The 26 Best National Parks Near Las Vegas - TourScanner (2023)

As if Mother Nature had picked up her brush and experienced a moment of sublime creativity, seeAmerica's Southwest National Parks. From canyons and deserts to mountains and forests, Las Vegas has a little bit of everything. And whether you're looking for a quick day trip or an extended camping adventure, there's sure to be a park to suit your needs.

From the popular, notoriousGrand Canyonright next door, where mile-deep gorges and meandering rivers meet bright red rock formations, for the lesser-known (but equally impressive)Valley of Fire State Park, a short drive to Nevada,There is no shortage of natural beauty to be discovered. If you're ready to venture a little further, beyond Nevada's borders, then thenCalifornia, Utah and Arizona are full of postcard-worthy landscapeswaiting to be discovered.

With names likeZionnational park,bowsnational park,Joshua-BaumNational Park and the harsh and otherworldly plains ofIt's worth dying forMaking headlines (to name a few) as well as underrated but absolutely beautiful lots like theseTule Springs fossil bedsorLago Met, there is definitely no lack of variety when exploring the great outdoors.

How this article works: To give youthe largest selection of national parks near Las Vegas, we addState Parks, National Monuments, Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Forests, in order from closest to farthest from Las Vegas — some are perfect for day trips, while others are ideal for a short, multi-day getaway (did someone say weekend getaway?).

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start planning your once-in-a-lifetime adventure!

1 – Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

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Driving time from Las Vegas:25 minutes

Sin City's closest slice of Mother Nature, beautiful and searingRed Rock GorgeSpread across nearly 200,000 acres of rugged - but beautiful - Mojave Desert wilderness, it lures tourists looking for a half-day or full-day respite from the chaos of the Strip.

With countless spectacular hiking routes and adventure activities throughout the reserve (read: non-technical aParque, although it certainly feels like it), there are plenty of opportunities to venture off the beaten track and into the boldly colored sandstone cliffs.

If you want to hike, the 3-mile Calico Tanks Trail is a moderate, family-friendly option that traverses towering sandstone formations that look like they came straight out of a Dr. seuss For something extra special with seasonal waterfalls (December through April), the Ice Box Trail is reserved for those looking for a challenge.

On the other hand, if you want to get your heart pumping, sign up for one of the guided climbs recommended by Red Rock's Bureau of Land Management.

Or, if you'd prefer to stay in the comfort of your air-conditioned car (we wouldn't blame you), the scenic 13-mile round trip rarely disappoints - or, to burn a few calories, take the bike path instead . ! Either way, you'll have a great day outdoors and don't forget to visit the visitor center where you can learn all about the local flora and fauna (including desert tortoises) from the friendly staff.

  • Red Rock Canyon-Touren ab Las Vegas

Also see:The 10 Best Red Rock Canyon Tours from Las Vegas

2 – Lake Mead National Recreation Area

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Driving time from Las Vegas:30 minutes

With year-round adventures and stunning natural landscapes,Lake Mead National Recreation AreaIt's just a stone's throw from Sin City and sits across the famous Colorado River, making it a great photo opportunity.

Home to the state's largest reservoir (Lake Mead), as well as mountains, canyons, wildlife sanctuaries and more, this sprawling piece of Mother Nature is one of the most diverse protected areas in the United States - and perfect for outdoor enthusiasts of all levels of interest and expertise.

Begin your kayak or SUP (stand-up paddleboarding) tour in the crystal clear waters of Boulder Basin. Walk the easy, dog-friendly Railroad Tunnel Trail to follow in the footsteps of a vintage railroad, or tackle the Lake View Route for expansive views of the area. Fancy something more challenging? Both are considered strenuous (the latter isveryso much), the hikes to Liberty Bell Arch and Gold Strike Canyon — which require rock climbing and scrambling — are popular, and for good reason.

The main hiking season is from November to March when temperatures are cooler. However, outside of these months you can still make a great day trip if you start early in the morning.

For a change of pace, head to the Arizona Hot Springs (note that the hike here isn't an easy task and involves climbing a 10-foot ladder over a waterfall if you don't mind) and checking in for a ride on an old horse in style or simply test your patience along over 700 miles of fishable coastline.

However you choose to spend your time in Lake Mead National Recreation Area, be on the lookout for wildlife—including bighorn sheep, coyotes, desert tortoises, and bald eagles!

  • Lake Mead-Touren ab Las Vegas

3 – Monumento Nacional Tule Springs Fossil Beds

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Driving time from Las Vegas:30 minutes

Fossil beds of Monumento Nacional Tule SpringsIt is a relatively new national monument, having only been erected in 2014. However, the fossil beds themselves are far from new, as some of the bones are from the last Ice Age!

The monument houses one of the largest deposits of Ice Age fossils on the planet and protects a vast area of ​​over 20,000 hectares - formerly made up of lakes and springs as well as rocks - which was once home to all species of now-extinct animals including the great Colombian mammoths, camels , saber-tooth cats, giant sloths and much more.

Today it's a popular spot for hiking, scenic drives, picnicking, and wildlife viewing (wild sheep are often spotted here), and it remains a hidden Nevada gem because of its larger, more famous neighbor (Grand Canyon).

Since the park is new, permanent trails are still being built as of 2022, but the 3.25-mile Aliante Loop Temporary Trail promises a good overview of the area and is easily accessible for those with limited time. Another highlight - especially for budding archaeologists - is the group of ditches (some over a kilometer long) that scientists have dug in search of ancient fossils.

For a deeper experience of the arid, desolate, and otherworldly realm, join one of the science programs.

4 – Valley of Fire Staatspark

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Driving time from Las Vegas:50 minutes

Serene, surreal and straight out of a sci-fi movie,Valley of Fire State Parkit's one of Nevada's most popular state parks for good reason.

