We were interested in finding outdoor, COVID-friendly activities when passing through Las Vegas on our way to Utah. Fortunately, Vegas had some beautiful outdoor places to enjoy! Here’s where we visited near/in Vegas:
Valley of Fire State Park
Valley of Fire State Park is an hour or so north of Las Vegas. It was only $10 to get in! Furthermore, there was so much to do inside the park. Here’s a handful of hikes that we had time for:
When I heard of Fire Wave, I thought it’d be like THE Wave in Arizona. Granted, I wouldn’t know, because I’ve never been to The Wave… So I thought the ENTIRE hike would be dramatically wavy like this:
Not so! It only started to look wavy toward the end of the hike. Most of the time, the rocks were not particularly “wavy,” but were straight and layered.
It was SO hot that day…temps were in the 90’s. I was surprised that Vegas started getting this hot so early in the year. True desert weather, I guess. There was no shade on this trail! Some ways past the red rocks we found this little cave to cool down in before continuing to explore the surrounding area.
Man cave or cave man?
We continued on past the “fire wave” part, but most of the landscape looked more or less like this:
So we turned back to play near the more interesting wavy rocks before ending the hike. Did I mention that it was hot?!
Loved the layers of rock here
I wish they had a sign or something that said “YOU HAVE REACHED THE FIRE WAVE” because we weren’t sure if there was more to the hike past these wild red rocks. All we had were brown trail markers that all of a sudden…stopped. Some people even climbed the mountain with their dog (we were not those people). So let me set your expectations straight - once you see the stretch of red rocks that look like the photos above, you’ve reached the Fire Wave!
White Domes Trail
This was a much more pleasant trail to do because it was shaded! The scenery was also more interesting/varied. If you’re going to do the Fire Wave hike, don’t miss this one; it is very close by. The trailhead has its own parking lot.
Hiking closer to sunset was also better, so that we could be shaded by the rocks and canyons! Yes, there was a canyon at one small stretch - this was the first of many canyon hikes on our trip.
Canyon up ahead
Here it is!
Since this was the first canyon we hiked on our trip, I was very excited!
Personally, I enjoyed the White Domes Trail more. I learned that the best hiking conditions for me is cool weather and no direct sunlight! White Domes was mostly shaded and had a wide variety of interesting landscapes to enjoy.
The park ranger recommended that we head east an hour before sunset to see the rays catch on the distant mountains. Since we didn’t have much daylight left, we pulled over at one of the first stops, at Seven Sisters.
Seven Sisters is a group of seven tall, red, eroded boulders surrounded by the sandy desert.
Two of the sisters
I was more interested in the surrounding desert landscape, which looked stunning in the golden hour:
Until next time, Valley of Fire!
Seven Magic Mountains
“Internationally renowned Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone’s Seven Magic Mountains is a large-scale site-specific public art installation located near Jean Dry Lake and Interstate 15, approximately ten miles south of Las Vegas, Nevada.” - official website
If it weren’t on the way of us coming up from Joshua Tree, then I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to see it. The parking lot was very small and this place was very popular, so be prepared to fight for a spot.
But if you REALLY want that Instagram photo, better go soon! The artwork will be up until the end of 2021.
Below are additional places that we really liked and would recommend. A special thanks to our friend Kara who told us about both of these places!
If you’re feeling for some delicious, affordable Chinese, Shang Artisan Noodle had a simple yet tasty menu. Both of us tried popular menu items: Shang Beef Noodle and Dan-Dan Noodle. I also tried the Spicy Wonton to compare it to the ones at my beloved Din Tai Fung (pst, DTF’s is better). The noodles were handmade, delicious, and very filling. My dan-dan noodles were SPICY though and enough for two meals! Just be prepared to wait get be seated…or reserve a place in line ahead of time through the Yelp app. I had NO IDEA Yelp had this feature…now I’m always going to check before going to popular restaurants!
Any by drink, you know I meant boba, right?! I had tried Brew Tea Bar before in a previous Vegas trip, and they’re still kicking. I believe last time I tried the Hokkaido Milk Tea (a Japanese flavored candy, which was BOMB). This time I tried the Okinawa (brown sugar) Milk Tea which was also delicious! I think I love all brown sugar milk teas…my favorites from other places like Tiger Sugar and Meet Fresh are all brown sugar flavored.
I had been to Red Rock Canyon before, so that’s why we didn’t visit it this trip. It is very beautiful, though, with scenery similar to Valley of Fire. It’s closer to the city so if you don’t have as much time to go out to Valley of Fire, Red Rocks is an excellent alternative.
What would you recommend to do/see around Vegas?