Nevada might be most synonymous with the revelry and spectacle of Sin City, but the state has much more going for it than gambling and drinks. Outside the city limits, you’ll find some of the most breathtaking hikes in the country. That is if you’re willing to brave the weather to try them.
Fire Canyon, Valley of Fire State Park
Fire Canyon is arguably the most mesmerizing landscape in all of Nevada, maybe even the country depending on who you ask, and it’s also a great hike to squeeze in if you just have a few hours. It’s located about fifty miles north of Las Vegas and houses an endless vista of 150-million-year-old sandstone and dunes. The Rainbow Vista Trailhead will take you straight to the point of Silica Dome, a roughly three-mile hike to the top.
Black Mountain Trail, Madeira Canyon Park
Just outside of Henderson lies Madeira Canyon Park where you’ll find one of the higher trails in the state. The Black Mountain Trail is 5.6 miles to the summit and back. It’s not a difficult hike, but the last climb uphill does require a bit of scrambling that’ll put you close to all fours. The elevation at the top is roughly 5,093 feet and provides some fascinating views of the McCullough Range.
Turtlehead Peak Trail, Red Rock Canyon
The Turtlehead Peak Trail is a classic trail that takes you up to the top of Turtlehead Mountain and offers exciting views of the surrounding Red Rock Canyon. It holds a difficult rating due primarily to the 2,000-foot climb near the end that occurs over a relatively short-range of only 2.15 miles. Toward the top, you’ll have to scramble up 800 feet in less than half a mile, so it’s not exactly for the faint of heart.
Sierra Canyon Trail, Genoa
Jeffrey Pine and white fur line the trails along the Sierra Canyon making it one of the most diverse and awe-inspiring hikes in all of Nevada. The Sierra Canyon Trail itself is a 9.6‑mile traverse that climbs steeply uphill to meet up with the 165-mile Tahoe Rim Trail. You’ll tackle ridges, steep canyons, creeks, and switchbacks along the way
Ice Box Canyon Trail, Red Rock Canyon
For a short, but still strenuous hike outside of Las Vegas look no further than the Ice Box Canyon Trail. This 2.4‑mile loop might not sound like much but most of it is spent leaping from rock to slippery rock and is virtually inaccessible for those without the proper footwear. If you do manage to make it to the top you’re treated with a beautiful waterfall and some fantastic views of the surrounding valley. You’ll want to tackle this one in the spring or fall after a good rain shower.
Mt. Rose Summit Trail, Lake Tahoe
It doesn’t get much more gorgeous than the area surrounding Lake Tahoe and the trip to the top of Mt. Rose is a must-have on every hiker’s bucket list. You start the journey in a field of wildflowers and traverse many alpine ridges, lakes, volcanic rocks and remarkable views of Lake Tahoe as you leap, claw and scramble your way up ten miles of twisting terrain on your way to the top. Remember that snow tends to blanket the peak here well into the summer, so take proper precautions before attempting to tackle it.
Goldstrike Canyon Hot Springs Trail, Boulder City
Goldstrike Canyon Hot Springs Trail is one of the most difficult in the state to hike, with some areas impassable without the aid of fixed ropes to cling to (there are eight in all), so prepare to clamber over some pretty hefty boulders in order to make it to the end. It’s all worth it though when you reach the namesake hot springs awaiting you at the end. Go ahead and have a soak for a while because you’ll have earned it.