Nevada Travel Guide

In this blog post, I will explore the hidden face of Nevada, away from the city of Las Vegas. If you know me – if you don’t, hi! I’m so glad you’re here. My name is Romane and you can get to know me here – you know that I moved to Las Vegas last year and I’m obsessed with all Nevada’s nature has to offer. I am passionate about showing the outdoorsy side of this state, and breaking the misconception that Nevada is only Vegas.

All the places shown in this travel guide are between 20 minutes to 1 hour from Las Vegas.

Red Rock Canyon

Red Rock Canyon is definitely my favorite place around Las Vegas, and that’s why it will take the biggest part of this post. It is located on the West side of the city, less than 10 minutes away from the Summerlin neighborhood and 25 minutes away from the Strip. 

Even though this piece of heaven is extremely close to the city, I promise you will be blown away by the quiet of this place. I highly recommend going at sunrise for the full experience, you will see the sun rising East and hitting directly on the mountains you’re on, you will be absolutely alone and you will even be able to hear birds’ wings as they fly.

There are lots of hikes and trails, from beginners to advanced. My favorite one is Calico Tanks Trail, which isn’t a loop but an easy to moderate hike between two big rocks. At the top of the hike, you will be served with a panoramic view of all of Las Vegas. Don’t worry though, if hiking isn’t your thing, you can still go to the visitor center and do the 30 minutes Scenic loop drive, stopping along the way and walking around. 

Practical information on Red Rock Canyon

Opening hours:
• Visitor Center from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm
• Scenic Drive & rest of the park
Nov‑Feb 6:00 am to 5:00 pm
March 6:00 am to 7:00 pm
Apr‑Sep 6:00 am to 8:00 pm
Oct 6:00 am to 7:00 pm

• Daily per vehicle $15
• Daily per motorcycle $10
• Daily per bicycle or pedestrian $5
• Red Rock Annual Pass $30 
• America the Beautiful Annual Pass $80
Free for active duty military
Free for permanently disabled visitors 

If you go before October 1 and May 31, you need to make an online reservation before on The reservation fee is $2, on top of the entrance fee if you don’t have a pass. You will have to create an account but I highly recommend creating your account now because it will be useful for many National, State, and Recreational Parks. 

Also, I highly recommend making the reservation in advance, especially on weekends. Saturdays are extremely busy and if you just show up you might not be able to get in for several hours without a reservation. Plus, they will make you turn around and drive all the way back to the city to be able to get service and book online. 

NOTE: there is NO service in the park and if you need internet you will need to purchase wifi.

Additional resources for Red Rock Canyon

Red Rock Canyon official website 
• All Trails website or app
• My instagram 

Valley of Fire State Park

You probably have all seen countless shots of the famous Mouse’s Tank road on Instagram, and are getting tired of it, but I promise you it’s worth mentioning again, and definitely worth taking a look for yourself!

Valley of Fire State Park’s West entrance is located around 50 minutes from Las Vegas, but the visitor center and all the hikes and trails are actually more than 1 hour away.

This park will literally transport you to another planet. It looks absolutely surreal, like planet Mars – not that I’ve ever been on Mars, but you know what I mean – I’m talking wild animals, rocks of every shape and color, red sand, you name it! –

Pro tip: if you’re on your way to Zion National Park from Las Vegas, enter Valley of Fire State Park from the West entrance and leave it from East Entrance! 

To do: hike, camp, drive, even elope!

Opening hours : every day from sunrise to sunset

Some things to see:
• Loop road
• Mouse’s tank road
• Elephant rock – although I find it overrated, at least it makes you go all the way to the end of the park
• Fire Wave
• Rainbow vista 
• Fire Canyon Arch

• Per vehicle $15$10 for NV residents
• Military $9
• To camp $25$20 for NV residents
• Bicycle $2

Best time to visit: Spring and fall, but opened all year long.

NOTES: This is not a National Park but a State Park, your America the Beautiful pass won’t work there. There is NO service in the park and if you need internet you will need to purchase wifi.

Additional resources for Valley of Fire State Park

Valley of Fire official website
Nevada State Parks website
• All Trails website or app
• My Instagram 

Mount Charleston

Even though Las Vegas is known for its wonderful weather and extremely hot summer, Mount Charleston will take you away from the craziness of Sin City for a day. Located around 50 minutes away from the Strip, you’ll get to ski during the winter, and hike in green scenery during summer. There was a very cute lodge where you could eat with a view of the mountains, but unfortunately, it burned down last summer. The good news is their cabins are back open, and the staff work their hardest to still provide breakfast and food while the restaurant is being rebuilt. I highly recommend spending a night there. Click here to book.

Fun Fact: this picture was taken in December, and the temperature was just as cold as it was in Sweden back when I was living there – around 11 °F which is -12°C

Seven Magic Mountains

This place is one of a kind…literally. Less than 30 minutes from the Las Vegas Strip, what are these 7 towers made from colorfully painted rocks in the middle of nowhere? It’s actually an art installation by Ugo Rondinone that was supposed to be taken down a couple of years after its opening in 2016 but ended up staying here for much longer because of its popularity. It was supposed to be taken down at the end of 2022 but to this day – April 1st, 2022 – it’s still there.

Pro tip: The 7 Magic Mountains are always super crowded so I definitely recommend going at sunrise.
Fee: free
Parking: free parking available

Lake Mead

This famous artificial lake located between Nevada and Arizona is only a 40 minutes drive from the Las Vegas Strip. It has been built around the Colorado River, and the Hoover dam is providing water for Nevada, Arizona, and California. Lake Mead is the closest beach you can access from Vegas.

To do: Hike, go to the beach, swim, rent a boat or jet skis, fish, cycle, visit the Hoover Dam, or even go camping.

Fees per vehicle:
• Annual pass $45
• Daily pass $25
• America The Beautiful Annual Pass $80
Free for military
• Camping from $10 to $80 per night

Note: The daily passes are valid for 7 consecutive days.

Best time to visit: Spring and Fall – it gets crazy hot during summer and cold during winter

Did you like this blog post? Well, I’ve got good news for you. You can now download the FREE Southern Nevada Travel e-book, in which I go in-depth with all of the above, giving you extra resources and including a Las Vegas guide as well as out-of-state places to visit that are within driving distance! Please let me know what you think about it below or on Instagram and let’s be friends!


Published by Romane Drake

French 24 year-old living abroad in Las Vegas, Nevada. I teach others to take the leap of faith and live their most extraordinary life. My mission is to guide you and inspire you to travel, get out there and explore.

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