Consisting of almost 46,000 hectares of Aztec red sandstone (formed from sand dunes 150 million years ago), the park is home to some of the most incredible rock formations in the world - as well as petrified wood (wood so old that it petrifies) and 2,5000-year-old petroglyphs (best seen on the stunning Petroglyph Canyon Trail).

Nevada's oldest state park is a popular spot for hiking, camping, picnicking, and wildlife viewing, as well as offering beautiful views everywhere - arguably none more so than Fire Wave., with your iconzebra-like red and white stripes - the perfect place to watch the sunset.

With dozens of kilometers of hiking trails, there is something for everyone, whether you are looking for an easy walk or a challenging hike. The short and scenic Rainbow Visa Trail, suitable for all ages, meanders to the Fire Canyon Overlook, with mesmerizing color combinations along the way. On the other hand, the Prospect Trail is challenging but rewarding with breathtaking views across the valley.

Campgrounds are set up around the park for those wanting to spend time off the trails, while day trips through the park can be booked through local tour operators. Or, if you want to browse at your own pace, admission to the park is only $5.00 per car.

  • Valley of Fire Touren ab Las Vegas

5 – Snow Canyon and Red Cliffs Conservation Area

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Driving time from Las Vegas:2h

Offers a magical landscape of towering red sandstone cliffs, evergreen junipers and pines lying side by sideSnow-Canyon-StaatsparkeRed Cliffs Nature ReserveCombine it as a nice stopover on your trip to or from Las Vegas.

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Located on over 7,000 acres north of St. George in southwest Utah (midway between Vegas and the Grand Canyon via I-15), this dynamic duo offers a blend of adventure, relaxation, and laid-back beauty in one (well, technically two , but you get the point).

Often overlooked due to its proximity to Zion National Park, Snow Canyon State Park is an undisputed secret. Despite the misleading nickname (you'll rarely see gunpowder here), it dazzles visitors with towering red sandstone cliffs, black lava rock caps, and playful sand dunes. While hiking and biking tours abound, those wanting a little more can soar over Snow Canyon's colorful peaks in a hot air balloon, or combine adventure with education on a guided Jeep tour of the countryside.

Spread over 45,000 acres, Red Cliffs National Conservation Area is a veritable playground for hikers, mountain bikers and adventure seekers, with miles of trails winding through the area's distinctive sandstone cliffs (hence the name).

Do you like to go for a walk? The western and red mountain parts of the area offer breathtaking views from the first step to the last, and thanks to its close proximity to charming Kayenta, you can drive through the touristy artists' village when you're done!

Both areas are perfect for a day visit or overnight stay, as campsites are available in both parks. And, hot tip, if you're traveling in the winter, head to the nearby Brian Head Resort for skiing and snowboarding!

6 – Death-Valley-Nationalpark

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Driving time from Las Vegas:2h30

Famous all over the world for its baronic landscapes and record temperatures,Death-Valley-NationalparkIt represents one of the most unique -- and underrated -- natural features of the United States. Perhaps second only to the Grand Canyon, it's also one of the most famous national parks near Las Vegas, with a reputation that precedes it.

Located on the California-Nevada border, this massive park (the largest of the lower 48) stretches over 3 million acres and offers a glimpse into a rare and pristine world.

Grossly underrated and overlooked due to its searing heat, it offers plenty to write home about if planning your visit in the colder months. Whether you're a history buff, hiker, or just looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of Las Vegas for the day, you'll find something you'll love in the not-so-gloomy Valley of Death.

With elevations ranging from below sea level (-282 feet in the salt flats of Badwater Basin!) to 11,049 feet on Telescope Peak, it's no wonder hikers find an incredible variety of landscapes here. From salt flats to sand dunes to jagged peaks, there's never a dull moment as you take in the scenery - and despite being the hottest and driest place in the country, it's still home to a vast and unique array of plants and animals.

Given the rugged nature - and size - of the landscape, most visitors (and rightly so) prefer to take a guided tour. While each company's itinerary is unique, you can explore gold mines, the ancient ghost town of Rhyolite, the views from the aptly named Hell's Gate, and more.

  • Death Valley-Touren ab Las Vegas

7 – Mojave-Nationalreservat

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Driving time from Las Vegas:2h30 minutes

While most thinkMojaveBeing nothing more than a desert (don't get us wrong, it can get very hot here and there are plenty of sand dunes and dry rocks), it usually surprises with its impressive array of natural - and very photogenic - elements; From water-carved canyons and limestone caves to Joshua Tree forests and ancient lava flows, the Mojave has something for everyone.

At over a million acres, it's also one of the country's most extensive national parks, making it perfect for those who enjoy exploring on two feet (with plenty of trails, ranging from easy hikes to strenuous hikes that offer views few have ever seen). saw), on two wheels or as part of a jeep tour - no matter how crazy you drive, its sheer size will never make you feel overcrowded.

The reserve is also home to the Kelso Dunes, which, at over 220 meters tall, is an awe-inspiring sight (and a challenging hike if you're up for it) and offers some of the best views in the area - with nothing but sand for 45 miles in the square!

If photography is your thing, consider a stargazing adventure, or if you're more of a historian, visit the former Kelso Depot for a glimpse into the reserve's past.

8 – Cathedral Gorge State Park

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Driving time from Las Vegas:2h30 minutes

Spectacular views and awe-inspiring rock formations abound in this geological wonderland in Nevada's eastern desert—one of Nevada's top four state parks.

Carved over millions of years by the meanders of a long-gone river, the gorge left behind an amazing natural playground for those who enjoy hiking, camping or just exploring - a playground full of gorge-like formations, natural peaks, caves and the undisputed highlight, the amazing natural amphitheater in Cathedral Gorge itself.

