Amazing Hikes to Complete Your Vegas Outdoor Adventure
Written By: Burton Miller (Blazin’ Paddles Tour Guide)
Guests come on tour with Blazin’ Paddles because they want to experience the other side of Vegas: the fresh air, mountains and wildlife. If your half or full day tour with Blazin’ Paddles leaves you wanting more outdoor adventures, these hikes are sure to deliver.
Desert conditions are extreme! Please be prepared for every hike with plenty of food and water, research the trails in advance so you have adequate maps and navigation tools, and always practice Leave No Trace.
Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area offers sweeping views of the entire Las Vegas valley, with the best being atop Black Mountain. The hike is accessed from the Shadow Canyon Trailhead in the Anthem neighborhood of Las Vegas and follows a paved path to a retention basin before heading up to the summit on Trail BLM404. The trail up Black Mountain is hot and exposed, but the rewards for those willing to brave the 5,093’ summit are endless. You will be treated to basalt rock volcanic lava flows, joshua tree forests, teddy-bear cholla cacti, and summit views of Nevada, California and Arizona.
Distance: 6.8 miles out and back
Pro-Tip: There is no shade so bring plenty of sun protection and do not attempt in summer
As tour guides, our guests often inquire about the seasons in the desert and are shocked to learn that we get fall colors! All you have to do is head up to higher elevations in the Spring Mountains. The Bristlecone Trail is a must-do for leaf-peepers or anyone wanting to escape the summer heat. After stopping at the Spring Mountains Visitor Gateway for maps and any last-minute essentials, you’ll enjoy a scenic drive through the mountains until you reach the Upper Bristlecone Trailhead. As the hike begins, you’ll catch views of Lee Canyon ski resort before hiking deeper into the woods of quaking aspens and ponderosa pines. At about 1.6 miles from the Upper Bristlecone Trailhead, you’ll reach an ancient forest of bristlecone pines and an amazing overlook of Lee Canyon.
Distance: 5.7 miles round trip, 3.2 miles to the overlook and back
Pro-Tip: To make this trail a loop, you will complete the final leg by following the road back to the Upper Bristlecone Trailhead.
Ice Box Canyon
Many locals will say that one of their favorite hikes is Ice Box Canyon at Red Rock. To get to the trailhead, you’ll take the one-way scenic loop through Red Rock Canyon. Feel free to take your time and stop along the way to explore the world-famous Aztec sandstone, the High Point Overlook or the Petroglyph Panel. Once you reach the trailhead for Ice Box Canyon, you can use the provided restroom and then hit the trail. As you approach the canyon, you will be looking straight ahead at the impressive Spring Mountains. The trail leads through creosote and cactus shrub landscape and transitions into pinion pines and junipers as the canyon narrows. Once inside Ice Box Canyon, you’ll have fun bouldering until the trail that ends at a seasonal waterfall!
Distance: 2.3 miles out and back
Pro-Tip: Bring an extra layer because it gets cooler inside the canyon
White Domes Loop
Valley of Fire is an easy 1-hour drive from Las Vegas and offers a much-appreciated escape from the crowds. The iconic Aztec sandstone found at Red Rock is also on full display at Valley of Fire, offering countless opportunities for exploration and photography. White Domes Loop is at the very north end of the park and has a few unique features making it a perfect hike for families. As the trail alternates between sand, gravel, and boulders, you will pass beautiful rock formations of both red and white sandstone. You’ll also stumble upon a crumbling building which was actually an old movie set from the 1966 film The Professionals starring Burt Reynolds and Claudia Cardinale. Next you’ll hike through a wash that takes you into a slot canyon!