TravelDestinationsNorth America

Las Vegas Is Full of Adventures

Luckily for you, these involve no slot machines—only glassy waters for paddling and natural playgrounds for climbing

It's easy to double down on outdoor adventure in Las Vegas (Photo: Jacob Thomas)
It's easy to double down on outdoor adventure in Las Vegas

As the country begins to reopen, we'll keep publishing news to help you navigate the state of travel today (like whether travel insurance covers the coronavirus), as well as stories about places for you to put on your bucket list once it's safe to start going more far-flung.

Las Vegas has a reputation for keeping secrets. But the best-kept one of all has to be the top-notch rock climbing, mountain biking, trail running, and paddleboarding just minutes from the strip.

Red Rock Canyon ­National Conservation Area

More than 2,000 sandstone bouldering routes less than 30 minutes from the craps tables at Mandalay Bay. Try Pork Chop, a classic V3 boulder problem, or Dream of Wild Turkeys, a ten-pitch moderate trad route. 

Lake Mead 

The average annual high in Vegas is 80 degrees. Cool off by exploring the islands and beaches of Boulder Basin on a paddleboard.

Bootleg Canyon 

Vegas’s other man-made ­wonder: more than 35 miles of flow trails and technical singletrack for mountain bikers just southeast of the city. Find speed, sweeping turns, some air, and a bit of exposure on the 1.5-mile POW Trail. 

Yoga at the Mirage Hotel 

The Mirage’s “underwater” studio shares a glass wall with a dolphin tank. Yeah, at $50 it’s expensive—and total Vegas kitsch—but how often do you get to dolphin-pose with actual dolphins? 

Las Vegas Cyclery 

This LEED platinum-certified shop has bikes galore and guides to lead you on multi-day adventures. You can even demo a new steed on the trail circling the property. 

Mount Charleston Wilderness 

This 56,600-acre spread west of town has 40 miles of hiking trails winding through evergreen forests, slot canyons, and ice-cold springs. The 1.9-mile Fletcher Canyon moves through a gorge with 200-foot-high walls.

Local Joe: Rob Erekson, Race Director, Desert Dash

Cottonwood ­Valley is really close to town and has 100 miles of trails and dirt roads that are great for running. It’s mostly flat, but there are a few good gnarly climbs.” 

Local Pro: Alex Johnson, Rock climber 

“I fill up at ­Krayvings, just outside Red Rocks, after almost every climb. They do all kinds of healthy juices and salads. I’m addicted to their protein plates with quinoa and steak.” 

Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.
Contribute to Outside
From Outside Magazine, September 2016
Filed To: Las VegasMountain BikingRock ClimbingTrail RunningPaddleboarding
Lead Photo: Jacob Thomas
More Microadventures