There are many easy trails perfect for a short stroll (including one that winds to a 19th-century cemetery), as well as longer options that take you into the heart of the gorge (the 4-mile trail The Junipers). Draw Loop is the longest and most varied, just make sure you bring plenty of water!).

ÖCathedral Gorge State ParkIt's also home to several unique caves and caverns - divided into Moon Caves, Canyon Caves and Cathedral Caves - that offer an up-close look at some truly fascinating geological features.

Don't know where to start? Enter the Visitor Center (open daily from 9am to 4:30pm) as your first port of call for maps, suggested trails and more.

9 – Zion National Park

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Driving time from Las Vegas:2h50 minutes

As postcard-worthy as they comeZion National ParkIt is one of the crown jewels in America's national park system.

The park in southwest Utah covers 229 square miles and includes a dizzying variety of terrain and ecosystems with something for everyone. red sandstone cliffs, narrow canyons, towering peaks, lush river valleys and even deserts can be found here.

Zion is particularly well known for its stunning series of canyons (including The Narrows) as well as its world-famous walk to Angels Landing - a strenuous but rewarding journey up a sheer cliff with breathtaking vistas around every corner.

While hiking is plentiful (the park has hundreds of miles of trails!), Zion is also great for those who prefer to take it easy, with plenty of scenic walks weaving through the park's dramatic landscapes. Just take Hwy 9 off I-15 to Mt. Carmel Junction - a 54-mile scenic shortcut that winds through the park for about 90 minutes, past rolling rocks and desert colors.

Luckily for travelers, thanks to the park's fame and popularity, there are a variety of driving options to Las Vegas each day. While the day option is a popular favorite if you want to visit some of the best national parks near Las Vegas without all the planning, multi-day adventures include other sights like Bryce Canyon, Antelope Canyon, or the Grand Canyon with accommodation and transportation and the most meals included in the ticket!

  • Zion tours from Las Vegas

Also see:Fun things to do in Zion National Park

10 – Joshua-Tree-Nationalpark

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Driving time from Las Vegas:3h

The unique and otherworldly Joshua trees — for which the park is named, and more scientifically known as Yucca brevifolia — are just one of the many reasons to put this Southern California national park on your USA outdoor bucket list.

A mecca for avid climbers, hikers, and nature lovers, Joshua Tree was designated a national monument in 1936 before being upgraded to full national park status (Rhode Island!) in 1994 and is home to two distinct desert ecosystems: the upper Colorado Desert and the lower Mojave Desert.

This means that in addition to the famous Joshua Trees (which only grow in the Mojave Desert portion of the park), you can expect expansive views of sand and rock, gnarled cacti, and the occasional water oasis. And because of this combination of ecosystem uses, the animals that call Joshua Tree home are just as diverse, from coyotes and black-tailed rabbits to kangaroo rats, snakes, and roadrunners (yes, they're real!).

The park is also home to several historical sites, including Barker Dam (aka Big Horn Dam, built in the 1900s) and Keys View (as the highest vantage point in Joshua Tree, it's a fantastic spot for sunrise and sunset photos). overlooking the Coachella Valley) and Skull Rock (an odd natural formation just off Main Street that you can't miss thanks to its uncanny resemblance to a giant human skull).

Choices aboundJoshua-Tree-Nationalpark, so whether you are looking for a leisurely nature walk to admire the rare plants or a challenging night hike in nature, there is something for everyone. And we mean business; There are rock climbing excursions, abseiling classes, cave meditations, game drives, guided hikes, scavenger hunts and much more!

11 – Coconino-Nationalforst

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Driving time from Las Vegas:3h30

What comes to mind when you think of Arizona? The Grand Canyon? Saguaro cacti? Red rocks and canyons? Anyway, it's big and red and a dry desolate desert, right?

Not correct. Contrary to what most visitors expect, Arizona is teeming with vegetation right around hereCoconino-Nationalforst.

This vast, protected strip of land is the largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest in North America, spanning 1.8 million acres and is one of the most biodiverse forests in the country. In fact, it's home to about half a dozen different ecosystems: desert, grassland, alpine tundra, river (aka river), chaparral (aka savanna), and the evergreen forest of ponderosa pines.

What makes it particularly noteworthy, aside from its size, is the variety of scenery: As Coconino ranges in elevation from 12,633 feet (at the top of Humphreys Peak, the highest point in Arizona) to 2,600 feet in the Mazatzal Wilderness, The Explorers are treated to a menu of different landscapes to enjoy, each with their own unique flora and fauna.

Bordered by Grand Canyon National Park (to the north) and the underrated outdoor-oriented city of Flagstaff, Coconino is a nature lover's dream with over 300 different trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. And of course, the park is also known for its excellent camping, fishing, rock climbing and bird watching opportunities.

When winter arrives, the higher elevations are snow-capped, making it a playground for cross-country skiers, snowshoe hikers, and sled riders, while the lower areas are still relatively warm and perfect for hiking or mountain biking. Whether you want to hit the slopes or just enjoy some fresh air and panoramic views, Coconino should definitely be at the top of your list.

12 – Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

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Driving time from Las Vegas:3h30

Nestled between Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef in southwestern UtahGrand Staircase-Escalante National MonumentIt's a geological paradise.

Formed by erosion of the Escalante River and its tributaries, this massive national monument (nearly two million acres) encompasses a variety of landscapes, from slickrock canyons and sandstone outcrops to canyons and lush river valleys. And because it's so big, there's a ton of things to do - either on your own or as part of a pre-arranged guided tour.

As you might expect, the most popular activity at Wild West Wonderland is a leisurely (or strenuous) hike to stretch your legs and take in the scenery. If you just want to pick a trail or two, Escalante Natural Bridge or Lower Calf Creek Falls are the top-rated trails in the gorge, but each of the four trails leading to Coyote Gulch is postcard-worthy on its own. Cyclists and horse riders will also find plenty of routes to explore, while the more adventurous can try canyoning, rock climbing or even kayaking along the Escalante River.

