Beyond the Bright Lights: The Best Las Vegas Road Trips for Adventure Seekers
In this article of the top Las Vegas Road Trips, you’ll find links, distances and videos to help you with your planning.
Las Vegas, Nevada is known as the entertainment capital of the world and often finds its way into the itinerary of U.S. road trippers who are looking for a great time. Whether for the thrills of the tables, or the open roads, a Las Vegas road trip has a lot to offer! You can take a stroll down one of the most famous strips on the planet, walk through the grandest entrances to the biggest casinos in the world and party until the sun comes up. Or, hit the road to experience some road trip nirvana at any number of nearby destinations. One of the main advantages of traveling to Las Vegas by car is that you never really have to stay in one place for too long. The roads are the only limit.
Las Vegas actually makes for an awesome road trip home base. The city is surrounded by breathtaking scenery and unique destinations that you can drive to in just a couple hours or less. Here are some of my top Las Vegas Road Trips to consider.
Valley of Fire State Park is one of the best Las Vegas Road Trips not to miss
Located just an hour northeast of Sin City, Valley of Fire is one of my favorite Las Vegas road trips. This place is aptly named because the ancient sandstone formations often look like they are literally on fire when the sun is low on the horizon. The red rocky landscape feels a bit like standing on Mars, which is probably the reason why scenes from Total Recall were shot there. You’ll want to keep your eye out for drawings in the stone, which are known as petroglyphs. For the scenic route from Las Vegas, take 147 and then 167 through the Lake Mead National Park. If you’re in the north end of the city, you can take I-15 out of town and turn onto Valley of Fire road. Click the following link for a dedicated post and video on Valley of Fire State Park.
Mileage: 45-60 miles depending on which direction and area of the city you are located.
Red Rock Canyon is a nearby Road Trip to take when visiting the Strip
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is truly an amazing place to visit, it offers some of the most breathtaking scenery in the American Southwest. The area features towering red sandstone peaks, vibrant rock formations, and colorful desert landscapes that are sure to leave a lasting impression. With a 13-mile scenic drive, visitors can take in the panoramic views from the comfort of their car or hop out to hike and explore the many trails in the area, each providing a unique perspective of the natural wonder.
Rock climbing is also popular in the conservation area with the park offering a range of routes for all skill levels. The park is also home to a diverse array of wildlife, including bighorn sheep, desert tortoises, and a wide variety of birds, making it a great destination for wildlife viewing. With its natural beauty, recreational opportunities, and access to the great outdoors, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is a must-visit destination for anyone visiting Las Vegas.
Mileage: Just 15 miles from Vegas and about a 20 minute drive.
Boulder City, Nevada
Boulder City, Nevada is a charming and idyllic community perched above Lake Mead and the dam that created the town. Established in 1931 to house the builders of Boulder Dam (later changed to Hoover Dam), Boulder City is not far from its neighbor known for glittering neon lights and high stakes gaming. While just 30 miles from Las Vegas, Boulder City is a world away from the city that never sleeps. There are no bright lights or gambling allowed in Boulder City. Instead, it’s a peaceful place to stroll the streets and visit vintage shops, antique stores, peruse the public art or its many parks. Boulder City is the gateway to many nearby activities, from the Hoover Dam, water sports, lake tours, ghost towns to hiking trails and more. Click the following link for more information on visiting Boulder City, complete with restaurant and hotel recommendations, top sites to see in historic downtown and much more.
Mileage: 26 Miles, about a half hour drive
Las Vegas Road Trips to Escape the Heat…Head up Mt. Charleston
If you want to escape the desert heat, or want to play in the snow during the winter months, head up to Mt. Charleston, also known as Charleston Peak. This massive mountain is located in the Spring Mountains range just 40 miles from Las Vegas. It is the highest peak in the range and the eighth highest mountain in Nevada, with an elevation of nearly 12,000 feet. This is a popular place for hiking, camping, and skiing. The area around the mountain is home to the Lee Canyon ski resort, which offers skiing and snowboarding in the winter, and hiking and picnicking in the summer. The mountain also includes a number of campgrounds and picnic areas, as well as the Mt. Charleston Lodge, a popular spot for relaxation and dining.
Mileage: 39 Miles, about 45 minutes
Vegas Road Trip to Hoover Dam
The Hoover Dam is a marvel of modern engineering located about 30 miles southeast of Vegas. The dam was completed in 1935 and was a major achievement of the Great Depression era. It stands 726 feet tall and it is considered an important source of hydroelectric power and water resource for the western part of the U.S. Visitors can take a tour of the dam and its power plant to learn about its history and construction. There are several tour options available, including a basic tour that takes you through the dam and the power plant, and a VIP tour that offers a more in-depth look at the inner workings of the dam. Other notable experiences include the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge which is a concrete arch bridge that carries U.S Route 93 over the Colorado River, it offers stunning views of the Dam and Lake Mead. Additionally, the Hoover Dam is a popular spot for photo opportunities and visitors can also enjoy a picnic or a leisurely stroll around the dam. The Hoover Dam is open year-round, but the schedule may vary depending on the season.
