The best natural wonders in Las Vegas prove that there's more to this city than the bright lights of the Strip. But this dazzling line-up of neon casinos, hotels and performance venues is only part of the story when it comes to getting to know Las Vegas and its striking landscape.

    Both inside and surrounding this world-famous city are a wealth of equally impressive natural attractions. Ranging from lush wetlands and mountain hikes to iconic rock formations, check out these unmissable landmarks to ensure you experience everything that Las Vegas has to offer.

    1

    Springs Preserve

    Pristine nature walks and museums without leaving the city

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    Springs Preserve is where you can experience Nevada’s unique scenery without having to leave Las Vegas at all. Situated just 3 miles from the Las Vegas Strip, this 180-acre spot has desert succulents, green botanical gardens, a butterfly house, and an interactive early 20th-century boomtown.

    Springs Preserve also has 3 miles of hiking and cycling trails that are lined with native plant life. There's a family-friendly train that makes its way through the park, along with a selection of museums, animal enclosures and exhibits exploring Las Vegas' natural history.

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    Location: 333 S Valley View Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89107, USA

    Open: March–August: daily from 10 am to 6 pm. September–February: daily from 10 am to 4 pm

    Phone: +1 702-822-7700

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    2

    Clark County Wetlands Park

    A flourishing landscape with desert creatures of all shapes and sizes

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    Clark County Wetlands Park is a flourishing desert landscape with extensive hiking and biking trails. Spanning 2,900 acres, this wetland presents outstanding wildlife watching opportunities, with a wide array of creatures – ranging from turtles to coyotes – taking shelter from the heat in the park’s ponds and shaded spots.

    However, the standout highlight at Clark County Wetlands Park is the 210-acre Nature Preserve trail. This highly immersive hike is great for kids as it has vibrant displays and activities that’ll keep them entertained for hours. Look out across the park from the trail’s scenic viewing platforms and enjoy this peaceful escape during the early morning or late afternoon.

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    Location: 7050 Wetlands Park Ln, Las Vegas, NV 89122, USA

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 4 pm

    Phone: +1 702-455-7522

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    3

    Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument

    Home to ancient Ice Age fossils

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    • History
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    The Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument is considered one of the world’s best places to see Ice Age fossils. As among the best natural wonders in Las Vegas,  it's also ideal for history and science lovers. The 22,650-acre site is positioned just 20 miles from the centre of Las Vegas. Here, you will find fossils dating back 200,000 years that have been dug up throughout this enormous archaeological site. 

    You will have to use your imagination to appreciate how this incredibly dry landscape was once a lush wetland thousands of years ago. With prehistoric creatures drawn to the region's food and water, fossils of Columbian mammoths, Camelops, and sabre-toothed cats have been discovered in the Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument.

    Location: Las Vegas, NV 89124, USA

    Open: Daily from 6 am to 7 pm

    Phone: +1 702-293-8853

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    4

    Lake Mead

    Endless outdoor activities in one of America's top holiday spots

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    Lake Mead is recognised as one of America’s top holiday destinations, but it only exists due to the construction of the towering Hoover Dam. As the largest reservoir in the United States, each year millions of visitors make their way here to enjoy boating, fishing, and the seemingly endless sunshine.

    With approximately 750 miles of shoreline, Lake Mead offers a massive range of activities. For instance, you don't want to miss the stunning view from the top of the Hoover Dam. You should also leave time to hike along the Historic Railroad Trail before taking a break at Willow Beach overlooking the Colorado River.

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    Location: 10 Lakeshore Rd, Boulder City, NV 89005, USA

    Phone: +1 702-293-8990

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    5

    Valley of Fire State Park

    Soaring sandstone formations and ancient paintings

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    The Valley of Fire State Park is located to the north of Lake Mead. It’s where you have to head if you want to experience Nevada’s renowned rock formations. With these striking natural sandstone structures estimated to be 150 million years old, landmarks such as these don’t come along every day.

