While the grand hotel structures and dazzling urban lights dominate the city, just a few minutes away from the bustling cityscape is another side of Las Vegas. From nature-friendly sites to unspoiled landscapes and natural wonders, this “other Las Vegas” allows tourists to enjoy sightseeing trips filled with many scenic spots and geological features.
Red Rock Canyon
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Las Vegas, NV 89149; 702-363-1921
The Red Rock Canyon is located only about 15 miles west of downtown Las Vegas. This natural attraction is named after the red-colored sandstone formation embedded in the mountains of this area of the Las Vegas Valley. As one of the most picturesque spots to check out in southern Nevada, the Red Rock Canyon features a 520-acre stretch of red rock formations within the western and northern margins of the valley. Interestingly, this protected National Conservation Area can be easily seen from the Las Vegas Strip. The canyon offers a number of biking and climbing sites, hiking trails, and sightseeing stops. Tourists enjoy a number of scenic drive stops for sightseeing, photography, and videography.
As a historical and cultural site, it has become a witness to centuries of prehistoric nomadic cultures as seen on the canyon wall markings’ petroglyphs. Native Americans also contributed to the canyon’s history through the trails of their toasting pits, such as the popular ones located near the entrance of the Keystone Thrust Trail.
333 S. Valley View Blvd. Las Vegas, NV 89107; 702-822-7700
The Springs Preserve is a 180-acre cultural institution easily accessible from the Las Vegas Strip. It is located approximately 3 miles west of downtown Las Vegas. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this Las Vegas attraction is home to hundreds of native plant, bird, and animal species. It represents one of the richest and most unique cultural and biological resources in Nevada. The site is also designed to commemorate Las Vegas history through museums and galleries usually hosting visual art exhibits focused on conservation and sustainability themes, diverse outdoor events, colorful botanical gardens extending up to 8 acres long, a living bat cave, and an interpretive trail system with a scenic wetland habitat.
Guests can see a colorful variety of native and non-native plant species in the area. Highlighting these are different gardens filled with cactus, herbs, roses, vegetables, fruits, and palms. Patrons of the Springs Preserve can watch cooking demonstrations using herbs and other healthy food ingredients that encourage wholesome and environment-friendly lifestyle changes. People with physical disabilities can also watch gardening demonstrations suitable for their more specific needs.
Mount Charleston, Nevada
Mount Charleston is a very popular natural attraction especially to Las Vegas locals. This year-round getaway spot for many Las Vegas residents and visitors is best known for its hiking trails, picnicking, camping, and horseback riding sites during spring, summer, and autumn and its ski area during winter. Its peak is snowcapped for more than a year. Its temperature averages about 20 to 30 degrees cooler than downtown Las Vegas. It is also known as one of the top ten most topographically prominent peaks in the United States.
Mount Charleston is about 35 miles northwest of Las Vegas and it can be seen from many parts of the Las Vegas Strip when looking towards the west. With about 200 campsites and over 150 picnic areas (including sites that are RV accessible), this natural Las Vegas attraction offers tourists varying sites of waterfalls, forests, wildflowers, wild burros, deers, desert tortoises, and songbirds.