When you think of Las Vegas, you may think casinos, manmade marvels, and drunken partying in the hot desert. But did you know that Las Vegas is surrounded by beautiful and much cooler natural spaces?
Especially in winter, a way to think of Las Vegas is a basecamp, or setting off point, for amazing outdoor adventures.
Below are some of our favorite outdoor things to do in winter near Las Vegas. Make sure to plan and ahead and prepare before setting out on any of these adventures.
HIKE TO HOT SPRINGS NEAR THE COLORADO RIVER
Looking for a thrilling day hike? Check out Goldstrike Hot Springs. Just a few miles downstream from the Hoover Dam, this trail consists of fun obstacles and stunning canyon views. It eventually leads to natural hot springs where you can take a dip and relax from the strenuous hike. At the end of the trail is the gorgeous Colorado River.
Note that this is a challenging hike that requires rock scrambling, at times with fixed ropes.
Want to rough it a bit more? Check out Arizona Hot Springs, just a few miles down the highway past Goldstrike Hot Springs. The Arizona Hot Springs Trail offers scenic valley views and natural hot spring baths to soak in. Though it has some difficult short sections, this is a perfect leisurely winter day hike.
Should you want to backpack in, this trail offers some no-frills camping with very few amenities next to the Colorado River.
DRIVE TO THE RACETRACK IN DEATH VALLEY
Need to give your body a break? Rent a high-clearance vehicle and drive the dirt roads of Death Valley. Specifically, check out the Racetrack. The phenomenon of the traveling rocks that leave tracks in the hard playa is mindblowing. The long drive is worth it! Bring a teakettle with you to leave at Teakettle Junction on the way to the Racetrack.
Make sure you have a good spare tire and that your car rental insurance covers dirt roads.
BACKPACK TO THE COLORADO RIVER IN GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK
Want to refresh your backpacking skills? Try the Grand Canyon in winter. The trailheads at the South Rim may be snow-covered, but the trails clear up very quickly as you descend into the canyon. Not to mention that the temperature gets warmer the lower you go in elevation. Stay at Bright Angel Campground by the Colorado River for at least two nights. From there, embark on day hikes to Ribbon Falls or Clear Creek. Bring cash to spend on food at the store at Phantom Ranch.
If you're good at planning ahead, apply for a permit in advance to overnight at any of the campgrounds in the inner canyon. If you're more of a last-minute person, head to the backcountry office and see what's available.
SNOWSHOEING QUEENS GARDEN LOOP IN BRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARK
With over 80 inches of snow each year, Bryce Canyon National Park is an amazing winter wonderland. Rent snowshoes at Ruby's Inn and go for a spin around the majestic Queen's Garden. It's a beautiful day hike in summer made even more special with snow.
If the weather cooperates, join a ranger-led full moon snowshoe hike.
YAKTRAX ANGELS LANDING IN ZION NATIONAL PARK
You've heard of it as one of the most popular hikes in the United States. This is very easy to believe in summer. But in winter, you may have Angels Landing all to yourself. Just beware because it could be icy! As a precaution, rent microspikes at the Zion Adventure Center.
Pay attention to your footing on this hike. We can't stress this enough. Angels Landing is one of the most dangerous trails in the United States.
For more ideas of things to do around Las Vegas and the world at large, check out these DetourOn travel resources.
If you need more information and directions on any of the trails mentioned please don’t hesitate to contact us! Have a great winter opting outside and happy trails.