If you want a break from the neon lights of Las Vegas, you’ll find plenty of outdoor adventures available to experience within close proximity.
I’m sharing more about the unique outdoor adventures you can experience within an hour of Las Vegas, Nevada.
Thanks again to Visit Las Vegas for hosting our visit. This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a small commission if you click a link and purchase something we have recommended.
What Are Good Day Trips From Las Vegas, Nevada?
- Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
- Rail Explorers in Boulder City
- Seven Magic Mountains
- Valley of Fire
- Hoover Dam
There are so many beautiful places to visit near Las Vegas that are perfect for a few hours or a full-day trip.
I’m sharing more about each day trip option from Las Vegas.
You can choose your own adventure with what appeals to your interests, transportation options, and time constraints.
1. See Another Perspective of Las Vegas From Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is 25-30 minutes from the Las Vegas strip.
1000 Scenic Loop Dr, Las Vegas, NV
*Entry fee to the park
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is a beautiful 13-mile scenic one-way drive that you can drive or bike.
Along the route, there are plenty of scenic stops and trailheads where you can stop for pictures or go for a hike. There are more than 30 miles of hiking trails to explore.
*Check the recreation.gov website for scenic drive-timed entry tickets into the park prior to your visit. (October-May)
If you decide to go hiking, make sure that you bring a backpack with lots of water and sunscreen. You also want to wear shoes with good traction because the sandstone can get slick.
Calico Tanks Trail
The Calico Tanks trail takes about 2 hours and is considered moderate to strenuous. This is a very popular hike and a great introduction to the park.
It’s the perfect blend of gorgeous scenery mixed with some challenging parts on the trail.
The trail isn’t always marked clearly so expect that you might accidentally blaze your own trail at a few points along the way.
Don’t worry, you will figure it out eventually and get back on track pretty easily.
As a bonus, you can see the skyline of Las Vegas in the distance.
*Phone reception may not be great depending on your carrier. Keep that in mind if you plan on trying to use a Rideshare to get there and back. A rental car for the day may be a better option.
Additional Tours at Red Rock Canyon
2. Ride Railbikes in Boulder City
Rail Explorers in Boulder City is 27 minutes from Las Vegas.
601 Yucca St, Boulder City, NV
*Book a tour in advance is strongly recommended.
If you are looking for a unique and scenic experience, I highly recommend booking a railbike tour.
My family of four enjoyed “The Southwest Ramble” railbike tour as guests of Rail Explorers.
What to Expect on the Railbike Tour
This is a 4-mile downhill pedal-powered ride that goes directly on the railroad track.
Guests can choose between a tandem or quad-rider railbike.
The recumbent-style ride is very comfortable and there is a storage area to help secure a backpack or small cooler during your ride.
We started at the station and pedaled to a park at Railroad Pass. You can’t get lost because you can only go straight on the track.
There are chairs set up and large umbrellas available to use if you don’t want to be in the sun
My boys wanted to test our pedal power and pedal as fast as possible followed by coasting breaks.
There is a brake on the railbike to help you keep a safe distance between your car and the car in front of you if needed.
We were the first railbike on the track so we didn’t need to use our brakes until it was time to stop. The ride was absolutely beautiful and we felt a nice breeze during our ride which made it cooler than we anticipated in a good way.
You’ll eventually see staff members who will have you stop at the picnic area which is where your railbike ride ends.
You can bring snacks and drinks to enjoy at the rail-side picnic area while you wait for other Railbike riders to arrive.
Take a Ride Back to the Station on a Historic Train
Next, a historic train arrives and takes you back to the station. You need to allow about 90 minutes for this tour between check-in, your railbike ride, and your train ride back to the station.
Make sure that you check out the Nevada State Railroad Museum onsite, included in your admission.
There is also a “Sunset Railbike Ride” and “Fireside Twighlight” tour available if you want to ride later in the evening.
If you are looking for a great lunch spot afterward, check out Fox Smokehouse BBQ, a 3-minute drive from Rail Explorers.
3. Strike a Pose at Seven Magic Mountains
Seven Magic Mountains is 36 minutes from Las Vegas.
*No fee to visit
What’s not to love about a giant colorful art installation with a desert background in Ivanpah Valley?
