As much as Las Vegas has become an incredible destination for travelers with almost any interest, the region around it offers incredible natural wonders. A number of State and National Parks dot the area and beg to be explored. In fact, there are a good number of travelers who come to Las Vegas to explore these regions instead of the exciting city. The good news is that travelers can choose how much of each they would like to experience. The metropolitan area of Las Vegas is certainly worthy of being an end-all destination, but Las Vegas can also be a hub in which visitors can enjoy a variety of natural landscapes and scenery.
Here are some of the incredible parks to explore within a 1–4-hour drive from Las Vegas:
Lake Mead National Recreation Area is only about 45 minutes from Las Vegas. Lake Mead was created by the construction of the Hoover Dam in the 1930’s. Visitors can enjoy a Hoover Dam Tour with a stop at the Lake Mead Visitors Center for excellent information and beautiful views of Lake Mead. The area boasts peaceful scenery, boating and water sports, hiking trails, and much more.
Valley of Fire State Park is just over an hour from Las Vegas. The first of Nevada’s State Parks offers vivid, red rocks and unusual formations. Some of the sites within the park attest to the shapes and natural creations, such as Elephant Rock, White Domes, The Beehives, and Log Cabin. It is a perfect place to drive around between scenic stops to enjoy amazing views and photo opportunities. Exploration can start at the excellent visitor center with exhibits, snacks, restrooms, and a bookstore. Many of the stops offer hiking trails, which can be short 5-10 minutes walks, or longer, more adventurous hikes. The park is visitor friendly with all levels of adventure easily accommodated. Day trips to Valley of Fire are a great way to get away from the city and enjoy this beautiful area.
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is less than an hour from the Las Vegas Strip. Red Rock Canyon’s highlight is a 13-mile scenic drive through the park. It is a one-way road, on which vehicles drive slowly and travelers have the opportunity to stop at different view-points. From some of these stops, there are trails to further explore the area. Red Rock Canyon offers dramatic lines, color variations, and beautiful views of valley and rock canyon walls.
Death Valley National Park is only two hours from Las Vegas, but it’s a completely different world! This is the largest National Park in the lower 48 States and is the driest, lowest, hottest place on the continent! Death Valley is the second lowest place on the planet at 282 feet (96 meters) below sea level. It holds the world’s record for the hottest place on Earth. It is only hot in the summer and offers a mild climate most of the year. This vast park offers unique features such as sand dunes, colorful mountains, slat flats, and the famous Devil’s Golf Course, a strange plain of salt formations that feels like another planet. National Park Express offers private day tours to Death Valley National Park, which include a visit to Rhyolite Ghost Town. Rhyolite features abandoned buildings from the 1800’s as well as actual ghost statues that haunt the edge of town. It beckons travelers to take whimsical and fantastical photos to share on social media.
Zion National Park is one of the most famous National Parks in the world, and for good reason. Its towering canyon walls and lush green valley combine to display some of the most breathtaking scenery anywhere. Whether visiting for just part of a day or for several days, you will find Zion captivating and will want more. There are easy hikes, difficult hikes, and places to just sit and enjoy the view. There is a lodge and restaurant options in the center of the park. A Zion day trip from Las Vegas will allow you to at least view the highlights of Zion and see why it is so popular.
Bryce Canyon National Park is strange, mystical, fun, astounding, and beautiful all rolled together in a national park. Its legendary hoodoos in vivid reds, oranges, and even pinks and purples at sunrise and sunset will surprise and delight visitors. Nowhere else on our planet has so many hoodoos and unusual rock formations. Actually, Bryce Canyon is not a canyon at all but a natural amphitheater high in the mountains. There are multiple viewpoints and a number of trails for exploring. Anytime of the day is good to visit, and the views and colors change according to the time of day and the season of the year. Bright sun rays light up the rocks, snow adds more levels of shape and shadow, and fog or clouds add contrast. This would be a great place to spend the year and see many personalities of the majestic park. Convenient tours from Las Vegas to Bryce Canyon travel throughout the year.
Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most common destinations to visit on a day trip while staying in Las Vegas. One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World is located only 4 hours away from exciting Las Vegas. Over 90% of visitors to the park travel to the South Rim, and only 10% travel to the more secluded and peaceful North Rim. The Grand Canyon offers one of the most dramatic, sweeping views on Earth! Its varied topography, colors, and geologic features have lured travelers and rewarded them well for over 100 years. It is an area of superlatives. The canyon is vast, breathtaking, and offers expansive scenery. It is one of those places that everyone must visit at least once. Those that have witnessed the canyon just once usually long to return to take in even more. Within the park, there are numerous options for lodging and dining. Helicopter rides and Jeep tours are also fun options to see the canyon in unique and exciting ways. The North Rim sits at a higher elevation and therefore offers more trees and cooler temperatures. Due to its more remote location, it also hosts less visitors and never feels crowded. The road to the North Rim is open from May to October, since its elevation makes it impassible during the winter months. No matter which section of the Grand Canyon you visit, it is sure to please and amaze you.