Even though the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Las Vegas is probably parties and casinos, the Sin City is actually a place that’s perfect for those who love a day spent outdoors.
Thanks to its location close to the border of Arizona, California, and Utah, Las Vegas is a pretty perfect place to base yourself and explore some of the best Nevada and its neighbors have to offer.
If you’re itching to get away from the bustle and hustle of the city and breathe some serious fresh air, here are 7 of the most incredible day trips from Las Vegas to add to your bucket list!
7 Incredible Day Trips From Las Vegas
Set just under an hour’s drive away from the Strip, a day in Valley of Fire is a truly fascinating experience. This state park will take you into a world of red rock Aztec sandstone that will make you feel as though you’re walking on Mars, ancient petroglyphs, petrified trees, and landscapes plastered in different shades of oranges, reds, and pinks.
The best way to get the most out of your day trip? By going on a hike! Bring lots of water along and prepare for a day spent hiking in the desert (beware: it does get pretty hot here, although that may come as no surprise considering the park’s name). Two great hikes to get started with if you’re not used to hiking in the desert are Fire of Wave and the Rainbow Vista trails, both of which are relatively simple to complete and provide some of the most exceptional vistas at Valley of Fire.
If you’d rather not break a sweat, another way to cover a ton of ground in a day is by driving the Mouse’s Tank Road, which will give you access to some of the most breath-taking viewpoints the park has to offer!
Despite the fact that Red Rock Canyon sits just a thirty-minute drive away from the city, it still manages to stay a hidden gem in Nevada.
One of the best ways to get a taste of what Red Rock Canyon has to offer is by spending a day hiking in search of canyon views and sandstone peaks. A must-do hike is the Ice Box Canyon trail, which will take you through a striking canyon featuring seasonal waterfalls. If you’d rather explore from the comfort of your car though, you can also take the scenic Red Rock Canyon Drive, which is a 13-mile loop that offers some of the best views in the park, including ample vistas of the canyon systems the park.
Death Valley National Park
Despite its somewhat desolate name, Death Valley National Park actually brims with life. Located in California and just a two-hour-long drive away from Las Vegas, a day trip to Death Valley will transport you into a wonderland of colorful twisting canyons, eerie rock formations, shifting sand dunes, and mountains splattered in colors so lively you’ll think the landscape was Photoshopped!
A few of the must-do activities to get the most out of a day in Death Valley include driving down Artist’s Drive in search of colorful mountains, standing on Badwater Basin (the lowest point in the USA), sliding down sand dunes, and hiking on mesmerizing hills of borax.
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon may sound like a bit of a stretch, but thanks to its tiny size, it’s a perfectly doable day trip from Las Vegas if you’re willing to start the day early.
Red hoodoos are the stars at Bryce Canyon, and the best way to see them is by braving the famous Queen’s Garden to Navajo Loop trail, which will have you twisting your way through rock tunnels, hiking through pine forests, and gawking at the most unbelievable views of the sandstone hoodoos that make Bryce Canyon the incredibly photogenic place that it is.
Another way to explore as much as possible is by driving Highway 12 all the way to Rainbow Viewpoint and slowly making your way back. This road will have you passing by 13 different (but equally gorgeous) viewpoints guaranteed to drop your jaw right to the ground.
Created by harsh floods flowing into cracks of sandstone in the desert millions of years ago, Antelope Canyon is one of those places you’ve got to see to believe. This mesmerizing canyon is plastered with swirls of colors that come to life when light echoes off the rocks, creating one of the most interesting sights in the entire world. The hike to explore the canyon is relatively easy and can take up to two hours to complete if you stop to take pictures (and trust me – you definitely will!).
If time allows, you can also check out the adjoining, much lesser-visited Lower Antelope Canyon, which is just as beautiful but is made up of much narrower passages, making the hike through it a tad bit more challenging but worth every twist and turn you’ll make along the way!
Mojave National Preserve
Think turning sand dunes, ancient volcanoes, petrified lava covering the ground, and Joshua trees dotting every scene and you’ll get a pretty good picture of what a day at Movaje National Preserve is all about! Despite its closeness to Las Vegas, this destination remains pretty off-the-beaten-path, making it a perfect day trip if getting away from the crowds is what you’re after.
Two of the must-do activities at Mojave include hiking up Kelso Sand dunes, which are famous for the noise they create by the vibrations of sand when it moves along the ridges, and hiking the Teutonia Peak Trail in order to see the largest Joshua Tree forest in the world!
Joshua Tree National Park
California’s desert has a magic of its own, and Joshua Tree National Park is one of the best ways to experience its full splendor. Located exactly where the Mojave and Colorado deserts meet, Joshua Tree is a combination of two completely different ecosystems that, together, create a unique landscape that looks straight out of this world.
This national park is extremely vast, but if you start the day early, seeing its highlights is totally doable. On the menu are miles worth of hiking trails, horseback riding, biking, and even rock climbing if you’re feeling up for a challenge. If time allows, make sure you stay after sunset – Joshua Tree is considered one of the best places in the country for stargazing!
I hope this list of the best day trips from Las Vegas helped you plan your next outing! Even though the city is known for its dazzling nightlife, this list proves it’s also a piece of heaven for those who love exploring the desert!