The perfect place to start exploring the many national parks is Las Vegas, which has 18 of the most beautiful National Parks nearby. It takes less than one day from Las Vegas to reach 13 National Parks in Nevada, California and Utah.
We just returned from Las Vegas and set out to explore the National Parks surrounding it. Here is our guide!
13 National Parks Near Las Vegas
There are many amazing National Parks close to Vegas, including the Zion National Park hikes and the Joshua Tree landscapes.
Death Valley National Park, California
Death Valley, located just two hours west from Las Vegas at the Nevada-California border, is a National Park full of extremes. Death Valley is one of the most extreme US National Parks. It has some of the highest temperatures and hottest on the planet.
Badwater Basin, which is 282 feet below the sea level, is one of the highlights, as well as Dantes Valley Viewpoint, Zabriskie Point, and Dantes Valley Viewpoint.
Zion National Park, Utah
The magnificent Zion National Park, which is located less than three hours from Las Vegas, boasts iconic hikes, soaring red rock cliffs, and an abundance of wildlife.
Zion is a popular destination for hikers who want to conquer Angels Landing or the water-based Narrows.
Zion was visited by 4.5 million people last year.
Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
The Bryce Canyon National Park’s signature hoodoo rocks columns is truly a magnificent sight. The park’s natural amphitheatres have been carved into the top of a plateau. There are several spectacular views along the rim, including Rainbow Point, Sunrise Point and Sunset Point.
Bryce Canyon, Utah’s smallest National Park, can be easily explored in one day.
Joshua Tree National Park, California
Joshua Tree National Park is only 3 hours drive from Vegas but feels like it’s on another planet. Joshua Tree’s desert landscape is studded with Joshua Trees. Its unique rock formations, jumbo boulders, and rock formations add to its appeal.
The most famous sights in Joshua Tree are the unique rock formations Skull Rock (Arch Rock), Heart Rock (Heart Rock), and Arch Rock (Arch Rock). You can also enjoy Joshua Tree’s sunrise from Keys View, hike to Desert Queen Mine, and check out the Cholla Cactus Garden for cactus.
You should also spend time in the nearby towns. The quirky Joshua Tree Town, and the wild west-themed Pioneertown are just a few of the top things to do near Joshua Tree National Park.
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
It can be difficult to choose between the North or South Rims of the Grand Canyon depending on the season and other places you plan on visiting.
The South Rim is more popular and offers more tourist options. You will find many great things to do at the Grand Canyon from this location. It is also open all year. The canyon’s vastness is displayed from a variety of viewpoints along Desert View Drive or Hermit Road. The South Kaibab Trail, with its breathtaking viewpoints, including Ooh Aah Point, is another highlight.
The North Rim is quieter and cooler than the South Rim. The North Rim is closed from May 15 to Oct 15 for overnight stays, and December 1 for day access. This is because the North Rim’s winter conditions are more severe. Bright Angel Point, Cape Royal, and Roosevelt Point are some of the highlights on the North Rim.
You can hike Rim-to-Rim via either the North Kaibab or South Kaibab trails. This hike is extremely difficult and only a few people attempt it.
6 | Great Basin National Park, Nevada
Great Basin National Park, located in eastern Nevada is centered around the mountainous Great Basin region that lies between California and Utah. It is home to a remarkable mix of limestone caverns and alpine lakes, which make the park stand out in its solitude. Nevada’s only glacier is located here, as well as some of the most ancient living trees on Earth with their 5,000-year-old bristlecone pines. The dark skies of Great Basin National Park are also well-known.
Highlights include the Lehman Cave Tour, the Alpine Lakes Loop Trail, the Bristlecone trail and the climb to Wheeler Peak, Nevada’s second highest peak.
Capitol Reef National Park, Utah
Capitol Reef National Park offers a unique experience with its rugged landscapes and colorful desert rocks. Capitol Reef’s most distinctive feature is Waterpocket Fold. This 100-mile-long buckle in the earth’s crust has been created by erosion and uplift, creating narrow canyons and interesting rock formations.
Capitol Reef is a beautiful and easy park to explore. Highway 24 runs through the park, and the Capitol Reef Scenic Drive is an 8-mile scenic drive that showcases some of the most stunning scenery in the park. Panorama Point, Sunset Point, and Hickman’s Bridge offer stunning views. There are also turnoffs to Grand Wash or Capitol Gorge that allow for plenty of hiking.
Yosemite National Park, California
The towering cliffs, waterfalls, and giant sequoias of Yosemite National Park are located in the western Sierra Nevada Mountains. Yosemite has many fascinating residents. Some lucky visitors may spot mountain lions, black bears and bighorn sheep.
The action is concentrated in Yosemite Valley, which covers almost 8 miles. It was created millions of years ago by glaciers.
Half Dome is the most prominent sight in Yosemite. El Captain sits at 4,800 feet above Yosemite Valley’s floor. Half Dome can be seen across the valley from El Capitan, which rises to 4,800 feet. Nevada Falls, Bridalveil Falls, and Yosemite Falls cascade over Yosemite rock. The most spectacular views can be seen from Glacier Point (Washburn Point) and Tunnel View (Tunnel View).
Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona
The Petrified Forest National Park covers more than 200 million years worth of history and is close to Vegas. It is divided into two parts: The north section contains the Painted Desert’s colourful rock and clay hills, while the south has the petrified forest.
There are many great viewpoints and hikes to choose from. The Blue Mesa Trail is 1 miles long and the Crystal Forest Loop is 0.8 miles. It winds through petrified forest.
A section of Route 66 is included in the Petrified Forest National Park. Route 66 is home to the Painted Desert Inn. It was once a restaurant and hotel, but it’s now a museum.
Sequoia National Park, California
The majestic sequoia tree is the largest living organism on Earth, and Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park are adjacent.
The General Sherman Tree, located in the Giant Forest Sequoia Grove is the largest tree in the world by volume. It is still growing! The General Sherman Tree is 36 feet in diameter at the base and 275 feet tall.
Sequoia National Park is home to Mount Whitney, which is the highest peak in the US.
Other highlights include Moro Rock (a 400-step climb that rewards with breathtaking views), the marble karst Crystal Cave, and Tunnel Log (a fallen sequoia that cars can drive through).
Kings Canyon National Park, California
Kings Canyon, located adjacent to Sequoia National Park is centred around the canyon’s namesake which is the deepest in America.
Redwood Canyon, the largest remaining grove sequoia tree grove in the world, is part of Kings Canyon National Park. Grant Grove is another Kings Canyon Grove that contains the General Grant Tree which is the second-largest sequoia tree in all of the world.
The Kings Canyon Scenic Byway descends into Canyon and takes visitors to Cedar Grove, the heart of Canyon.
Arches National Park, Utah
Arches National Park, which is home to more than 2,000 natural stone arches and is just 7 hours from Las Vegas, is located.
The Delicate Arch Trail is one of the most popular hikes in Arches. This arch can be recognized on Utah license plates. Landscape Arch, Balanced Rock, and Devil’s Garden are just a few of its amazing sights. Landscape Arch holds the title for the longest natural stone arch in America.
Canyonlands National Park, Utah
Canyonlands, Utah’s largest National Park, is divided into four distinct areas: Island in the Sky (The Needles), The Maze, and Orange Cliffs.
Island in the Sky, which is located 30 minutes from Moab, is the most accessible. The district is home to Mesa Arch, Utah’s most photographed arch. It is just a 10 minute walk from the nearest parking lot. Grand Viewpoint, which offers spectacular views of the Needles and Maze districts, is another highlight.
Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada
Only 50 miles north of Las Vegas is the Valley of Fire State Park. Valley of Fire is named after the red Aztec sandstone in the park that illuminates the valley when it catches the sunlight.
Visitors can explore the park by taking the 11-mile Valley of Fire Scenic Byway, which connects the west and east entrances.
You can easily access some sights nearby: you can climb the steps at Atlatl Rock to view the 4,000-year-old petroglyphs; admire the Beehives, Windstone Arch, and Elephant Rock right by the entrance.
You can take a short detour on Mouse Tank Road to reach the trailheads of the First Wave, White Domes Rainbow Vista, Mouse Tank, Mouse Tank, and Pink Canyon. Mouse Tank Road is where you can capture the iconic Valley of Fire photo, in which the narrow road cuts through red rock formations.
Hoover Dam and Lake Mead National Recreation Area
The colossal Hoover Dam towers 725 feet above the Colorado River. It is an impressive engineering feat. You can take a tour of Hoover Dam and the observation deck offers panoramic views of Hoover Dam and Lake Mead, as well as the Colorado River.
Lake Mead, located on the Colorado River is the largest man-made reservoir of the United States. It is imounded by the Hoover Dam. It supplies water to Arizona and Nevada, as well as to Nevada and parts of Mexico. A boat ride on the Mississippi paddle wheels is one of the best ways you can explore Lake Mead.
16 | Red Rock Canyon, Nevada
The Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area offers a great escape from the hustle and bustle of Las Vegas with its striking red and grey sandstone formations, fascinating rock formations, and ancient petroglyphs.
Red Rock Canyon can be easily explored by a variety of stops along its 13-mile scenic drive, as well as short hikes. If you wish to spend more time at Red Rock Canyon, there are some longer hikes that can be more difficult. We loved exploring the Lost Canyon Children’s Discovery Trail, with its waterfalls & petroglyphs, as a family activity in Las Vegas.
Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend, Arizona
Both Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and Page are within a short drive of Las Vegas.
Antelope Canyon is one the most photographed and visited slot canyons in the entire world. Antelope Canyon formed from a series flash floods and hot dry temperature which caused the erosion of the sandstone rock that forms the canyon.
Horseshoe Bend, part of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is a scenic bend in the Colorado River. It is also known as an entrenched meder. It is a short walk from the parking lot that takes you to Horseshoe Bend. The view is spectacular.
18 | Monument Valley, Utah-Arizona border
Monument Valley, located on the Utah-Arizona border is characterized by mesas that tower over the desert landscape and sandstone buttes. Monument Valley offers a magical experience, with breathtaking sunsets and sunrises.
Monument Valley is associated with the American West. It was popularized as the backdrop for Western movies like Stagecoach or The Searchers. It was also featured in National Lampoon’s Vacation, and the famous scene in Forrest Gump in which Forest decides to stop running in order to return home.