These are the best outdoor activities in Las Vegas.
When most people visit Las Vegas, they don’t venture outside the Strip and may not know there’s a local community of hikers, climbers, and ATVers. Lately, we’ve seen an influx of visitors who are also here for adventure.
After living in most of the major cities in the US, what convinced us to move back to Vegas was the easy access to the outdoors.
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Last Updated: July 30, 2021
15 Fun Outdoor Activities in Las Vegas
If you want to drive on a dry lake bed or see the natural desert landscape near Las Vegas, an ATV Tour is a great way to do it.
We’ll admit that we had too much fun driving over mounds, learning to fishtail, and doing donuts to pay attention to our surroundings though.
They teach you everything you need to know, and then you can go at your own pace. You can meet them at their tour site (a good choice if you plan activities before or after) or they offer pick-ups on the Strip.
Local Tip: Wear clothes you’re okay to get dirty in. You will get covered in dust.
Our first flyboarding experience was here in Las Vegas. We were nervous since we don’t have much experience with water sports, but our instructor assured us that if you can stand, you can fly! He was right, and we had so much fun.
After we finished, we asked the pros to show us some tricks. We reserved it for next time! 😉
Local Tip: If you’re looking for more time in the water, you can rent SUPs, kayaks, electric boats, and there’s even a cable park and aqua park.
You’ll find a few different zip lines on the strip, like this one at the LINQ Promenade, but if we had to recommend one zip line, it would be the one in Bootleg Canyon.
You have four runs instead of one and you can enjoy the desert scenery. Plus. you get to check out the mountain biking trails from above.
Pro Tip: Wear pants. They tend to be more comfortable and you won’t have to worry about your goods showing when you’re instructed to spread your legs. Hiking shoes are always a good idea since the excursion starts with a short hike.
4. Mountain Bike Bootleg Canyon
We have friends who have been trying to get us to start mountain biking. If you love exploring on two wheels then you need to check out Bootleg Canyon.
There are over 20 mountain bike trails for all skill levels, including some of the gnarliest ones we’ve ever seen.
Local Tip: If you’re visiting and don’t want to bother bringing your own bike, there are plenty of rental options nearby.
The biggest reason we moved back to Vegas is that we started rock climbing after we moved away. We quickly learned that people from all over the world come to Red Rock Canyon to climb. Our favorite areas are Kraft Boulders (more touristy) and Willow Creek (more local).
If you don’t climb, some popular hikes are:
- Calico Tank Trail
- Ice Box Canyon
- Calico Hills
a scenic drive, and plenty of picnic spots for you to enjoy. Plus, you’ll regularly see people biking the scenic loop.
Local Tip: Weather is generally 5-10 degrees cooler than in town. Also, most of the trails are exposed, so bring plenty of water and sunblock.
6. Hike or Climb in Mount Charleston
When it’s too hot at Red Rock, we all head to Mount Charleston. It’s the perfect local getaway to escape the summer heat.
The popular hikes are Mary Jane Falls Trail and Lee Canyon. In the winter, it’s the closest spot to ski and snowboard.
We haven’t done much of the popular trails yet, because we end up climbing instead, but eventually, we’ll do them all.
Local Tip: Cell service is hard to get up there, so be sure you know where you’re going before heading there or download offline google maps.
Have you heard of a star party? It’s where a group of amateur astronomers get together to observe the sky. We had no idea what it was until our friend threw one for his birthday.
It was a lot of fun to nerd out and see the stars and planets with their powerful telescopes.
Also, there’s climbing. Do you see a pattern? If there are climbing routes, we’re going to climb them! Our friend and old boss, Andy (in the photo below), has been developing this area for a while.
Unlike climbing with crowds at Red Rock, there’s a good chance you’ll have this place all to yourself. It’s also quite an approach.
Valley of Fire is our favorite outdoor spot to photograph in the Las Vegas area. We’ve been dozens of times, and we continue to take our visitors here.
If you look at the photos, you’ll probably recognize some of them from Instagram. In-person, they do not disappoint and most of the hikes there are short. Check out our full guide here.
Local Tip: The visitor center is a great resource to get started, for bathroom breaks, and a break from the sun if you need it.
9. Enjoy Lake Mead National Recreation Area
Whether you want to play on the water or hike a trail, Lake Mead National Recreation Area has a lot to offer.
You can rent a boat from Lake Mead Mojave Adventures and go on a self-guided tour. The watersports like boating, kayaking, SUP, etc are perfect for the hot summer weather. When the weather is cooler, check out hikes like the Historic Railroad Trail.
Local Tip: Lake Mead covers a huge footprint, so do some research before heading there. We’ll work on a comprehensive guide for it soon!
If you’re looking for an adventurous hike with natural hot springs at the end, check out the Gold Strike Hot Springs Trail.
It’s a fun hike where you get a bit of everything. There are sections where you have to use ropes to get up and down.
Local Tip: If you go past the hot springs, you can hike all the way down to the Colorado River.
Nelson’s Landing is a local favorite during the summers. Thrill-seekers go there to cliff jump while others come to cool off in the water.
While you’re there, make time to check out Nelson’s Ghost Town. It’s a popular spot for photoshoots.
Note: Check the water levels and jump at your own risk. The jump gets higher every year as the water level goes down.
Pro Gun Club has all types of guns to shoot and a world-class 17 station sporting clays course on their huge 160-acre property. To really spice things up, you can also shoot at exploding targets or a run-down vehicle. Everything is customizable.
Local Tip: They can help you charter vehicles, buses, or helicopters to pick you up from wherever you’re staying.
If you love nature but don’t want to rough it, the Springs Preserve is a beautiful 180-acre property with nature trails, museum exhibits, and attractions perfect for the whole family. It’s a great way to spend the day outside with all the comforts close by.
Local Tip: Locals get a discount and if you plan on visiting often, become a member.
Zip, zag, and zoom over rough terrain and sand dunes just north of the city. Dune buggy tours are a great way to get the heart pumping.
The only thing that will slow them down is you (I drive like a grandma). If you can keep up with the pros, you’ll be flying through the desert.
Local Tip: Don’t bring unnecessary loose items with you. They do have lockers in the office where you can store your stuff. It was a bit of a rough ride, so keep that in mind.
If you’re looking for a free, relaxing activity, head over to the Ethel M Botanical Cactus Gardens. My mom loves plants, so she especially loved walking through marveling at over 300 species of desert plants.
Plus, it’s always nice to drop into the chocolate factory to get some free samples. Check out our guide here.
Local Tip: During the holidays (Christmas + Valentine’s) they dress up the garden with lights making it extra magical.
Map of the Best Outdoor Activities in Las Vegas
Essential Tips for Las Vegas Outdoor Activities
- Summers get extremely hot (easily over 100°F and sometimes as high as 120°F). Keep that in mind when planning your activities.
- Cold winters – Most people get surprised that it can get cold in the winter in Las Vegas. It can drop to freezing temps, especially at night.
- Stay hydrated! Whether it’s summer or winter, it’s dry out here and it will catch up to you if you’re not careful. We love this self-cleaning water bottle when we travel, so we don’t have to worry about paying for water at hotels.
- A daypack is always handy when you’re out. We love this one especially since you can add an inflatable camera cube too.
- Sunscreen is a must. Don’t forget to reapply.
- If you want to escape the outdoor heat, check out our Las Vegas Indoor Activities Guide.
Best Places to Stay in Las Vegas
What outdoor activities in Las Vegas have you tried? Which of these do you want to try next?
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“Discovery consists not of seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes” – M. Proust
Esther + Jacob
Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, which is one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found both near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city in depth every year and currently base themselves in Las Vegas.