5 Top Outdoor Adventures in Las Vegas

Enjoy hiking, horseback riding and heart-pumping activities away from the Strip.

By Sarah Vernetti, ContributorMarch 9, 2016
By Sarah Vernetti, ContributorMarch 9, 2016, at 11:37 a.m.
U.S. News & World Report

5 Top Outdoor Adventures in Las Vegas

Trees Against Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

From zip lining above the strip to horseback riding through the desert, there are plenty of outdoor pursuits away from the high rollers and flashing lights of Sin City.(Getty Images)

Las Vegas is perhaps best known for its indoor activities, such as extravagant shows, world-class dining and lively casinos, but the city also serves as an ideal jumping-off point for outdoor fun. From zip lining and hiking to a leisurely round of golf, Las Vegas makes it easy for travelers to get outside and get active. Here are five great ways to embrace the great outdoors in Sin City.

Zip lining

You can find zip lining in most tourist destinations, but few locales offer the unique high-flying experiences that can be found in Las Vegas. If you want to speed through natural scenery, Flightlinez Bootleg Canyon provides four separate zip lines that cover over 1.5 miles in Bootleg Canyon in Clark County, Nevada. If you prefer the bright lights near the Strip, check out VooDoo Zip Line, which takes guests from one tower of the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino Las Vegas to the other. The zip line can accommodate two riders at the same time, making it a great bet for couples who want to share the experience as they soar 400 feet in the air. The most unique part of the ride? After the initial trip, guests return to the first tower while riding backwards.

Hiking

Las Vegas offers a wide variety of opportunities for hiking, from shorter, paved walking trails to exciting, albeit challenging hikes in the backcountry. A must-visit for nature enthusiasts is Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, located just west of Las Vegas. If you're a beginner, try the relatively short Lost Creek Trail, which leads to a small, seasonal waterfall. More advanced hikers can conquer the route to Turtlehead Peak, a five-mile, strenuous trek, which rewards visitors with impressive vistas of Red Rock Canyon. Slightly further afield sits the unique landscape of Valley of Fire State Park. Thanks to its other-worldly red rock formations, the park is worth the one-hour drive from downtown Las Vegas. Another option for day-trippers is Death Valley National Park, located just across the Nevada border in California.

Boating and Water Sports

Believe it or not, there are plenty of opportunities for water sports, even in the desert. Lake Mead, located about an hour southeast of the Strip, pairs well with a visit to the Hoover Dam. At Lake Mead, you can embark on a leisurely boat ride aboard the Desert Princess with Lake Mead Cruises. During the mid-day sightseeing cruise, you'll learn about the lake and be treated to views of the Hoover Dam from the water. Brunch and dinner cruises are also available. Another option for outdoorsy types is Lake Las Vegas, located in Henderson, Nevada. For a unique adventure, try your hand at flyboarding, which involves hovering above the lake like a superhero thanks to a water jetpack. Weight and age restrictions apply, so be sure to call ahead for more information before your trip

Horseback Riding

What better way to channel the vibe of the Wild West than on a guided horseback ride through the Mojave Desert? Cowboy Trail Rides offers guided rides through Red Rock Canyon, with several options to choose from, depending on your preferences and skill level. The Coyote Canyon Ride, which takes about an hour, is a great option for beginners. Those that want a more in-depth cowboy experience can opt for the Sunset Trail Ride and Western BBQ, which includes an hour and forty-five-minute ride, as well as a complimentary dinner under the stars.

Family-Friendly Fun Outdoors

If you are traveling to Las Vegas with kids, the city offers a variety of active outdoor pursuits. Try one of the area's two waterparks for slides and wave pools. On the west side of town, Wet'n'Wild is a popular choice with travelers and locals alike. And in nearby Henderson, Cowabunga Bay is the place to go to cool off when the Las Vegas temperatures soar. Another option is to pick a family-friendly resort with an on-site pool. The JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort & Spa and the Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spa are two popular off-Strip options with pleasant pool areas. Adventurous families will also want to plan a visit to the Springs Preserve. This unique attraction is a park, museum and botanical garden, all rolled into one. Take a leisurely stroll through the gardens, which are adorned with lots of interesting desert planets, or let the kids explore the nature-themed playground and burn off any lingering pent up energy.

Sarah Vernetti, Contributor

Sarah Vernetti is freelance writer based in Las Vegas. Follow her on Twitter or visit her websi...  Read more

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Practical advice on the art of traveling smarter with tips, tricks and intel from En Route's panel of experts.

Contributors have experience in areas ranging from family travel, adventure travel, experiential travel and budget travel to hotels, cruises and travel rewards and include Amy Whitley, Claire Volkman, Holly Johnson, Marsha Dubrow, Lyn Mettler, Sery Kim, Kyle McCarthy, Erica Lamberg, Jess Moss, Sheryl Nance-Nash, Sherry Laskin, Katie Jackson, Erin Gifford, Roger Sands, Steve Larese, Gwen Pratesi, Erin Block, Dave Parfitt, Kacey Mya, Kimberly Wilson, Susan Portnoy, Donna Tabbert Long and Kitty Bean Yancey.

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