But Escalante is not just physical activity; It's also a great place to just sit back and enjoy the scenery (which has been featured in numerous Hollywood films over the years).

One of the best ways to do this is to drive along one of the monument's many scenic shortcuts, which offer stunning views around every corner. Tip: Drive down Burr Trail Road and, if you have time, head into Singing Canyon along the way to test the acoustics.

Alternatively, if you're looking for something a little more low-key, there are also plenty of campsites dotted around the park where you can camp and watch the stars to your heart's content.

Whether you are an experienced hiker or backpacker looking for a challenging multi-day trekking route, or you are just looking for a family hike to enjoy the beautiful scenery, Escalante has you covered.

13 – Bryce-Canyon-Nationalpark

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Driving time from Las Vegas:4 Std

A true wonderland of red rock hoodoos (a type of columnar basalt),Bryce-Canyon-NationalparkIt's one of the most mesmerizing landscapes in the American West and certainly not something you wouldn't find anywhere else in the world.

The best way to experience all this national park has to offer is on foot, and there are many trails to choose from, whether you're looking for an easy hike or a multi-day trek.

One of the most popular hiking trails is the Rim Trail, which offers stunning panoramic views of the gorge and Bryce Amphitheater as it meanders along the rim. If you're short on time (or energy), consider doing a section or round-trip instead of tackling the entire trail in one go.

Other highlights - and we can't stress that word enough, be sure to bring some spare batteries for your camera - including Thor's Hammer, Queen's Garden Trail, Sunrise Point, Queen Victoria, Rainbow Point, Bristlecone Loop and Inspiration Point Aptly named offering of what is considered to be the best view of the Veiled Silent City.

Thanks to its reputation as one of the best national parks near Las Vegas, similar to Zion, there are also plenty of guided tours and activities on offer, from horseback riding and biking tours to photography tours. While there's nothing wrong with venturing at your own pace if you're short on time (or just don't want to worry about permits, directions, and booking accommodation and transit), a pre-arranged day or multi-day trip from Sin City comes highly recommended for a stress-free highlight package.

  • Bryce Canyon Touren ab Las Vegas

14 – Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

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Driving time from Las Vegas:4 Std

They form the border between Arizona and Utah,Glen Canyon National Recreation AreaIt is one of the largest and most diverse national parks in the country.

While it may not be as well known or popular as some of its neighbors (Zion, Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon), that doesn't make it any less spectacular. With over a million acres to explore, chances are you'll discover something new every time you visit, no matter how many times you've visited.

From hiking and biking trails to kayaking and rafting routes, the list of activities is anything but short. Thrill-seekers should check out the Reflection Canyon Trial — a 15-mile route that's as challenging as it is beautiful — while those looking to relax can take a scenic drive along the Burr Trail, which winds through the heart of the park on paved roads and dirt roads.

Other must-see attractions include Horseshoe Bend (one of the most photographed spots in all of Arizona), Rainbow Bridge National Monument (the tallest natural bridge in the world), and Lake Powell (a man-made reservoir perfect for boating, fishing, etc.). and suitable for swimming ).

For a change of pace, take a guided photography workshop by land or sea, take a tour of Glen Canyon Dam, or hop on a plane to see it all from the air!

15 - Vermilion Cliffs National Monument

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Driving time from Las Vegas:4 Std

Located just south of the Arizona-Utah border,Vermilion Cliffs National MonumentIt's a hidden gem worth adding to your list of national parks near Las Vegas.

The monument is home to some of the Southwest's most unique and dramatic landscapes, including towering sandstone cliffs, narrow canyons and colorful deserts. There's something for everyone here, whether you're an avid hiker or just looking for a scenic drive to take in the views.

One of the best ways to experience the beauty and diversity of the Vermilion Cliffs is on foot, so be sure to pack your walking shoes! The most popular route is undoubtedly the Wave Trail (pictured above) in Coyote Buttes South;

As well as being its sole attraction, the monument is home to a wealth of archaeological sites and historical Native American artifacts, as well as some of the region's best birds (e.g. home to a variety of endangered California condors). With so much to see and do, it's no wonder Vermilion Cliffs National Monument draws visitors from all over the world!

16 – Grand-Canyon-Nationalpark

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driving timefrom Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon:2h30 minutes (West Bank), 4h30 minutes (South, East and North Banks).

The most famous for last, a UNESCO World Heritage Site just a few hours' drive from Sin City (or a short flight if you're looking for aerial photography and want to splurge), theGrand-Canyon-NationalparkIt's one ofbest national parks in the worldfor a reason.

With its miles of canyons, winding rivers and bright red rock formations, there is simply no other place on earth that compares to it.

Whether you want to hike down (Grand Canyon Village is the trailhead for most hiking trails) or just take in the views from one of the many vantage points along the cliffs (check out Skywalk for the perfect picture), there's plenty here no shortage of activities - that's just the popular West Rim! That's whyOthersIconic photo, head to Glen Canyon (aka the East Rim of the Grand Canyon) for breathtaking views of Horseshoe Bend.

Hot Tip: Consider a full-day tour that also includes a trip to Hoover Dam and Antelope Canyon for the best value. Or, for an unforgettable experience, sign up for a multi-day national park tour that takes you to Zion, Bryce Canyon and Monument Valley!

  • Grand Canyon-Touren ab Las Vegas

Also see:Fun activities in the Grand Canyon,Entrance fees to the Grand Canyon Skywalk,Cheap Grand Canyon Rafting Tours,The Best Grand Canyon Tours from Las Vegas,Grand Canyon Helicopter Travel Guide

17 – Great-Basin-Nationalpark

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Driving time from Las Vegas:4h30

Abundant with wildlife and lush vegetation - a stark contrast to the desert plains that surround most of Las Vegas - just steps from Nevada's eastern border and the town of Baker,Great-Basin-NationalparkIt's a little known but equally impressive piece of nature that is definitely worth a visit.

