Best Outdoor Activities in Las Vegas
Updated: Jan 3, 2021
Though the city is renowned for its glitz and glam, the Strip is conveniently located amidst some of the most beautiful natural sceneries in the world. Canyons run as close as 25 miles from the casinos, giving the city's largest resorts sweeping views of the mountain landscapes. So while you're planning your next trip to Vegas, don't forget to make time for nature.
7 Magic Mountains
I've always been so fascinated by these saturated not-so-little rocks. While many look at them as a pretty photo backdrop, it's important to note that they are actually an art installation. The artist, Ugo Rondinone, created the exhibit to highlight the natural and artificial beauties of Las Vegas that unseemingly complement each other. What makes this piece especially intriguing is that you have to walk in the desert to view the rocks, not through museum halls.
I 10/10 recommend visiting the magic mountains around sunset (and/or sunrise if you don't mind the early wake-up). The light hits the rocks beautifully, and the temperature is much more bearable.
Red Rocks Canyon
It's hard to believe that something so large can be so close to a major city, but alas, it took us about 30 minutes to drive to Red Rocks Canyon. There are several signs near the canyon, making it easy to navigate to the visitor booth. If you have no interest in hiking but still want to see the canyons, there's a scenic drive (about a 40-minute drive total if you don't stop). Along the road there are several stops, viewing points and trails, if you choose to hike.
We stopped at the Calico Tanks Trail (which is the third stop on the scenic drive), and if you're going to hike, I highly recommend this one. It's slightly challenging at times, but nothing overwhelming. Families with children over the age of 12 would easily be able to make the trek to the top. It's about 2.5 miles total (~2 hour hike), and the top is well-worth the journey. The peak showcases sweeping views of canyons and you can even see the Strip in the distance.
I recommend making this your first activity of the day. We woke up at about 6:30 a.m., giving us just enough time to make a quick breakfast stop at Eggslut before the drive over. During the summer, the temperature climbs well above 100 degrees before noon, so it's important to start your hike as early as possible.
Downtown Vegas, the Strip + Fremont Street
Walking around the Strip, Fremont Street and downtown Las Vegas is an outdoor adventure in and of itself.
The Strip: Resort hopping is fun, but don't underestimate how large these properties are. The walk from the Cosmopolitan to the end of the Bellagio, which are both right next to each other, is a half a mile. It's worth the walk, don't get me wrong, but don't forget your walking shoes. If you're trying to make a dinner reservation and you're in your favorite pair (or least favorite, for that matter) of heels, just take a rideshare or taxi.
Other fun activities at resorts on the Strip are the High Roller at LINQ, the Big Apple Roller Coaster at New York New York Hotel & Casino and the Eiffel Tower Experience/viewing deck at Paris Las Vegas.
Downtown Vegas: This area is so eclectic and unique compared to the rest of the city, but then again, I think the city as a whole is eclectic and unique. Fremont Street is home to many of the old (but still popular) and famous casinos. From nightlife to dinning, there's lots of entertainment nearby.
God created such a beautiful world, it would be a shame not to explore, preserve + appreciate it.
Explore: the resorts. Each one has done a fabulous job bringing some degree of glitz and glam to the area.The Bellagio and Venetian interiors are all-time favorites, but I've come to have a strong appreciation for the Aria and its eco-friendly strides in the industry.
Preserve: the mountains and canyons. There is so much natural beauty here, and it's easy to get caught up in the fast-paced world of Vegas, but try to remember the beautiful earth around you before you litter.
Appreciate: the balance between the natural and the artificial, the new and the old, the famous and the lesser known. Appreciating that balance was the exact intention of Ugo, artist of the 7 Magic Mountains.