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If you ask someone about Las Vegas, the responses usually revolve around shows, casinos, and hotels. Yet, the city offers so much more than the hustle and bustle of the Las Vegas Strip. With federally protected areas of conservation and recreation flanking the valley, a nearby mountain ski resort that feels like a world apart from the Strip, and other hidden outdoor gems, Las Vegas is a wonderful place to call home and visit for those who thrive spending time in the great outdoors.

The master-planned community hosts the annual Tour de Summerlin, a cycling event that offers 20-, 40- and 80-mile courses. The area is popular year-round with cyclists because of its scenic topography. (Photo Credit: Tour de Summerlin).

With an average of nearly 300 sunny days per year, the year-round sunshine makes for happy residents and tourists who can explore and enjoy the desert climate and spend ample time outside. 

For tourists, taking advantage of Las Vegas’ many natural wonders is easy and convenient. It can be difficult to travel an hour or two outside of a city to experience these wonders, but Las Vegas makes it easy to take a day or weekend trip to a variety of nearby adventures.

One must-visit location: Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area that frames the western edge of the Las Vegas valley with spectacular topography. Forming the western border of the award-winning master-planned community of Summerlin®, Red Rock Canyon offers a variety of different trail options at various levels. With 26 hikes and trails to choose from, enjoy sandstone scenery and desert vegetation as you explore Southern Nevada wilderness. Guided tours are offered almost daily. 

Other notable highlights of Red Rock include its 13-mile scenic drive through the canyon that allows guests to explore the area from the comfort of their vehicle. Minimal entrance fees apply to support visitor facilities and upkeep for this world-renowned scenic drive.

Red Rock Canyon’s scenic 13-mile loop road allows you to explore the area from the comfort of your car. (Photo Credit: Scott Robertson)

Rock climbing on both an amateur and world-class level is becoming increasingly popular in Red Rock Canyon. Great boulders and sheer rock faces bring climbers from around the world to experience the area first-hand.

Red Rock Canyon is a popular rock climbing destination offering climbs suited for all skill levels – from championship to beginning levels. Thanks to the area’s year-round moderate climate, outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy the area 365 days a year. (Photo Credit: Rod Mclean)

Bicycling and running in Red Rock Canyon are other ways to see the local flora and fauna. Bicycles and runners are allowed on the one-way scenic drive, paved spur roads, and designated mountain bike trails.  

A stay at neighboring Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa or JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort & Spa are both a short drive to Red Rock Canyon and other must-see locations in Las Vegas such as a visit to Lake Mead National Recreation Area. And while many are attracted to the area due to the bevy of water sports the area accommodates, more than 87% of the park protects a vast area of the Eastern Mojave Desert. The best way to explore this diverse ecosystem is traveling across the open expanses of rock transformations in every color of the rainbow.  

Another top outdoor option is Mt. Charleston. Located about 40 miles from Las Vegas and spanning more than 90 acres, Mt. Charleston, or Spring Mountains National Recreation Area, boasts everything from picnic areas and camp sites to amphitheaters, trailheads and views of Kyle Canyon and Charleston Peak. During the winter, Mt. Charleston offers the area’s only ski resort where both man-made and natural snow support a variety of winter sports. The Gateway is also home to the Silent Heroes of the Cold War Memorial, the nation’s first national Cold War memorial – an incredibly historic and scenic location

If these options aren’t enough to satisfy your craving for the Southern Nevada outdoors, visit Get Outdoors Nevada visit to learn about all the region’s natural treasures.