Mileage: 37 Miles, about a 40 minute drive
Lake Mead Recreational Area
Lake Mead was created by the Hoover Dam, it’s located in the Mohave Desert on the border of Nevada and Arizona, and it is the largest reservoir in the U.S, by volume. It offers a wide range of recreational activities, including boating, fishing, swimming, camping, and hiking. Visitors can take a leisurely boat ride on the lake, go fishing for bass, catfish, and striped bass, or take a dip in the cool waters. Camping is also popular at Lake Mead, with several campgrounds and RV parks available for visitors. Additionally, there are several hiking trails that offer breathtaking views of the surrounding desert landscape, the Railroad Trail is one of my favorites.
Mileage: 31 miles, about 40 minute drive
Ghost Towns are fun Las Vegas Road Trips to consider
There are two ghost towns near Las Vegas, both are about an hour away, but in different directions. The first is St. Thomas, which was underwater for decades. That was, until Lake Mead began to recede and revealed the city, or what is left of it. Check out the video below to learn more about this fascinating place.
Also nearby is El Dorado Canyon Ghost Town in Nelson, which is a place that encapsulates Nevada’s wild west roots. This is a privately owned ghost town available to pursue on your own, or you can take a tour, which includes a look at the Techatticup Mine that once produced millions in precious metals.
The town was established in the late 19th century, during the height of the gold and silver mining boom in the area. The El Dorado Canyon Mine was the main source of income for the town, and it produced gold and silver for several decades.
Today, the ghost town is a popular destination for history buffs and tourists interested in the mining history of Nevada. Visitors can tour the remnants of the old mine, as well as see the remains of the town’s buildings, including an old jail and a schoolhouse. The town also has a small museum displaying artifacts from the town’s history. Despite the harsh desert environment, the ghost town is well preserved and gives an eerie glimpse into the past life of the people who once lived there.
Mileage: 60 miles from Vegas, just over an hour drive
Death Valley National Park is one of the most popular Las Vegas Road Trips
A visit to Nevada wouldn’t be complete without a road trip through Death Valley National Park. This awesome place is the hottest, driest, and lowest place in North America, which doesn’t sound too appealing, but it truly is a stunning place for those hardy enough to hack it. The three-million-acre park is home to gold mines, ghost towns, jagged salt formations, volcanic craters, and dried up lakes.
You can reach Death Valley from Las Vegas by taking the US-95 and then the CA-190 into the park. From there, you can get information from the visitor’s center and plan your route. There’s so much to see, that it’s almost definitely worth camping overnight at Furnace Creek to give yourself enough time to soak it up. If you want to extend your trip even further, you can carry on through Death Valley to Yosemite!
Mileage: 125 Miles, about a 2 hour drive
Seven Magic Mountains is a Colorful Roadside Attraction
Seven Magic Mountains is an incredible art installation located just 10 miles south of Las Vegas. The installation consists of seven towering neon-painted stone pillars, each over 30 feet tall. Created by Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone, the installation was completed in 2016 and is intended to serve as a reminder of the natural beauty of the desert and the ways in which human civilization can harmoniously coexist with it. The Seven Magic Mountains are made of locally-sourced boulders and painted with vibrant day-glo colors. They have become a popular spot for tourists and locals alike, who come to take photos and enjoy the desert views. Click the following link to get details and watch a video on Seven Magic Mountains.
Mileage: 26 Miles, about a half hour drive
Outdoor fun in Blue Diamond
Blue Diamond is a small community located in the foothills of the Spring Mountains, in Clark County, Nevada. It is situated about 20 miles southwest of Las Vegas, and is known for its rural atmosphere and proximity to outdoor recreational activities. The town is home to the Blue Diamond Hill Gypsum mine, which is one of the largest open pit gypsum mines in the world. The town has very limited services and amenities, but it’s a perfect place for outdoor activities like hiking, mountain bike riding, rock climbing, and off-roading.
Mileage: 28 Miles, about half an hour drive
Zzyzx – A Vegas road trip stop en route to Los Angeles
Zzyzx is a desert oasis located about two hours from Las Vegas. It is home to the Zzyzx Mineral Springs where there was once a health spa, which was once used as a stopover for travelers on their way to Los Angeles. Today, visitors can explore the surrounding Mojave Desert, and learn about the history of the area. The drive from Las Vegas to Zzyzx is also a scenic one, taking you through the rugged and beautiful landscape of Southern Nevada.
Mileage: 105 Miles, about an hour and a half drive
If you have any Las Vegas Road Trips you would recommend, please leave a comment below. If you have any questions about doing a road trip from Las Vegas, leave a comment below. So, until next time, we’ll see ya on the road…