Guidebook

Get Lucky with Las Vegas's Best Hikes

Instead of rolling the dice on the craps table, try your luck on Las Vegas's best hiking trails!

Greg Heil

Description

The name "Las Vegas" conjures images of flashing neon lights, towering skyscrapers, streams of coins falling out of slot machines, poker chips being tossed on a table, the spin of a roulette wheel, and more debauchery than you could confess in a month's worth of visits to the priest. Sin City can easily snare you in its trap of consumption, with the artificial highs of small wins at the blackjack table and the allure of glamorous big city life.

What most tourists don't realize is that Las Vegas's natural wonders are just as impressive as the manmade ones. If you let them, the towering red rock cliffs will replace the skyscrapers. The sound of the wind over the desert ridges, the skittering lizards running along the ground, and the endless miles of singletrack will whisper to your soul, beckoning you away from the Strip and out into the vast expanse of the Nevada desert. Out in the desert, you'll discover an interconnected web of singletrack that offers hundreds of miles of trails, spidering out in seemingly all directions! One trail connects to another, and another, collectively offering a lifetime of hiking opportunities!

Las Vegas hiking is anchored by the Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area. A national parks site managed by the Bureau of Land Management, this idyllic reserve protects a staggering formation of towering red rock cliffs, rolling sandstone bluffs, and an untrammeled mountain range that forms the western skyline for the local residents. Red Rock Canyon is home to world-class rock climbing, made famous by the international phenom of Alex Honnold, who now calls Las Vegas home in the winter months. But Red Rock Canyon offers plenty of attractions for adventurers with less vertical persuasion. Top hikes include Calico Tanks, Turtlehead Peak, and more.

But Red Rock Canyon isn't the only destination. Singletrack trails are spread all along the west/southwest side of the city. The metropolitan sprawl transitions almost instantly to desert, providing easy access to trail systems like Southwest Ridge and Bear's Best. For red rock views without the bother of securing an entrance reservation, the Cowboy Trails located just across the road from the conservation area are a popular destination.

And these are just the highlights! With hundreds of miles of trails, you could easily spend years exploring the hidden singletrack gems surrounding Sin City. So the next time you visit, let the desert tempt you away from the more obvious seductions found on the Strip and instead, spend some time exploring the wonderful strips of singletrack!

Turtlehead Peak
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Turtlehead Peak

2 - 3 hrs
7.3 km
606 m
606 m
This upthrust rock formation stands prominently by itself, providing an unbelievable 360-degree view from the summit!
Extreme
Private
Calico Tanks
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Calico Tanks

1 - 2 hrs
3.8 km
123 m
123 m
A popular and stunning, yet somewhat technical, hike in Red Rocks.
Severe
Private
Ice Box Canyon
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Ice Box Canyon

1 - 2 hrs
3.7 km
185 m
185 m
Hike up a rough trail into a stunning canyon.
Difficult
Private
Cowboy Trails: Fossil Canyon Lariat
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Cowboy Trails: Fossil Canyon Lariat

2 - 3 hrs
7.3 km
229 m
229 m
A beautiful hike near Red Rocks that doesn't require a reservation.
Difficult
Private
Calico Hills
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Calico Hills

1 - 2 hrs
6.3 km
221 m
221 m
Visually-stunning hike along the base of Calico Hills.
Moderate
Private
Southwest Ridge
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Southwest Ridge

2 - 3 hrs
8.6 km
214 m
214 m
Gain stunning views over Las Vegas from this easily-accessible hike.
Difficult
Private
Mount Charleston Peak
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Mount Charleston Peak

1 day +
27.1 km
1,616 m
1,616 m
A long day in the mountains to gain the summit of one of the most prominent peaks in the USA!
Severe
Private
Mary Jane Falls
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Mary Jane Falls

1 - 2 hrs
3.5 km
277 m
277 m
One of the top waterfall hikes near Las Vegas.
Moderate
Private