The park is home to some of North America's most unique geological features, from rugged mountain peaks to vast subterranean caves. Scattered throughout this underrated area you'll find Wheeler Peak (the second highest mountain in Nevada), Lehman Caves (a network of limestone caves that has been welcoming visitors since the 18 a mile that changes so radically in landscape and elevation that it feels like driving from Nevada to Northern Canada.

It may be smaller than some of its better-known counterparts, but what the Great Basin lacks in size it makes up for in its unspoiled beauty and serene atmosphere. So if you're looking for a destination off the beaten path - especially if you're here in September when the annual Great Basin Astronomy Festival takes place - add this place to your bucket list.

18 – Parque Tribal Antelope Canyon Navajo

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Driving time from Las Vegas:4h30

A truly mesmerizing landscapeantelope canyonIt's one of the most photographed canyons in the world, and it's not hard to see why.

The canyon is divided into two sections — Upper Antelope Canyon and Lower Antelope Canyon — both of which are only accessible via a guided tour (but hey, that just means you'll learn a lot more about the area's fascinating geology and history than you do would otherwise do otherwise when visiting on your own).

While both offer incredible views of the red rock formations, the Upper Antelope is generally considered more visitor-friendly due to its wider walkways and higher ceilings (inverted “V”-shaped, narrow at the top and wide at the bottom), making it less likely to have to bend down or squeeze into tight spaces. However, if your idea of ​​fun is to challenge yourself to climb and squeeze through rooms, then Lower Canyon is the obvious choice!

However, both gorges are equally beautiful. So if you have the time (and patience) to do both, many travelers would say go for it!

If you're staying in Las Vegas, there's no shortage of organized tours that include transportation, meals, and park tickets. However, to get the most bang for your buck and see more of the best national parks near Las Vegas at once, consider a night tour that also includes the famous Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks, Monument Valley or a combination of these visit all!

  • Antelope Canyon Touren ab Las Vegas

Also see:The Best Antelope Canyon Tours from Las Vegas - The Complete Guide With Map

19 – Petrified-Forest-Nationalpark

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Driving time from Las Vegas:bad 6

Tucked away in the northeast corner of Arizona, a 30-minute drive from the small desert town of Holbrook,Petrified-Forest-Nationalparkmay not boast foreboding gorges or intimidating sandstone canyons, but it offers a comprehensive and detailed look at the region's fascinating history - from both a geological and cultural perspective - as well as stunning colorful hills and flat plateaus.

As the name suggests, this Navajo and Apache County park is home to a significant amount of petrified wood (trees that have turned to stone because they were buried under sediment and exposed to minerals over millions of years - 225 million years ago). . , to be precise!), making it a popular stop for anyone interested in fossils, rocks, and the historical makeup of the earth.

In addition to the myriad petrified timbers scattered across the more than 200,000 hectares (50,000 of which are designated “wilderness” and will remain forever untouched, some carved into peculiar, photo-worthy shapes and sizes), there are various others geological highlights await: the Painted Desert (a colorful desert of scenic eroded hills reminiscent of stepping on Mars), the Blue Table (a stunning slab of stone offering great panoramic views of the landscape), and the Agate Bridge (a natural bridge made from a piece of a fallen giant made of petrified wood) are simply the best choice

From a cultural perspective, Petrified Forest National Park is home to several ancient ruins, rock art, and historic structures, including Puerco Pueblo -- one of the largest pueblos ever built in North America, with over 100 rooms. Culture vultures should not miss the Rainbow Forest Museum and the 1930s Rainbow Forest Inn.

If you're short on time, the 17 miles of paved roads make it easy to drive around one side of the park. However, it would be a sin not to stop at least a few times along the way to take a few photos of the arid, historical and unique landscape.

20 – Capitol Reef Nationalpark

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Driving time from Las Vegas:bad 6

Combining a rich history with year-round natural beauty,Capitol-Reef-NationalparkIt's one of the large national parks near Las Vegas that is often overlooked due to its distance - but only to the detriment of those who choose to go!

Named for a section of the Waterpocket Fold — a massive, 100-mile-long wave in the Earth's surface created (and still growing!) by prehistoric tectonic activity, it's not only an intriguing place, but an absolutely beautiful one (quite to let alone peaceful) to explore no matter what your interests are.

Spread across nearly 250,000 acres in south-central Utah, nature lovers can enjoy outdoor adventures; There are plenty of opportunities for hikers, backpackers, horseback riders, and rock climbers to find their own slice of solitude in the park, as well as campers who can stay at the 71-site Fruita Campground.

Budding geologists will have fun exploring the fold's many layers of sedimentary rock (exposed on top of a pocket of water thanks to the park's unique location) as well as Triassic-era fossils, while photographers will marvel at the spectacle of variable light on offer, regardless of the landscape time of day.

As with most parks on this list, there are a few notable sights worth mentioning (and taking selfies with!): Grand Wash, Chimney Rock, Fruita Historic District, Capitol Gorge, and Cohab Canyon, to name but a few to call. . Plan at least a day or two here to make the most of it!

For the highlight reel, drive the 8-mile Capitol Reef National Park Scenic Drive; For the ultimate road trip to Capitol Reef, spend a day driving Utah Highway 24 from Loa to Hanksville through the national park for non-stop breathtaking scenery

Hot Tip: If you're not opting for a guided tour and instead are looking for accommodation in the area, check out the town of Torrey. It's a short drive away and offers rustic inns (with really, really good cakes) as well as budget hotels and motels.

