Best Las Vegas Hiking Spots

If you want to check out a different side of Sin City, skip the strip with its extravagant nightlife and lavish casinos, and instead go for a beautiful and scenic hike. There is a wide variety of trails in and around Las Vegas that you can escape to for some time outdoors. From easy trails popular with tourists to challenging multi-day treks in the wilderness, every level of hiker can find a trail to enjoy. The following trails all have one thing in common, amazing views you won’t find anywhere else, so remember to pack your camera.

White Domes Trail

Length: 1.1 miles

Elevation gain: 177 feet

Difficulty: Easy

Route type: Loop

You will need to drive through the entire Valley of Fire State Park to reach the trailhead for the White Domes Trail, but it’s a gorgeous drive so you really won’t mind. This easy trail will take you an hour or less to hike, but it’s still special. The entire trail is full of jaw-dropping scenery. At the beginning, you’ll see sandstone formations in many hues, like yellow, red, brown, orange, and pink. Then you’ll pass by “the ruins,” the original film set for several famous movies. Lastly, you’ll walk through a narrow slot canyon that’s 200 feet long.

Unlike many of the popular trails at Valley of Fire State Park, the White Domes trail has some areas of shade and shelter, making it a cooler hiking option. You’ll notice a significant drop in temperature when you enter the slot canyon, which is quite refreshing during the hottest summer months.

Fire Wave Trail

Winding road through large red rock hills, with a mountain in the background
Image via Flickr by WasifMalik via CC BY 2.0

Length: 1.5 miles

Elevation gain: 236 feet

Difficulty: Easy

Route type: Out and back

Inside the Valley of Fire State Park, you’ll find the Fire Wave Trail which begins at Parking Lot #3. The White Domes Trail is one of the most popular hikes at the state park and tourists frequently visit it. This is no surprise considering the gorgeous rock formations it’s named for: a striated rock formation in bright colors that looks like a wave of fire on sunny days. At the trail’s end, you’ll look out over a scenic vista that is picture-worthy. As you gaze across the landscape, you’ll notice several other prominent areas of interest, like a striped slickrock inside a bowl-shaped depression.

While this trail is an easy hike, temperatures can surpass 115 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer and there is no shade along the trail. The best time to hike this trail is during the cooler months of October through April. However you can certainly still hike it in the summer, just make sure to bring plenty of sunscreen, water, and a hat.

Calico Tanks Trail

Length: 2.2 miles

Elevation gain: 406 feet

Difficulty: Moderate

Route type: Out and back

At the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, you’ll find the Calico Tanks Trail, which is one of the most popular trails at the conservation. You’ll find the trailhead just off the Scenic Loop Drive near the Sandstone Quarry Overlook parking area. You’ll take the Sandstone Quarry trail from the parking area and it will lead you to the Calico Tanks Trail. Although the hike is only a couple of miles, you might consider spending the night at one of the many nearby campgrounds so you can experience more of the unforgettable landscape.

You’ll see a little of everything along the Calico Tanks Trail. People love visiting this trail to look at the gorgeous wildflowers and other natural flora. There are interesting rock formations to observe and areas along the trail for rock scrambling. At the peak of the trail, you’ll have an amazing scenic view of the Las Vegas Valley that makes carrying your camera totally worth it.

Railroad Tunnel Trail

Length: 8.2 miles

Elevation gain: 931 feet

Difficulty: Moderate

Route type: Out and back

The historic Railroad Tunnel Trail is one of the most frequented trails at Lake Mead Conservation Area in Boulder City. You’ll find the trailhead near the Visitor Center, which you may want to explore while you’re there. Depending on how fast you are walking, jogging, or biking on this paved trail, it typically takes around two hours to complete. The Railroad Tunnel Trail is busiest in the afternoons, so it’s a good idea to start earlier in the day.

As you follow the Railroad Tunnel Trail, you’ll pass through five different historic railway tunnels. You can learn about the importance of the railroad during the Hoover Dam construction and take shelter in the tunnels’ shade when temperatures are extremely hot. There are also exceptional panoramic views along the way of the local landscape and Lake Mead.

Mount Charleston

Length: 16.3 miles

Elevation gain: 4,737 feet

Difficulty: Strenuous

Route type: Out and back

Just west of Las Vegas you’ll find the Spring Mountains where you can hike in a forest landscape instead of a desert. The peak of Mount Charleston is visible from most of the Las Vegas Valley and is a great place to escape the extreme summer heat or see snow in the winter. Although there’s hiking all over the Spring Mountains, many people enjoy the challenge and bragging rights of summiting Mount Charleston. It is the highest peak in the Spring Mountains at almost 12,000 feet.

If you embark at dawn, you can make the hike in one day, or you can take advantage of the camping options along the trails to make it a multi-day excursion. There are several trails you can take to the summit of Mount Charleston, but most hikers choose to take The South Loop Trail which is just over 8 miles and only open from May through October. Parts of the hike are sunny and windy, so bring supplies and dress accordingly.

So there you have it, five amazing hiking trails you can explore near Las Vegas. Here at De Castroverde, we enjoy getting out in nature and exploring the unique and beautiful landscape in the Las Vegas area. There are so many options for scenic hiking trails that we might not have included your favorite trail. Contact us, and tell us about your favorite trail so we can give it a hike and add it to our list.