Las Vegas is more closely associated with sparkle and debauchery than hydration and hill repeats. But if you venture out in the daytime hours, you will discover that peeking out from behind the extravagant casinos are miles of beautiful single-track trails. In a town better known for poker players and showgirls, Las Vegas boasts a thriving community of health-conscious runners.
“There are so many amazing, well-maintained trails to explore in the area,” says marathoner Casey Chernesky, a Vegas native for 14 years. “The scenery and overlooks are stunning, and I am often greeted by many other runners and cyclists.”
Whether traveling to Las Vegas for business or pleasure, options abound for staying active during your trip. Before you don stilettos and dance the night away at one of the many clubs on the Las Vegas Strip, lace up your trainers and explore the heavenly side of Sin City. Try our six favorite routes. . .
#1 Red Rock Canyon
Majestically rising from the desert, this red sandstone wonder contains over 30 miles of trails in and around La Madre Mountain and Keystone Thrust. Red Rock Canyon is popular with runners, mountain bikers and hikers for its combination of challenging terrain and breathtaking beauty. Start at the parking lot and take the Calico Hills trail to Sandstone Quarry. Once there, hop on to White Rock Loop, a six-mile route of rocky trail.
#2 Lovell Canyon
This lovely respite, about half an hour from the city center, o ers cool temperatures and shaded trails during Nevada’s notoriously hot summers. The six-mile Lovell Canyon Trail starts with a steep incline, then relaxes and winds through forested lands and scenic vistas. If you venture there on a Sunday morning, you may see the trails packed with runners in race bibs—the canyon hosts a number of races, including the Labor of Love Marathon series.
#3 Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort
Runners in search of high-altitude training will appreciate the Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort, sitting in the shadow of Mount Charleston. The resort, located an hour from the Strip, keeps many of its trails open for runners during the summer. Traverse through the giant fir and aspen trees of the challenging Bristlecone Trail, then cool down with a scenic chairlift ride.
#4 Six Tunnels to Hoover Dam
Skip the Wild West casino and get a taste of the real thing at this flat four-mile trail. The packed dirt route begins in nearby Boulder City, runs along and inside abandoned railroad tunnels, and ends at the Hoover Dam. Along the way, you’ll catch views of Lake Mead and herds of bighorn sheep.
#5 Desert Dash Group Runs
If you’re in search of a free guided running tour of Las Vegas trails, the Desert Dash group is for you. This fun, talkative pack welcomes guests of all levels for social runs. Meet them at the Bootleg Canyon on Wednesday evenings—they run every week at 6:30 p.m., rain, shine or 100-degree temps. For more information, visit desertdash.com.
#6 Indoor Hike at ARIA
Pressed for time between pool parties and show tickets? Hit the trails in the ARIA Resort (yes, we’re serious!). The ARIA Fitness Indoor Hike combines a heart-pumping workout (sprints and stair-climbing are on the agenda) through the resort grounds and CityCenter complex. Sure, there are no scenic canyon vistas, but the workout offers some breathtaking views of its own: ARIA’s 40-million-dollar collection is one of the largest public art displays in the world.