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Hiking Las Vegas Blog
The bright lights. The glitz. The glamor. When it comes to a Vegas vacation, there are certain images that are standard operating procedure. You check out the casinos. You hit the sportsbooks or the race book. You try out all that the night life that the Las Vegas strip has to offer.
There’s plenty happening in Vegas whenever you stay in Vegas. And no matter which pursuits crank up the adrenaline for you, it’s a sure bet that you’ll find those opportunities either right in Las Vegas, or at a nearby and easily reachable locale.
This holds true for hikers as well. Vegas may offer the peak of the entertainment, gaming and sports world but folks who love to explore nature will discover that they can combine the excitement of the strip with the chance to traverse some of the most intriguing and challenging hiking trails that there is to offer.
Whether you’re coming from Timbuktu, Tennessee or Texas to place your bets, Las Vegas isn’t a gamble when it comes to hiking opportunities. In fact there’s a jackpot full of options.
Whether you’re seeking anything from a family stroll to a world-class climb to ascend treacherous peaks, there’s an all-inclusive trip to Vegas that can satisfy both your need to hike as well as your need to hike the strip.
Red Rock Canyon
Located just 17 miles west of the Las Vegas Strip, the Red Rock Canyon offers the perfect combination or proximity to Vegas and challenging hiking options. There are miles of hiking options available in the area that was designated as Nevada's first National Conservation Area.
More than two million people visit this combination of hiking trails, rock climbing, horseback riding, mountain biking, road biking, picnic areas and nature observing each calendar year. It’s a wonderful way to gear down from the man-made luminous lights of the strip and savor all the slow-paced natural beauty that Mother Nature has to offer.
Whether you want the easy pace of a family stroll, to the daunting physical challenge of ascending challenging hillsides, you’ll find a plethora of hiking options at Red Rock Canyon.
The piece de resistance for elite hikers is the chance to tackle the difficult task of ascending to the top of Turtlehead Peak. At the top of the fairly difficult climb up Turtlehead Mountain, the reward for scaling the 2.5-mile climb that escalates 2,000 feet in elevation are the breathtaking views from the tip of Turtlehead Peak.
You’ll expend a tremendous amount of energy in getting there, but the sights you’ll see once there will make all the sweat and toil worthwhile.
Playing The Field
Seeking a 2-3 hour break from the bells and whistles of the casino? Why not trade them in for the buzzers and whistles of the sports arena?
For the longest time, major league pro sports was something you came to Las Vegas to bet on, not to see. That’s changed in a big way over the past few years.
The Vegas Golden Knights entered the National Hockey League in 2017 and they did so in typical Las Vegas fashion, by doing it bigger and better than any team prior to them. The Golden Knights won 51 games and accumulated 109 points, both league records for a first-year team. They also became the only first-year NHL team to win a game in the Stanley Cup final.
The Las Vegas Raiders are slated to play their debut season in the National Football League in the fall of 2020. It’s the third relocation of the franchise, which won Super Bowl titles as both the Oakland Raiders and Los Angeles Raiders.
Fans of the ring or the octagon can also plan their hiking journey to include a jaunt to watch world-class boxing or a UFC card that frequent any number of Las Vegas casinos.
Dropping A Dive
You can drop a few dollars in the casino but if you really want to take a big fall, the place to be is Nelson’s Landing. If you ever watched those cliff divers from Acapulco on Wide World of Sports and always thought that you’d love to give it a try, well, here’s your chance. And you don’t even have to join Cirque du Soleiel to grab yourself some air.
Located along Lake Mojave, just outside of Henderson and approximately 16 miles south of Las Vegas, Nelson’s Landing offers nirvana to cliff divers. You’ll hike across a series of rocks to get there but once you do, you’ll find spectacular views and for the bold among your party, the chance to jump off cliffs that offer a 30-foot plummet into crystal clear water. If you’re not inclined to take this adventurous leap, sit back and enjoy the show provided by the other daredevils.
Many hikers pack their portable grills and make a day trip out of this adventure. And as a bonus score, en route there’s the eerie Nelson ghost town in Searchlight, Nev., an abandoned mining town from days of yore.
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