21 – Two-Arches-Nationalpark

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Driving time from Las Vegas:6h40

Sometimes a park's name means little as it is purely symbolic. Here it means everything: as home to more than 2,000 naturally formed sandstone arches (not to mention spires, balanced rocks, fins and other rare and incredible geological formations), making it the official natural stone arch trophy holder with the densest concentration of resources in the World!

With a plethora of Mother Nature's best works scattered in every direction, it's easy to see why this park is one of the most popular (though still rarely crowded) in the national park system; Visitors can explore more than 76,000 acres by foot (the 7.8-mile Devil's Garden Trail is a great starting point), car, horse, bike, or even a 4x4 as part of an insightful (and adrenaline-packed) adventure tour. .

For all first-time hikers whoTwo-Arches-NationalparkYou've hiked over 50 different trails ranging in difficulty from easy to strenuous, taking you to some of the most famous but still underrated (compared to Zion and Bryce) geological features in Utah - Fiery Furnace, Landscape Arch, Double O Arch ( where one sits on top of the other) and the Tower Arch to name a few. Both the Park Avenue Trail and the Double Arch Trail are short, family-friendly hikes packed with photo opportunities, while the more advanced (and incredibly rewarding) Devils Garden Primitive Loop is the longer and more difficult hike at 7.2 miles in the park.

While many of the arches are easily accessible with a short stroll off the road (the famous Delicate Arch is only three miles round-trip), others require more effort; But even if you don't consider yourself an intrepid adventurer, it's worth noting that driving through this park on the 19-mile Arches Scenic Drive is an experience in itself.

As with other parks on this list, there's plenty for hikers and backpackers of all experience and interest levels, as well as campers looking for epic views while they sleep. Devils Garden Campground offers primitive camping and sites must be pre-booked during peak season, but it's just steps away from some of the best hiking in the area!

No matter how you explore it, one thing is certain: Arches National Park will blow your mind!

22 – Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park

The 26 Best National Parks Near Las Vegas - TourScanner (23)

Driving time from Las Vegas:6h40

Characterized by 300 meter high, ominous sandstone mountains stretching across a vast and empty desert landscape,With a monumentA photographer's paradise, it features a variety of scenery, natural landmarks (lively the names), wildlife, and of course, Navajo culture.

The Tribal Park is home to several different trails that are perfect for day hikes. The best-maintained and most popular (and photographed) is the Wildcat Trail, which takes you to iconic sandstone landmarks like Mitten Buttes and Merrick Butte. It's an easy 3.2 mile loop that anyone can do.

If you choose to stay in the comfort of your air-conditioned car, you still have stunning views. Slowly drive down the scenic 17-mile gravel road for views of Mitten Buttes, North Window, Three Sisters, Yei-bi-chai and the postcard-worthy Totem Pole.

For those who really want to immerse themselves in Monument Valley (literally), inland camping is permitted in a variety of locations (which you can't go wrong with The View Campground), but make sure you're well-prepared, as water and Eating out aren't so easy to find.

For nearly a millennium, the Navajo have called this place home, its legends and lore intertwined with the land in mysterious and beautiful ways; Today it is still considered sacred ground by many of its residents.

Depending on which tour you choose, you'll likely come across some of America's most iconic scenes: The Mittens, John Ford Point, Elephant Butte. These landmarks — named for their resemblance to various objects or animals — have been featured in countless films and photographs over the years, and it's easy to see why.

Hot Tip: Check out Goosenecks State Park, essentially a scaled-down version of Horseshoe Bend, minus the tourist crowds!

  • Monument Valley tours from Las Vegas

23 – Sequoia & Kings Canyon Nationalparks

The 26 Best National Parks Near Las Vegas - TourScanner (24)

Driving time from Las Vegas:7h

East of Fresno, California, side by side, are two scenic parks teeming with photo opportunities and wildlife—their names are tricky, but their natural beauty is worth the trip.

Sequoia-NationalparkIt is home to the General Sherman, the world's largest tree by volume (said to be almost 2,700 years old), as well as hundreds of other sequoias that are equally impressive and make any visitor feel small. More than just a forest, it's also blessed with stunning mountain scenery and miles of trails for hikers of all skill levels (the Big Trees Trail is always a hit, while Tokopah Falls is one of the few waterfall hikes in the world). park, perfect for a hot summer day).

Kings Canyon, on the other hand, features canyons carved by glaciers during past Ice Ages (hence the name), making for stunning scenery and a dramatic juxtaposition with the Sequoia next door; There are also many opportunities for family-friendly hiking, cycling and horseback riding.

Together, these parks offer endless photo opportunities and chances to see rare wildlife in their natural habitat - from black bears and badgers to deer and eagles, Sequoia and Kings are home to over 300 different animal species.

24 – Canyonlands National Park

The 26 Best National Parks Near Las Vegas - TourScanner (25)

Driving time from Las Vegas:7h

Calling adventure seekers like moths to a flame,Canyonlands National Parkis one of the lesser known but beautiful parks in the United States and offers its own take on all the artistic highlights of Grand Canyon, Zion and Arches National Parks.

How can one park replicate that of three other areas so different? Simple: This Utah park is made up of four distinct districts (Island in the Sky, The Needles, The Maze, and The Rivers), each with its own world, with unique geology, ecosystems, and adventures to enjoy.

While some visitors cover all four districts in a single trip (it can easily take a week or more), most people tend to pick a favorite or two and spend their time there.

The Island in the Sky district is probably the most popular for those short on time; It offers expansive views of the gorge from its high plateaux and offers easy hiking trails and some challenging mountain bike trails (take a lap on the White Rim Road).

The Needles district, on the other hand, is for those who really want to get off the beaten path; Located in the south-eastern part of the park, it is characterized by its dramatic sandstone cliffs and requires some walking (and fighting in places) to see its best sections. The visitor center is a great place to start with ranger-led programs.

