Last Updated on June 24, 2023

When people think of Las Vegas, they often envision the dazzling lights and bustling casinos that make this city famous.

However, just beyond the glitz and glamour lies a hidden gem waiting to be explored—the captivating Las Vegas Desert.

We are talking about the Mojave Desert, one of the four major deserts in the United States. There are many opportunities to experience this desert near Las Vegas, and it offers a unique and unforgettable adventure for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Las Vegas desert tours and activities
Las Vegas’s Mojave desert, a travel destination like no other.

Las Vegas Desert Destinations

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

One of the must-visit destinations in the Las Vegas Desert is the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

Just a short drive from the Las Vegas Strip, this breathtaking desert landscape offers a stunning contrast to the city’s bright lights.

The area is known for its vibrant red sandstone formations, gigantic cliffs, and picturesque hiking trails.

Hiking enthusiasts will be delighted by the numerous trails available, catering to all levels of experience.

The popular Calico Tanks trail takes you on a scenic journey through a maze of colorful rock formations, leading to a natural water tank with stunning views of the surrounding desert.

For a more challenging adventure, the Turtlehead Peak trail rewards hikers with panoramic vistas of the Las Vegas Valley from its summit.

If you prefer a more leisurely exploration, scenic drives through the Red Rock Canyon are a fantastic option.

The 13-mile scenic loop drive allows you to immerse yourself in the desert’s beauty while making stops at various viewpoints and picnic areas along the way.

Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife sightings, including desert bighorn sheep and elusive desert tortoises.

Valley of Fire State Park

Another remarkable destination in the Las Vegas Desert is the Valley of Fire State Park, aptly named for its fiery red sandstone formations that appear to be ablaze under the desert sun.

Located about an hour’s drive northeast of Las Vegas, this park is a haven for nature enthusiasts and photographers.

As you explore the Valley of Fire, you’ll encounter breathtaking rock formations shaped by thousands of years of wind and water erosion.

The iconic Fire Wave, a swirling formation of vibrant red and white sandstone, is a favorite spot for photographers seeking to capture the desert’s unique beauty.

The park also features ancient petroglyphs—rock carvings made by indigenous peoples centuries ago—which provide a glimpse into the area’s rich cultural history.

Hiking trails abound in the Valley of Fire, offering different levels of difficulty and length.

The White Domes Trail takes you on an adventure through narrow slot canyons, towering sandstone cliffs, and even a short walk through a vibrant, sandstone domed area.

The Fire Wave Trail, a relatively easy hike, rewards visitors with up-close views of the stunning Fire Wave formation.

Death Valley National Park

For a more expansive desert experience, consider venturing to Death Valley National Park.

Although it’s a few hours’ drive from Las Vegas, the journey is well worth it for the unparalleled natural wonders that await.

Death Valley National Park is known for its extreme landscapes and diverse geological features.

From salt flats and sand dunes to massive mountain peaks and colorful badlands, the park offers endless opportunities for exploration and adventure.

Be sure to visit Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America, and marvel at the vast expanse of salt flats stretching as far as the eye can see.

The park also boasts intriguing historical sites, such as the ghost town of Rhyolite, which provides a glimpse into the region’s mining past.

Don’t miss the chance to witness the mesmerizing night sky in Death Valley, as the park is renowned for its dark skies, making it an ideal location for stargazing.

Las Vegas Desert Tours & Activities

Get Wrecked on an Adrenaline-Filled ATV Adventure

Are you ready to experience an adrenaline rush like no other?

Strap on your helmet and get ready for an exhilarating ATV adventure through the stunning landscapes of Las Vegas.

Feel the thrill as you zoom through rugged terrains, conquer sandy dunes, and navigate twists and turns that will leave you breathless.

This action-packed adventure is perfect for thrill-seekers and nature enthusiasts alike.

So, rev up your engine and prepare for an unforgettable off-road experience that will get your heart racing and leave you craving for more.

Fly Over the Las Vegas Desert on a Hot Air Balloon

Take your desert exploration to new heights with a breathtaking hot air balloon ride over the majestic Las Vegas desert.

As you ascend into the sky, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of the sprawling desert landscape, with its rugged mountains and vast expanses.

Drift gently with the wind as the vibrant colors of sunrise or sunset paint the sky.

The serenity and tranquility of the hot air balloon ride will create an unforgettable experience that will stay with you long after you touch down.

So, prepare to soar high above the desert and witness its beauty from a whole new perspective.

Ride a Camel and Learn about Exotic Animals

Embark on a remarkable adventure as you saddle up and ride a camel through the enchanting Nevada desert.

These gentle creatures will carry you on a journey through breathtaking landscapes, allowing you to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature. But the experience doesn’t stop there.

Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about exotic animals from knowledgeable guides.

Encounter fascinating creatures up close and personal, from the African Crested Porcupine to the Small Clawed Otters.

It’s a chance to expand your knowledge, connect with nature, and create lifelong memories as you embark on this unique camel ride and exotic animal encounter.

Admire Nevada’s Jaw-Dropping Desert Art Installations

Prepare to be captivated by the awe-inspiring desert art installations scattered throughout Nevada‘s breathtaking landscapes.

Among them, Seven Magic Mountains stands out as a truly mesmerizing sight.

Created by Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone, this captivating collection features seven imposing sculptures made of stacked boulders, reaching heights between 30 and 35 feet.

The vibrant colors adorning the sculptures create a striking contrast against the desert backdrop, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in the harmony of art and nature.

Located just a short drive from Las Vegas, Seven Magic Mountains is easily accessible and offers a unique opportunity to marvel at the fusion of creativity and the natural world.

Unveil the Mysteries of Area 51 on a Guided Tour

For the truly adventurous, a visit to the legendary Area 51 is an absolute must.

This top-secret military base, shrouded in mystery and surrounded by conspiracy theories, has become an icon of curiosity.

While the government maintains that it’s used for testing and training, the allure of secret alien experiments persists.

A visit to Area 51 promises a once-in-a-lifetime experience, even if you’re not a fan of the X-files or believer in extraterrestrial phenomena.

While access to the actual base is restricted, numerous tour companies offer guided tours of the area, taking you to the base’s perimeter for a glimpse of the secretive facility.

Embark on a full-day adventure that will lead you through desolate yet scenic desert landscapes, offering a tantalizing glimpse into the world of Area 51.

Witness top-secret Janet Airlines at Las Vegas International Airport, explore the mysterious Joshua Tree Forest, visit the enigmatic Dry Lake, and even catch sight of the infamous Black Mailbox and the “Absolute Perimeter” where rumors of the “Men in Black” persist.

Read more: 9 Outdoor Activities to Enjoy in the Desert near Las Vegas

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