    Alongside world-class hiking trails, one of the Valley of Fire State Park’s highlights is the aptly named Elephant Rock. This towering rock formation is a must-visit for photographers. Other formations in the area are where you'll see ancient Native American rock paintings and carvings.

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    Location: 29450 Valley of Fire Hwy, Overton, NV 89040, USA

    Phone: +1 702-397-2088

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    6

    Red Rock Canyon

    For the best of Las Vegas hiking

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    Red Rock Canyon is one of Las Vegas’ best places to visit if you love hiking in the great outdoors. Featuring 26 unique open-country trails spanning the full spectrum of difficulty, this is a great way to see every perspective of this celebrated natural wonder.

    Although choosing any of these hikes will place you amongst varied desert plant life, the Calico Tanks Trail reaches a hidden waterhole and offers top-notch views across Las Vegas. Also, the challenging Icebox Canyon Trail features a shaded path and seasonal waterfalls. With Red Rock Canyon situated a short drive from the community of Summerlin, you’ll find great casino resorts, dining, and shopping when you’re ready to round out the day.

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    Location: 1000 Scenic Loop Dr, Las Vegas, NV 89161, USA

    Open: Daily from 6 am to 8 pm

    Phone: +1 702-515-5350

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    7

    Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area

    Scenic landscapes and ancient cultures

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    The Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area offers a relaxing day away from the crowds of Las Vegas. Situated 15 miles south of the city, you’ll find 6 trailheads winding their way through this extensive conservation area. Perfect for hiking, mountain biking or horseback riding, keep an eye out for the mountain lions and bobcats that roam the area.

    However, this natural wonder’s main draw is the Sloan Canyon Petroglyph Site. Regarded as a hugely significant destination, there are over 300 rock paintings and carvings created by several different ancient cultures. Head along and find out why this place is considered one of the most important Native American sites in Southern Nevada.

    Location: Nawghaw Poa Rd, Henderson, NV 89052, USA

    Open: Daily from 8 am to 4.30 pm

    Phone: +1 702-515-5000

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    8

    Mount Charleston

    First-rate trailheads and winter sports

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    Mount Charleston is a remarkable place to visit, whether you arrive in Las Vegas during the summer or winter. Naturally, the warmer months mean the 60 miles of trails on offer are accessible for experienced hikers. With these trailheads culminating in the incredible Charleston Peak at 11,916 ft, summiting this mountaintop isn’t for the faint-hearted.

    However, the winter months provide a much different experience compared to the rest of Las Vegas. While city temperatures can drop to the mid-teens, Mount Charleston drops to sub-zero as intense snowfall transforms it into an exceptional winter sports destination. Head along to the Lee Canyon ski resort for the best slopes.

    Location: Mt Charleston, NV 89124, USA

    Phone: +1 702-872-5486

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    9

    Death Valley National Park

    One of North America’s most extreme national parks

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    Death Valley National Park truly earns its daunting name, with this immense area serving as the lowest, and one of the driest, places in North America. But even though this enormous national park is extreme in many respects, there are still plenty of wonderful experiences to be had.

    For instance, the Badwater Basin is where you can discover what happens when a lake simply evaporates. This sprawling salt flat exists almost 280 ft below sea level and is the most famous landmark in Death Valley. For a memorable road trip, cruise the Artist’s Drive to pass 9 miles of epic volcanic formations and colourful hillside soil.

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    10

    Lehman Caves

    An underground labyrinth with guided tours

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    The Lehman Caves were discovered in the late 1880s and have since become known as the most legendary caves in the region. Situated within the Great Basin National Park, visitors will come across over 300 so-called shield formations that hang from every surface of the cave. Meanwhile, you might also get a glimpse of bats, spiders, and pseudoscorpions.

    Although Lehman Caves is only available to be explored via guided tours, these 60-minute or 90-minute sessions are a fantastic way to experience this underground landmark. Then, head out into the rest of the park and visit a wealth of serene alpine lakes and forests.

    Location: 5500 NV-488, Baker, NV 89311, USA

    Phone: +1 775-234-7331

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    Hudson Brown | Contributing Writer

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