas as well.
Once there, you face a straightforward but still relatively challenging hike. Walking on sand always involves a little bit of resistance, and though the climb is gradual, 650 feet on a dune is no joke. Nevertheless, it’s well worth the trip. You’ll get a nice workout, you’ll climb on some of the biggest dunes you’ll ever see in your life, and you’ll enjoy awesome views of the surrounding desert. It’s certainly a nice way to mix it up in the midst of a trip to Las Vegas.
Branch Whitney is the author of Hiking Las Vegas and creator of the 52 Peak Club where members hike to the best 52 Peaks around Las Vegas, NV