Las Vegas is known for its casinos, restaurants, clubs, and live entertainment. Most visitors to Vegas spend time enjoying the infamous Las Vegas Strip, as well as the always entertaining Fremont Street Experience Downtown.
While these areas are both a lot of fun, there’s so much to see outside of these popular destinations. While Las Vegas locals know all about the great outdoors of the Vegas Valley, it may be a surprise to those visiting Vegas that we have so many outdoor attractions.
And with fall right around the corner, the weather here will be perfect for a quick trip off the Strip. Here are our five favorite short road trips.
Valley of Fire State Park
First up is Valley of Fire State Park. Valley of Fire is located just over an hour from The Strip and is definitely worth the drive. Visitors to Valley of Fire can drive through the park, as well as stop and explore the 40,000 acres of vibrant red rocks that, when in sunlight, appear to have a fiery glow.
There are 30 different hiking trails, as well for those wanting to burn off some of those vacation meals. Dogs are allowed at the park, as long as they’re on a leash. They are not the only animals that you may encounter though. The park is also home to snakes, lizards, big-horned sheep, badgers, coyotes, squirrels, and tortoises.
Admission is $15 per vehicle ($10 for Nevada vehicles). Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to explore, as well as pack your sunscreen and water.
Nelson Ghost Town
Next up is Nelson Ghost Town. Nevada, once known for its mining towns, is now home to several ghost towns across the state. These once prosperous mining communities that were abandoned by their original settlers have now become popular tourist destinations.
Of the 20-plus ghost towns across Nevada, one is located just forty-five minutes from the Las Vegas Strip. Nelson Ghost Town, formerly known as Eldorado, is quite a unique experience. From old vehicles and original buildings to mine tours and a one-of-a-kind gift shop, this town is something to see! Nelson is a popular destination for photo shoots, weddings, and even movies! That’s right, and Nelson has been the backdrop for several movies, including 3000 Miles to Graceland!
Guests visiting the park must check into the gift shop and pay a small fee of $1 per person or $10 if you plan on taking professional photos or videos. Allow about an hour to explore and it’s okay to bring your furry friends, as long as they’re on a leash.
Seven Magic Mountains
Third on our list is Seven Magic Mountains. This unique art display is located approximately 20 miles from The Strip, right in the heart of the desert. The “mountains” are actually seven towers of colorful boulders stacked on top of one another and stand 25 feet tall.
The art installation designed by Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone had a makeover in December 2020 to keep the boulders looking vibrant. This art meets nature display opened in 2016 and was only supposed to be on display for two years; however, due to the popularity of the exhibit, it continues to welcome thousands of visitors annually.
Approximately 30 minutes is really all you need to take in the beauty and snap those photos for social media. Parking and admission are free, and dogs are also allowed.
Next is a popular destination all year long. Mount Charleston is a small, unincorporated town located approximately 45 minutes northwest of Las Vegas. At 11,916 feet, Charleston Peak is the tallest point in Clark County. With this change in elevation, visitors can expect quite the difference in temps from the Strip, so dress accordingly.
In the winter months, the temperature at Mount Charleston can drop down to the 30’s, which is perfect for all of the snow you’ll find there. It’s a great place for sledding, skiing and just playing in the snow. In the summer, the daily highs are typically in the 70s, which is perfect for hiking along the variety of trails.
Admission and parking are free, and dogs are allowed.
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Lastly is Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Red Rock is a quick 30-minute drive from The Strip, located just past Downtown Summerlin. Visitors can drive the 13 miles through the park, stopping at lookouts along the way, as well as explore the 60+ hiking trails that vary in level of difficulty.
This is also a popular spot for rock climbing if you’re feeling adventurous. The Visitors’ Center provides an educational component, along with scenic views of the beautiful Mohave Desert in contrast to the bright red rocks of the park.
The admission fee is $10 per vehicle and is worth every cent. We recommend giving yourself several hours to explore, and like Valley of Fire, pack that sunscreen and water. Leashed dogs are also allowed in the park.
Whether you’re a Las Vegas Local, or just visiting the Ninth Island, be sure to get out and explore this beautiful state! For more information on each of these destinations, check out this video, or tune into Ninth Island Connection on YouTube or YurView (Channel 14) Wednesdays @ 9 PM