Seven Magic Mountains is a public art installation that’s also an Instagrammer’s dream by Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone.
The art installation opened on May 11, 2016, is made up of seven towers of colorful stacked boulders that are more than 30 feet high.
Seven Magic Mountains is located approximately 10 miles south of the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and St. Rose Parkway in Henderson, Nevada.
For obvious reasons, this is a very popular spot for pictures. Your biggest challenge may be finding creative ways to not have people in the background of your pictures.
Otherwise, you can put your photoshop skills to good use, if you have them.
4. Explore Valley of Fire State Park
29450 Valley of Fire Hwy, Overton, NV
*There is an entry fee to the park. Check the park website for updated conditions before you go.
How far is Valley of Fire from Las Vegas?
Valley of Fire is 47 minutes from Las Vegas
View Petroglyphs at Valley of Fire State Park
At Valley of Fire State Park, you can view prehistoric petroglyphs at Atlatl Rock and Petroglyph Canyon.
What is a Petroglyph?
A petroglyph is a prehistoric rock carving.
Hiking Trails at Valley of Fire
- Mouse’s Tank .75 mile
- Rainbow Vista 1 mile
- Fire Wave 1.5 miles – This
- White Domes 1.25 miles
If you want to see petroglyphs at Valley of Fire State Park in a relatively short time, I highly recommend hiking Mouse’s Tank.
Mouse’s Tank Trail is a .8 out-and-back trail that takes you to Petroglyph Canyon. This is an easy hike with a lot to see in a short amount of time.
Why is the hike called Mouse’s Tank?
The hike is named after an outlaw in the 1890s who used to hide out in the area.
This is a sandy trail so make sure that you have proper footwear and water to drink for dessert temperatures without shade.
We emptied A LOT of sand out of our shoes after we were done hiking.
Valley of Fire is also known for the “Fire Wave” hike which is even more popular thanks to social media.
White Domes Trail
We were short on time and decided to listen to the advice of several people to opt to hike the White Domes Trail.
This hike promised to be the most dramatic in diverse landscapes in the least amount of time.
The hike definitely lived up to the recommendations.
There were such contrasting landscapes on this hike that made each new section a delightful surprise.
The slot canyon area was one of my favorite areas to walk thru on the trail.
Scenic Drives at Valley of Fire
If you choose not to hike, you can’t go wrong with any of the scenic drives.
- Valley of Fire Road – 10.5 miles
- White Domes Road – 5.5 miles
- Scenic Loop Road – 2 miles
5. Visit Hoover Dam
44 minutes from Las Vegas
Hoover Dam is located 7 miles northeast of Boulder City, NV. Take US Highway 93 to Nevada State Route 172.
If you are road-tripping from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam is definitely worth checking out on your way over.
FYI – The dam is on the Nevada-Arizona border which has two different time zones. Keep that in mind in case you have plans at a specific time to get back for.
Stop at the Robert L. Mendenhall Scenic Overlook
On your way to Hoover Dam make sure that you check out the views of Lake Mead in the distance at Robert L. Mendenhall Scenic Overlook.
Observe Hoover Dam From the Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge
Start with a scenic view by walking across Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge.
To get to the bridge you can take the shorter route up the stairs or you can take a more gradual route on the access ramps.
Once you are at the top of the stairs, there is a pedestrian walkway on the bridge.
Drive or Walk Across Hoover Dam
There isn’t a fee to walk or drive across the Hoover Dam.
Parking on the Nevada side and tours of Hoover Dam do have a fee.
Where to Park for Free at Hoover Dam
There is parking available for a fee at the Visitor Center at Hoover Dam. If you are ok with walking a farther distance there is free parking available on the Arizona side.
Additional Unique Tours Near Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon
Looking for More Things to Do in Las Vegas?
Check out these articles to help make the most of your visit to Las Vegas.
- Great Places to Eat in Las Vegas
- Tips For An Unforgettable Visit to Area15 in Las Vegas
- 7 Unique Bucket List Adventures in Las Vegas
- How to Save Money on a Las Vegas Vacation
- 15 Fun Things to Do in Las Vegas if You Are On a Budget
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