Las Vegas, NV

3 Exciting Day Trips You Can Do From Las Vegas

Louise Tuck

Vegas is one of our favorite destinations for a reason. That reason isn't the world-class dining, entertainment options or the excitement of the Strip. No, we love the fact that you can quickly escape from the glitz and glamor and chaos and find yourself amongst some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country.

There are numerous options, of course, but here are our Top 3 locations you can get to in a day from Vegas.

Valley of Fire State Park (1 hour drive)

Desert landscapes are always quite unique but Valley of Fire State Park makes you feel like you've landed on a different planet altogether. I honestly couldn't believe this was an hour away from The Strip.

This iconic view is located along a stretch of road called Mouse's Tank.

The park itself isn't enormous, but you can easily spend an entire day here. There are numerous hikes and short walks to suit every ability, but there are 2 things you should take note of:

  • There are snakes. Rattle snakes. This is the desert, and their home, after all. Watch your step and try and make yourself known so that they aren't startled. They'll often be hiding from the sun during the day so it's likely they'll be lurking under rocks and brush.
  • Hiking in the desert is a whole different ball game than hiking in the mountains. Bring way more water than you think you'll need and don't ignore the signs of heat exhaustion. It's not recommended that you hike in temperatures exceeding 100 degrees fahrenheit.

Our favorite hike in Valley of Fire? It's called The Fire Wave. It’s a quick and easy little jaunt that takes you to a desert “wave” formation that remind me a little too much of a creamsicle swirl.

Grand Canyon National Park (2 hour 20 min drive OR 3+ hours round trip by helicopter)

The Grand Canyon is such a popular day trip from Vegas that you can even book a helicopter tour through your hotel concierge if you’d like to witness the incredible views from up high.

This is a great option if you’re wanting something a little more romantic and private (say, planning a proposal) or you’re just tight on time (those buffets aren’t going to eat themselves!).

However, if your goal is to get away from the city and straight into nature for a day, the drive out there is stunning and you can tour the canyon at your own pace.

The closest viewpoint from Vegas is called the Grand Canyon West Rim lookout and its only 128 miles from the Strip. Here you can witness the heart-stopping depths of the Canyon, snap all the photos you’d like, and even pick up Grand Canyon swag from the gift shop.

Private vehicles aren’t allowed into this area, so you will have to take the free shuttle from the parking lot which will take you to numerous highlights along the rim of the canyon.

You’ll also have the option of exploring the Skywalk Glass Bridge, where you have the opportunity to confront your fear of heights by walking across a glass-bottomed floor that exposes a terrifying 4,000 foot drop below you. Don’t worry, it’s not like that bridge in China where the floor “cracks” as you walk on it - a terrifically evil prank.

Want something a little more extreme? There’s a zip line adventure you can do from the West Rim, located at Hualapai Ranch. There’s something absolutely breathtaking about soaring 500ft above the canyon, with your screams carried away by the wind.

Zion National Park (2 hour 45 min drive)

While some people might balk at the drive, especially in the desert heat, we think Zion is always worth a visit when you’re in Vegas. In fact, on a really hot day it’s advisable that you escape the concrete jungle, with the heat radiating off the pavement and the sweaty crowds to explore nature. Not only will it seem much cooler in Zion, there are quite a few hikes that you’ll love splashing around in!

  • The Narrows is our preferred “too hot to do anything” hike. Not only is it completely hidden in the shade, but you’ll be wading in sometimes-waist-deep cold water - which in any other circumstances might seem unpleasant, but not when its 90 degrees outside.

  • The Subway is another hike where you’re promised a cool dip at the end. This isn’t a dry hike by any means and you’ll find little creeks and pools to splash around in as you make your way up into the canyon.
  • Too hot to hike? Zion is an amazing place to try whitewater rafting and there are numerous outfitters in the area who are there to show you a wilder side of the park. Choose which class of rapid you’re most comfortable with and they’ll show you a good time!

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Hi! My name is Louise and I'm a mountain girl who loves writing about everything related to outdoor adventure travel.


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