Traveling Ted is a blog that takes readers along on my adventures hiking, canoeing, skiing, and international backpacking. Many blogs focus on one aspect of backpacking, but I tackle both the outdoor adventure side and international exploration as well.

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Las Vegas strip

The Las Vegas strip at night -Wikimedia Creative Commons

Las Vegas is one of the number one tourist destinations in the United States for American and foreign travelers alike. I have been twice, and although I prefer adventure travel, Vegas is undoubtedly a fun place to be for a few days. The novelty wears off for me though rather quickly. One can only take so many bright lights, casino games, and crowds before an escape is needed.

Las Vegas

Las Vegas with Red Rock Canyon in the background – Wikimedia Creative Commons

Fortunately, there are some wonderful places to enjoy within a half days drive and even closer for those needing to escape the craziness for a little peace, solitude, and outdoor beauty. Here is a list of five escapes if you feel the need,beginning with the closest and branching out to destinations within a five hour drive.

Red Rock Canyon

Located only 20 miles west of Las Vegas this is the ideal place to escape for a day or only a couple of hours. There is an 11 mile road that loops around the canyon with several hiking trails to stop off at along the way. The trails run anywhere from a half mile to 6 miles and there are over 20 different short trails, so one could spend days exploring the trails in the Canyon if they were that burned out on Vegas.

Red Rock Canyon is a must see and an interesting place to escape Vegas, but for some, it may not be far enough away. The Canyon can be crowded at times as hundreds of people visiting Vegas have the same idea as you. For real solitude, it may be necessary to branch out a little further.

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley is not all arid desert – Wikimedia Creative Commons

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park is an enormous swath of low lying desert wilderness about an hour northwest of Las Vegas straddling the Nevada and California border. Death Valley is the lowest point in America, and one of the hottest areas in the United States.

Despite its formidable name and heat, the park is surprisingly beautiful with scenic dunes and rugged hills and occasionally even a desert flower. The flower and fauna are equally interesting with roadrunners, coyotes, tarantulas, kit fox, mountain lion, and the desert bighorn sheep.

There are few established trails in the park, but hikers and backpackers can follow abandoned roads, alluvial fans, and canyon bottoms. There are 3 million acres to explore, but be sure to bring plenty of water and come with good navigation skills as getting lost in this wilderness could be deadly.

Lake Mead National Recreation Area

For an outdoor experience not so intense, check out Lake Mead National Recreation Area just east of Las Vegas. They have a ton of outdoor activities people can enjoy from boating, fishing, swimming, hiking, picnicking, camping, and many more.

Water is the main draw here, and it is nice to swim in a beautiful setting instead of a crowded pool in Las Vegas. The scenery here is spectacular as gorgeous steep canyons seem to rise right out of the lake. The lake is large in some sections, but there are hundreds of coves and certain areas of the lake almost retain the feeling of the Colorado River. Narrow channels snakes through canyons just like a river.

Grand Canyon National Park

The South Rim does not hold a monopoly on beauty in the Grand Canyon – There are amazing views everywhere

Grand Canyon National Park

If you are really yearning to get away from Las Vegas then check out one of America’s most prestigious National Parks. There are two ways to see the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas. You can spend a couple of hundred dollars or more and check it out by helicopter or you can rent a car and drive and check it out yourself.

Of course I would recommend the latter. The Grand Canyon would be cool to check out by helicopter, but it could not be any more beautiful than the views you get from the ground. Most people come to the South Rim and take pictures and leave, but definitely check out some of the amazing trails in the canyon.

Zion National Park

A typical view in Zion National Park

Zion National Park

Not far from the Grand Canyon is the equally beautiful Zion National Park. The drive through the national park will overwhelm you with amazing views. Just like the Grand Canyon, most just drive the main road and take pictures and leave, but the trails in Zion are so amazing. Besides the Zion Canyon area there is also the Northgate Peaks and the Hop Valley sections of the park. They are not as jaw dropping as the main canyon, but they are beautiful as well.

After a couple of days in Las Vegas you feel like you need to escape the casino vacation for a day or two, these five locations varying in distance will be a great outlet. You can recharge your battery at these five places and return to Vegas and win some money.

This post was dedicated to leaving Las Vegas. For great tips while in Vegas, check out The Las Vegas Examiner,  Mr. Doubledown himself, Charles Higgins, will give you some great advice on what to do, where to stay, and shows to see while staying in Sin City.


The goal of Traveling Ted is to inspire people to outdoor adventure travel and then provide tips on where and how to go. If you liked this post then enter your email in the box to get email notifications for each new entry. Daily travel photos are excluded from your email in order to not flood you with posts. There is no spam and email information will not be shared. Other e-follow options include Facebook (click on the like box to the right) or twitter (click on the pretty bird on the rainbow above).

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