If you're looking for a little more adventure than you get in Vegas, head over to one of the national parks in Nevada. These stunning areas are great for hiking, rock climbing, and camping.
The state also contains a number of historic trails and monuments that tell the fascinating story of the American West. You can even go on the Pony Express Historical Trail, which was used by horsemen to deliver mail between 1860 and 1961.
Less than an hour from Las Vegas, Valley of Fire State Park is a must-visit destination for visitors looking for something exciting and different. This Mojave Desert gem offers a stunning array of red canyons, surreal stone landscapes and 2,000-year-old petroglyphs.
The park is known for its Aztec sandstone, which was formed 150 million years ago by shifting sand dunes. The unique rocks give Valley of Fire its distinctive red glow.
It is home to a variety of prehistoric cultures, including the Basket Makers and Anasazi Pueblo peoples. They carved petroglyphs into the sandstone, using a tool called a flint.
The park is also a great place to spot Nevada's state animal, the bighorn sheep. You may even see coyotes, kit foxes and other wildlife.
Gold Butte National Monument, located northeast of Las Vegas, is an incredible nature preserve that stretches across more than 300,000 acres of rugged desert. It is home to thousands of petroglyphs and traces of human habitation dating back to over 12,000 years.
Gold Butte is sacred to the Moapa Band of Paiute Indians and the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe, who continue to have a deep spiritual and cultural connection with the land. Today, the monument protects a wide range of important archeological artifacts including rock shelters, agave roasting pits, projectile points, pottery, and bone fragments.
The area is also home to an array of stunning mountain peaks and sandstone formations that stretch to Lake Mead. Some of the most unique features in the park include Devil’s Throat, a 110-foot-deep sinkhole that is formed from a collapsed underground cave; Billy Goat Peak; and Jumbo Peak.
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is a great spot for hiking, biking, and exploring surreal sandstone formations. It's also home to a number of desert wildlife, including wild burros, ground squirrels, and the endangered desert tortoise.
Located just outside of Las Vegas, the park is popular with tourists and locals alike. It offers a 13-mile scenic loop and a single developed campground, as well as plenty of opportunities for hiking, biking, and horseback riding.
The 195,819-acre Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is open daily from 6am – dusk; fees apply. There's a visitor center that's packed with history and geological exhibits, a cactus garden, and a bookstore.
There's also a one-way, 13-mile scenic drive that takes visitors on a loop through the area. There are also many hiking trails and a number of natural landmarks to spot along the way.
Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in the United States, and is one of the most popular vacation destinations. Its sparkling clarity and scenic views make it a favorite for tourists, families, and skiers.
The lake also features a National Park. Visitors can explore the park’s 575 acres and enjoy miles of easy-to-moderate trails that take them to pine forests, lupine meadows, and rock outcroppings.
Its beaches, rocky coves, and granite boulders offer memorable swimming, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, and SCUBA diving experiences. The park also has interpretive displays that showcase the area’s natural and cultural history.
Located near Incline Village, Sand Harbor is Lake Tahoe’s most popular state park with long sandy beaches, a boat launch, picnicking, and group use facilities. There are also shady forested areas and spectacular panoramic views of the lake.