Las Vegas – 5 nature places less than 1 hour off ‘The Strip’

Las Vegas is one of the most vibrant cities in the world.
But did you know that there are many beautiful places just a stone throw away from The Strip to relax, unwind and enjoy nature as great day-trips?
So if you want to take a break from the noise and the lights of Sin City, follow us and discover recreational areas like the Floyd Lamb Park, Spring Mountain Ranch, Red Rock Canyon State Park or the Valley of Fire.

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Have you been to Las Vegas?

Did you like it?

I did and still do, and I’ve been there numerous times. Usually, my stays lasted between 2 and 7 days, mainly as a stop during US road trips.

As much as I love this vibrant and unique city, sometimes it feels good to explore the surrounding and take a break from the noise and lights.

If you feel the same or just want an inspiration what to visit during your Las Vegas / US road trip, this post is for you.

Here are 5 places that are less than 1 hour away from the Las Vegas Boulevard (‘The Strip’) and that are the perfect spot for some peaceful and quiet hours.

Some of these places you might never have heard about, like the Floyd Lamb Park. Some others you might know, like the Valley of Fire, and we give you more background info to plan your trip.

Let’s dive into it and relax:

5 Places to unwind outside of Las Vegas

Floyd Lamb Park

WHERE: on the northern border of Las Vegas Valley, easily reachable via U.S. Route 95 north

The Floyd Lamb Park is an oasis that offers a landscape that you would not really expect to see in the Mojave Desert. 
The park has picnic areas, four ponds, grass lawn and trees. We’ve seen geese, ducks. swans and even peacocks passing by.

All you need is a blanket, a book, and some sandwiches and you will not believe that you are just a stone’s throw away from ‘The Strip’.

In 1964, the property was bought by the city of Las Vegas and converted into a park. Apart from the recreational part (see Nature & Environment), the park also includes the Tule Springs Ranch and the Tule Springs Archaeological Site.

The park was named after the former Nevada state senator Floyd R. Lamb.

If you want to know why the property was once a ‘Divorce Ranch’ just head over to mundolore and read the ‘Fun & Interesting’ section of the Floyd Lamb Park mini travel guide.

Entrance Fee: $6 per vehicle

More info: Floyd Lamb Park

The Floyd Lamb Park in Las Vagas
The Tule Springs Ranch Water Tower in the Floyd Lamb Park.
Enjoy a relaxing atmosphere in the park just outside of Las Vegas
Bring a book, a blanket and a sandwich and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of the Floyd Lamb Park.
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Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

WHERE: on the west side of Las Vegas, about 30min drive to the park entrance

The Red Rock Canyon is maybe the best-known of the 5 featured on this list, along with number 4.

The name comes from the color of the stones which results from various sedimentation and shifting events from millions of years ago. The red comes from lithified iron oxides.

Even from Las Vegas, the rocks can be seen, as the highest elevation is 2485m.

13-mile scenic drive is a great way to get a first impression. It also leads you to many of the scenic spots and to the majority of the trailheads.

The park offers more than 25 hiking trails of which many provide solitude. The hikes are for everyone, from just a couple of hundred meters to more than 20km, spanning over all levels, easy to strenuous. A trail map can be found on the Red Rock Canyon website (see link below).

Rock climbing and biking is also possible.

Entrance Fee: A day pass costs $7 per vehicle.

More info: Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

View of Red Rock Canyon, close to Las Vegas
Red Rock Canyon is named after its colors.
A stunning scenery awaits you around every corner of the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

Spring Mountain Ranch State Park

WHERE: from the south end of ‘The Strip‘ via State Rd. 160, about a 30km (20mi) drive

The Spring Mountain Ranch State Park is a recreational area located just south of the Red Rock Canyon.

Overall it is a great place to relax surrounded by beautiful scenery. The surrounding hills give the visitors a different flavor than the Floyd Lamb Park.