As for The Maze, it's aptly named and the most remote neighborhood in the park, often requiring several days to explore. definitely not for the faint of heart (or those without a lot of time), as it's all too easy for the unprepared to get lost in the solitude here.

The Rivers District completes Canyonlands National Park and is centered around the Colorado and Green Rivers. Unlike the rest of the park, the river corridors are lush and green, welcoming wildlife and plants in abundance.

Don't forget: Although Horseshoe Canyon doesn't fall into any of the four main areas, it's still worth a visit; It houses some of the most impressive rock art in any national park.

25 – Dead Horse Point State Park

The 26 Best National Parks Near Las Vegas - TourScanner (26)

Driving time from Las Vegas:7h

Just 32 miles from Moab lies a Utah State Park within the boundaries of the epic Canyonlands National Park. Filled with red rock landscapes and varied terrain,Dead Horse Point State ParkIt's a stunning desert oasis that, thanks to its Dark Sky Park designation, offers opportunities for (inter)stellar stargazing, as well as incredible views from the lookout point over the Colorado River from about 5,900 feet.

The park gets its name from a narrow strip of land (or "point") overlooking a hairpin bend in the Colorado River, where legend has it cowboys used to ride and you can fill in the gaps.

These days, visitors come for the hiking trails (ranging from easy walks to strenuous climbs) and 17 miles of mountain bike trials (the Intrepid Trail hits the spot!) with plenty of bird watching and wonderful views all around. . There's also Kayenta Campground and Wingate Campground on-site if you want to spend a night (or more) there.

So if you want to explore more of Utah's Red Rock Country, Dead Horse Point is a great place to start—and with Las Vegas or Moab as a base, it's an easy weekend getaway.

26 – Yosemite-Nationalpark

The 26 Best National Parks Near Las Vegas - TourScanner (27)

Driving time from Las Vegas:7:15 minutes

A no-frills, simple California national park,Yosemite Nationalparkit is easily one of the most popular in the country.

From the awe-inspiring waterfalls (El Capitan, Bridalveil Fall, and fiery Horsetail Fall) to the towering redwoods (Mariposa Grove is a must-see), there's something for everyone; Add world-class rock climbing and hiking trails, and it's not hard to see why this park welcomes millions of visitors each year.

Being so close to San Francisco means there are numerous guided tours that are easy to book, from day trips to overnight camps, multi-day hikes and horseback rides; Alternatively, those wanting a more independent experience can plan their own trip using the park's well-developed infrastructure. Anyway, despite the travel, it remains one of the most popular national parks near Las Vegas and a logical stop when traveling between Sin City and San Fran.

Final Thoughts:

There you have it folks: 26 of the best national parks near Las Vegas! With so many options, there's something for everyone, whether you're looking for a quick day trip or an extended camping adventure. So what are you waiting for? Go there and see everything the Wild West has to offer!

What are your favorite national parks near Las Vegas? Let us know in the comments below! And don't forget to read our other blog posts for more things to do in and around Sin City! As always, have a good trip!


What is the number 1 national park? ›

1. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. The nation's first national park, established in 1872, has so many iconic features it's almost impossible to list them all.

How many national parks are near Vegas? ›

With 13 magnificent National Parks located near to Las Vegas the city is the perfect entry point to explore an array of national parks. From Las Vegas, it takes less than a day to reach 13 National Park's across Nevada, California, Utah and Arizona.

What is considered the most beautiful national park? ›

Hence the reason Yosemite is often considered the most beautiful national park in America. Best things to do in Yosemite National Park: Hike Bridalveil Falls.

What is the least popular national park? ›

Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve in Alaska is the least-visited US national park.

How far is Mt Zion from Las Vegas? ›

Located about two and a half hours from Las Vegas in Utah, Zion National Park is known for its unique geological features and variety of plants and animals. Locations: Located approximately 157 miles northeast of Las Vegas. The Visitor Center at the Kolob Canyons entrance is accessible from Interstate 15, exit 40.

How far is Bryce and Zion from Las Vegas? ›

A drive from Las Vegas to Bryce Canyon National Park is about 265 miles and will take about four hours.

What is the most popular state park in Nevada? ›

Home to spectacular scenery, landscapes, and nature, Lake Tahoe-Nevada State Park is one of the most popular and picturesque state parks in Nevada. Set on the shores of North America's largest alpine lake, it has lots of beautiful beaches on offer, as well as countless outdoor activities.

How long is Grand Canyon National Park from Las Vegas? ›

Distance from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon

The West Rim is the closest rim to Las Vegas. It is located about 130 miles from the heart of Las Vegas. On average, the drive takes approximately two and a half hours. Both the North Rim and South Rim are located over 270 miles from the Las Vegas Strip.

What national park is a must? ›

Yellowstone National Park is one of the most famous parks in the world for its geothermal activity and vivid formations. Founded atop a volcano, Yellowstone has some incredible natural sights to see. For instance, it has spots like; Old Faithful, Mammoth Hot Springs and is home to bears, elk, antelope, and bison, too.

Which national park should I visit first? ›

Yellowstone National Park: As the world's first national park, officially established in 1872, this is an obvious choice. I also included it because I have never been to any of the three states the park touches (Idaho, Montana and Wyoming).

What is the best month to visit the national parks? ›

Most American parks are ideal in late September and October: it's warm but not too hot, kids are back in school, there are lower accommodation rates and most trails and restaurants still open before the winter season kicks in.

What national park has the best waterfalls? ›

Out of all the national park sites across the country, Yosemite National Park is the park best known for its countless waterfalls. Yosemite Falls is the most famous and most photographed of Yosemite's waterfalls. It is a three-tiered, 2,425ft waterfall which makes it the highest waterfall in North America.

