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The Best Scenic Drives from Las Vegas

Las Vegas Scenic Drive

Las Vegas is known for its glitz and glamour, but there's more to the city than just bright lights and casinos. Just a short drive away from the hustle and bustle of the Strip, you'll find some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country. From towering red rock formations to serene lakes, there's plenty to explore on the scenic drives around Las Vegas.

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is an incredible geological wonder located just 17 miles west of Las Vegas. It is a breathtaking landscape composed of towering red rock formations, vast deserts, and stunning canyons. Spanning over 195,000 acres, the area is home to a variety of wildlife from bighorn sheep to golden eagles. 

The 13-mile scenic drive offers visitors the opportunity to explore the park in all its glory. Along the way, visitors can take in magnificent views as they pass by hiking trails, picnic areas, and even a visitor center where they can learn more about the area's unique geology and history. 

The Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is an ideal destination for nature lovers and adventurers looking to explore some of Nevada’s most beautiful landscapes. Whether you’re seeking thrilling hikes or simply want to take in the beauty of Red Rock Canyon’s mesmerizing scenery, this nature haven is sure to impress.

Valley of Fire State Park

Valley of Fire State Park is a must-see for any visitor to Nevada. Located just an hour away from Las Vegas, it is home to some of the most remarkable and spectacular red sandstone formations in the world. Millions of years of wind and water erosion have carved these formations into stunning shapes and colors that captivate visitors from near and far. 

The park is filled with trails suited for all levels – from easy strolls through the desert landscape to more challenging hikes across rugged terrain. While exploring the area, visitors are likely to spot fascinating wildlife such as lizards, roadrunners, bighorn sheep, and birds of prey – making Valley of Fire a true nature lover's paradise. The park also boasts a variety of historical sites that tell the story of its long history by the Ancients Pueblo peoples. 

Whether you're looking for an adventure or simply want to take in breathtaking views, Valley of Fire State Park should definitely be on your itinerary!

Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Lake Mead National Recreation Area is located just 30 minutes east of Las Vegas and offers visitors a chance to escape the city and enjoy some time on the water. Lake Mead National Recreation Area is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and those seeking to escape the hustle and bustle of Las Vegas. The lake itself is home to more than 500 species of fish, making it ideal for fishing enthusiasts. Kayaking, paddleboarding, and boating are also popular activities on Lake Mead. The area also offers plenty of opportunities for sightseeing with breathtaking views of the red sandstone cliffs that tower above the lake. Visitors can also explore nearby hot springs and experience a unique desert oasis in the Black Canyon National Conservation Area. With nearly 1.5 million acres of land, there's something to keep any visitor entertained!

Hoover Dam

While not technically a scenic drive, no trip to Las Vegas would be complete without visiting Hoover Dam.

Hoover Dam is a feat of engineering genius, standing 726 feet high and spanning the Black Canyon of the Colorado River. It was built between 1931 and 1936, creating the largest man-made reservoir in the United States: Lake Mead. This iconic American landmark not only supplies electricity to Nevada, Arizona and California, but also plays an important role in flood control and water storage. 

Once visitors arrive at Hoover Dam they can take a guided tour to learn more about its history and construction while admiring its monumental size up close. Those who don’t want to take a tour can still experience breathtaking views of Lake Mead and the Colorado River while walking across the top of the dam. Hoover Dam offers picturesque vistas as well as an impressive reminder of America’s industrial ingenuity.

Mount Charleston

Mount Charleston is a breathtakingly beautiful mountain located in the Spring Mountains, part of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, just 35 miles northwest of Las Vegas. It stands 11,916 feet tall and offers spectacular views of both the desert and mountains below. In winter months, its snow-capped peaks bring an added dimension to its already stunning scenery. Visitors can explore its many trails – ranging from easy to difficult – such as Mount Charleston Trail, South Loop Trail and Lee Canyon Trail.

The area also contains several lakes, including Kyle and Echo, plus a number of forests with a variety of flora and fauna. Birdwatchers will enjoy spotting various species such as red crossbills or even golden eagles soaring above. And for those looking for cooler temperatures during their visit to Las Vegas, Mount Charleston provides respite from the summer heat with average highs only reaching 64°F (18°C). Whether it's for sightseeing or exploration, Mount Charleston is a must-visit destination in Nevada!


Whether you're looking for dramatic desert landscapes or serene lakeside retreats, there are plenty of opportunities for scenic drives around Las Vegas. So next time you're in town, rent a car and hit the road - you won't be disappointed!


An Arizona native, Oscar has traveled the world alone since he left high school and further made travel his full-time career; apart from that, he is an incredible writer.

Oscar Binsky