By Kate Siber
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Las Vegas wilderness might seem like an oxymoron, but a mere 17 miles west of the megawattage of the Strip, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is a wild enclave of red-rock cliffs, peaks, and canyons that attract rock climbers, horseback riders, and hikers.
Get Hiking: Try the strenuous five-mile round trip to Turtle Head Peak from Sandstone Quarry. You’ll hike 2,000 vertical feet through flats covered in blackbrush, Joshua trees, and yuccas; along a ridge; and finally to the 6,300-foot summit with a hawk’s-eye view over Sin City.
Après Hike: You can’t leave Las Vegas without at least a perfunctory game of blackjack. Try the Red Rock Casino Resort Spa, where there’s not only a game floor but also a spa that offers guided local activities like rock climbing and mountain biking—not to mention post-hike massages.
Photograph by Jared McMillen, Aurora