Cool places near Las Vegas that you don't know about
Las Vegas is known around the world for its casinos and big party scene. But despite the stereotypes, this desert city has so much more to offer. While many tourists end up spending entire time on the strip, they definitely miss out on some of the most amazing scenes that Southwestern United States have to offer.
After exploring Southern Nevada, I have a list of places to share that you should visit next time you visit Las Vegas if you want to explore the city beyond the strip.
1. Mount Charleston
Snow in Las Vegas? Hell, yes! Charleston Peak or Mount Charleston as locals call it is the highest mountain near Las Vegas that stands almost 12,000 feet tall. If you visit Las Vegas in summer, Mount Charleston weather provides a nice retreat from the scorching desert heat, as temperature there is typically at least 10 degrees lower than in the Las Vegas Valley. Whether you want to just relax, camp or hike, Mount Charleston is a perfect day-long getaway from the bustling Las Vegas Strip.
In winter, Mount Charleston resort, Lee Canyon offers opportunities for skiing, snowboarding and sledding. It takes about one hour to get there from downtown Las Vegas, so make sure to set aside enough time for this place.
2. Gold Butte National Monument
If you want to enjoy the stunning landscapes without the crowds and avoid paying the entrance fee, visit Gold Butte National Monument located about 1,5 hours northeast from Las Vegas. Gold Butte petroglyphs are some of the most amazing I’ve seen in the area, so it’s definitely worth a visit.
Keep in mind that this place is really remote, so make sure you have enough water, food and gas before you go. Gold Butte has stunning scenery, but unfortunately, the infrastructure is largely nonexistent throughout the area and cell phone service is scarce. On top of it, Gold Butte doesn’t have paved roads throughout parts of the monument, so going to some areas requires a four-wheel drive.
3. Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area
Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area hikes provide access to over 300 panels of Native American petroglyphs. Some trails are more suited for beginner hikers, while others provide more of a challenge.
The Black Mountain trail is a relatively strenuous 7.6-mile roundtrip hike in the Sloan Canyon. It’s a perfect exercise but make sure to bring plenty of water. At the end of your hike you will be rewarded with amazing 360-degree view of the Las Vegas Valley and stretches all the way toward California to the south and Arizona to the east.
4. Black Canyon
Black Canyon within Lake Mead National Recreational Area is the ultimate kayaking spot. If you've been on Colorado River before, this spot will definitely look familiar. You can rent a kayak or take a rafting tour and spend hours exploring the area. Throughout the canyon, you can find hot flowing streams and warm pools.
5. Lake Mead National Recreational Area
You probably have heard about Hoover Dam. Now it’s time to learn about the recreational area around it. Lake Mead is an artificial lake created by Hoover Dam from the Colorado River water. Aside from providing water to California, Arizona and Nevada, the lake also offers tons of recreational activities such as kayaking, jet skiing, hiking and biking. As you enter the area you will have to pay a $20 admission fee.
6. Eldorado Canyon
Take a 40-minute drive to a Wild West ghost town in the middle of the desert and make sure to take your camera because this place is extremely photogenic. When you take a tour of Eldorado Canyon, you can get a glimpse of the history of Nevada and see amazing desert scenery that draws tons of photographers.
Here you can explore the famous gold mine, take an ATV tour and take incredible photos. The area also has a gorgeous water cove where you can rent a kayak and paddle down the Colorado River.
7. Valley of Fire State Park
The largest state park in Nevada, Valley of Fire is only one hour away from Las Vegas. The dramatic sandstone formations throughout the park resemble the real fire when the sun lights them up, and make your feel like you are on Mars. The area is also a home to ancient petroglyphs, inscriptions in the rock that tell stories of the prehistoric times.