If you plan a USA road trip, you will love Utah. Read our blog post about the best Nature Places around Moab in Utah:
Moab – Travel Guide to Utah’s Hub for Nature Lovers

And different to the other parks, the Spring Mountain Ranch is home to some of the oldest buildings in Nevada which can be visited.

The Ranch has a very interesting history, which we explain in detail in the Spring Mountain Ranch State Park mundolore mini guide.

The park offers short ‘hiking‘ trails, although hiking might be a bit misleading. I would rather call it strolling. A nice 1km round trip (Overlook Loop) leads to a place that gives you a nice view of the whole ranch area.

I would actually try to avoid this park during the weekends as it can get a bit crowded with families as it has a large green and many picnic benches.

Entrance Fee: $10 per vehicle.

Spring Mountain Ranch outside of Las Vegas
Animals running around in the Spring Mountain Ranch in Las Vegas
Great Place to relax just outside of Las Vegas
The Spring Mountain Ranch State Park is a good place to relax and have a picnic. It might be combined with a visit to the Red Rock Canyon, as it is located just south of it.

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Valley of Fire State Park

WHERE: 50 miles north of Las Vegas Strip, via Interstate 15

The Valley of Fire State Park is the furthest away from Las Vegas, but with a 1-hour drive, still a great day trip.

Many people who visit the Zion and the Bryce Canyon National Park on a round trip, stop at the Valley of Fire before entering Las Vegas. However, I think it is a nice break from your Las Vegas adventure if you are there for 3+ days.

The Valley of Fire is the largest and oldest (founded 1935) of the Nevada State Parks.

It has really cool rock formations, with shifted rocks and small arches. Some of the shorter hikes attract more visitors, especially during the weekends. These are trails like the Petrified Logs Loop (<1km) and the Elephant Rock Loop (<2km). If you are willing to hike for a little bit longer than that, solitude is almost granted. A trail map is available on the website of the park (see link below).

As a side remark, the park also became popular for wedding ceremonies.

Entrance fee: $10 per vehicle.

More info: Valley of Fire State Park

The Valley of Fire State Park.
When driving through the Valley of Fire State Park you can already enjoy the colored rocks.
Valley of Fire has many nice hikes.
You can find total solitude on hikes through the Valley of Fire.
Valley of Fire Rock Formations
Valley of Fire is the largest of the Nevada State Parks.
Valley of Fire is the largest of the Nevada State Parks and has a lot to offer. Beautiful trails and amazing rock formations.

Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area

WHERE: south of Las Vegas, 25 miles away from ‘The Strip’ and easy to reach via Interstate 15

The Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area is not as much of a Canyon as you would expect from its name.

The Sloan Canyon Petroglyph Site is the heart of the area with about 200-300 (depending on the source) rock art pieces created by native cultures.

From about 1000m elevation, the most exciting hiking trail leads you up to the Black Mountain to about 1500m. This point gives you a stunning view over Las Vegas. Seeing the city from there is amazing. Knowing how crowded and noisy it is there, and yet, you are in full peace and solitary here on the mountain.

The Sloan Canyon isn’t a tourist magnet and way less crowded than the Red Rock Canyon or Valley of Fire. Therefore the park is a fantastic hideaway.

The park offers many other hiking trails, which are less demanding than the Black Mountain trail.

The northern part of the park is also open for biking.

Entrance fee: free

More info: Sloan Canyon Website

Sloan Canyon close to Las Vegas is known for its petroglyphs rock art plates.
The Sloan Canyon is home of 200-300 ancient petroglyphs rock art plates.

Inspired to relax while visiting Las Vegas?

When I first came to Las Vegas I found it hard to believe that there are so many great places just a couple of miles away from one of the most vibrant cities in the world. Yet, they are there. No matter if you visit these parks during your stay or before/after. They are definitely worth a trip.

Have you been to any of these parks?

Which one do you like most?

Do you want even more travel inspiration or like to share your travel tips?
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