What we should not do in national park? ›

Approach an animal too closely - respect their privacy (around 20 m away) Drive fast, nor off the designated road/trail. Make sudden movements. Leave any litter in the park even if a basket is provided there.

Which national park is easiest to get to? ›

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountain National Park is easy to access and get around in due to the six entrances that it has. Additionally, the park has three visitor centers, plenty of scenic drives with hundreds of turnouts, viewpoints and picnic spots.

What is the only state without a national park? ›

Delaware is the only state in the country without a National Park, but maybe not for long. National parks showcase natural beauty like Yosemite and historic venues like Independence Park.

What is the number one most visited national park 2022? ›

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

One of the best national parks in America is also the most popular receiving more visits annually than any other national park.

How far is Red Rock from Las Vegas? ›

Red Rock Canyon was designated as Nevada's first National Conservation Area. Red Rock Canyon is located 17 miles west of the Las Vegas Strip on Charleston Boulevard/State Route 159.

Can you do a day trip to Zion from Las Vegas? ›

Best of all, Zion's location in Utah makes it a convenient day trip from Las Vegas. If you're already in Sin City, a great way to experience this natural wonder is by taking a Las Vegas tour to Zion National Park. These tours can last for a few hours or several days, so there is something for everyone.

How far is Ring of Fire from Las Vegas? ›

Valley of Fire Location and Directions

Valley of Fire is located about 58 miles from the Las Vegas Strip in the Mojave (Mo-hah-vee) Desert. It abuts Lake Mead National Recreation Area at the East entrance to the park. It is 15 miles Southwest of Overton, Nevada. Its elevation varies between 2,000 and 2,600 feet.

Should I go to Bryce or Zion? ›

Both of these Parks offer great outdoor activities for all ages. For canyoneering and rappelling, Zion beats Bryce. You'll find world-class hiking in either Park, but in Zion you can find yourself hiking through streams or on sandstone ledges, like Angels Landing – one of the scariest hikes in the world!

Should I spend more time in Bryce or Zion? ›

Zion definitely needs more time than Bryce Canyon. It is a larger park with more ground to cover, but it's also more heavily visited and harder to navigate than Bryce. Zion also has some longer day hikes that shouldn't be missed, so you'll want to budget in more time to knock those trails off your bucket list!

Which is more crowded Zion or Bryce? ›

Bryce Canyon National Park for fewer crowds, Zion National Park for more wildlife.

Is it easy to drive from Las Vegas to Zion National Park? ›

The trip to Zion from Vegas is a fairly easy drive of about 2.5 hours, if you drive straight through. We did the drive during a week in the winter when traffic wasn't bad at all. I imagine that, if you're driving on a summer weekend, you'll encounter quite a bit more traffic and drive times will be longer.

How many days do you need to enjoy Zion National Park? ›

We suggest you plan at least 5-7 days for your trip to Zion National Park. If you're an avid hiker, take your time visiting popular (and strenuous) day hikes such as Angels Landing, Zion Narrows Day Hike, and Observation Point Trail. To avoid hunger and dehydration, pack plenty of water and snacks before you set out.

Can you drive through Zion or do you have to take a shuttle? ›

All visitors are required to use the shuttle to travel around the park, including along the six-mile Zion Canyon Scenic drive. Bikes are also available for rent during check-in, which are allowed on park roads during the spring, summer, and fall.

Is Zion or Bryce closer to Vegas? ›

Zion National Park is roughly 3 hours from Las Vegas and 5 hours from Salt Lake City. What is this? Start your trip in Zion National Park as it's closer to both Las Vegas and Salt Lake City. After that head to Bryce Canyon National Park!

Is Zion National Park near Vegas? ›

Located about two and a half hours from Las Vegas in Utah, Zion National Park is known for its unique geological features and variety of plants and animals. Locations: Located approximately 157 miles northeast of Las Vegas. The Visitor Center at the Kolob Canyons entrance is accessible from Interstate 15, exit 40.

How far is Las Vegas to Zion National Park day trip? ›

Zion National Park is located 160 miles (2.5-hour-drive) from Las Vegas. Most of the drive is along Interstate 15, which has some beautiful sights and attractions along the way.

Is it better to stay in Zion or outside? ›

There are only a few main roads that travel to the most popular hikes and viewpoints. I recommend staying inside of the park if you want to be within minutes of the most popular hikes and viewpoints — you'll be able to catch the free Zion Canyon Shuttle directly from here.

What is the closest Grand Canyon to Las Vegas? ›

Which part of the Grand Canyon is closest to Las Vegas? The West Rim is the closest section of the Grand Canyon to Las Vegas. It is located about 130 miles from the heart of Las Vegas. On average, the drive takes approximately two and a half hours.

Is 3 days enough for Zion National Park? ›

Ideally, you need at least two to three days to visit Zion National Park. This gives you enough time to hike the longer, more popular trails, such as Angels Landing and the Narrows, and you can also add in a few of the shorter, easier trails, such as the Riverside Walk and Canyon Overlook.

Can you do a day trip to Zion National Park from Las Vegas? ›

Best of all, Zion's location in Utah makes it a convenient day trip from Las Vegas. If you're already in Sin City, a great way to experience this natural wonder is by taking a Las Vegas tour to Zion National Park. These tours can last for a few hours or several days, so there is something for everyone.

Can I just drive through Zion National Park? ›

Can I drive my private vehicle into Zion Canyon? A. From March through late November, access to the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is by shuttle bus only. Private vehicles are allowed to access the Scenic Drive only when the Shuttle System is not in operation.

What is the number one tourist attraction in Nevada? ›

1. Las Vegas Strip. Perhaps the most well-known tourist attraction in Nevada is the Las Vegas Strip. The Strip starts at Mandalay Bay in the south and ends at the Stratosphere Casino in the north.

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