Family Friendly Hikes Around Las Vegas
Las Vegas is one of those places that you either love it or hate it. It doesn’t help that most people who have never been to Vegas think that the only thing to do in this town is to go to casinos and get wasted at the hotel pools. Although a significant portion of the population come to “Sin City” for that exact reason, people forget that Vegas is more than a gambling city. It is surrounded by the beauty of Red Rock Canyon, the Mojave Desert, and a few miles from the Hoover Dam.
From Las Vegas, you can take a short drive to the Grand Canyon, visit Death Valley National Park, or go white water rafting on the Colorado River. But if you are in town for just a couple of days and would like to check out some lovely, family friendly hikes, here are some examples of outdoor places, away from casinos and slot machines, that you should check next time you are in the Entertainment Capital of the World.
Mount Charleston is a blessing to Vegas’s residents. It is a year-round getaway for both Las Vegas’s residents and tourists. It has several beautiful hiking trails, and in the winter you can enjoy Mount Charleston’s ski area.
One of my favorite hikes at Mount Charleston is Mary Jane Falls trail. It is a perfect hike for beginners and the most popular hike in Mount Charleston. The beautiful trail is well marked as you walk through aspens and ponderosa pines all the way to Mary Jane Falls. The waterfall flows best in late spring when the snow melts. Total hiking distance is about 2.5 miles up and back. Total hiking time is 1-1 ½ hours.
Historic Railroad Tunnel Trail
Considered a national historic trail, Historic Railroad Tunnel Trail at Lake Mead National Recreation area is a great trail for two reasons. A) its beautiful views of Lake Mead B) it tells the history of the Hoover Dam.
We had an excellent time on this trail. The construction of this railroad started in 1931, and the railroad was last used in 1961. By 1962 the tracks were dismantled and sold for scrap. All that remains today are the amazing five tunnels measuring 300 ft. in length and 25 ft. in diameter.
The trail is pretty much flat, and the entire distance from trailhead to Hoover Dam garage is about 4.5 miles. We completed the entire trail for a total of 9 miles and a little under 4 hours.
The beautiful views of the lake, the multi-colored rocky landscape around Lake Mead makes this trail visually stunning. Although this is not an extremely strenuous hike, the 4.5- mile length both ways can take a toll on the beginner hiker. Luckily there are several resting spots along the way.
So next time you plan your visit to Vegas, skip the casinos and head out to some great outdoor fun that’s sure to bring you many fantastic, family memories.
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