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While Las Vegas is well-known for casinos and night life, it’s also well-known as a gateway to the national parks of the southwest. An increasing number of travelers use the Las Vegas airport as their gateway city to some of the best hiking and outdoor experiences in all of the National Park Service. Today we’re posting a complete guide to the national parks near Las Vegas. We hope you find it helpful in planning your next road trip departing from the Entertainment Capital of the World.

How many of the more than 400+ national park units are near Las Vegas?

They include three national parks, two national monuments, a National Preserve, and a National Recreation Area. To check out locations and details of each of these parks, see the map below:


National Parks Near Las Vegas

National Parks In Las Vegas

Many people are surprised to learn that you don’t even need to travel outside of the city of Las Vegas to visit a national park unit. There is one national monument located in Las Vegas:

Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument

Park Website: https://www.nps.gov/tusk/index.htm
Park Address:
Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument
16001 Corn Creek Rd
Las Vegas, NV 89166

In 2014, President Barack Obama signed legislation to establish Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument. Among the national parks near Las Vegas, this is the closest, located 20 miles northeast from The Strip.

Tule Springs Fossil Beds protects more than 400 significant paleontological sites, and is famous for large animal fossils like mammoths and the Giant North American Lion. The site also has historical significance as it relates to the development and use of radiocarbon dating in archeology.

Since the park has only recently been added to the National Park Service, to date there is no visitor’s center, parking or facilities. The only way to enter the park is on foot. There are some developed hiking trails around an area known as “The Big Dig,” a popular spot for fossil hunting.

Anyone searching for the National Park Passport stamp for Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument will have to travel to nearby Lake Mead National Recreation Area or the Desert National Wildlife Refuge.


 


National Parks within 1 hour of vegas

National Parks within 1 hour of Las Vegas

If you’re looking for a longer drive to visit a national park near Las Vegas, you’ll want to try the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. It’s located within an hour of the city:

Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Park Website: https://www.nps.gov/lake/index.htm
Park Address:
Alan Bible Visitor’s Center
10 Lakeshore Rd
Boulder City, NV 89005

Located about 30 miles west of downtown Las Vegas, Lake Mead National Recreation Area serves many of the recreation needs of the residents of the Las Vegas metro area. Lake Mead developed after the creation of the Hoover Dam. While drought and water useage has drained the lake, it was once designed to be the largest man-made reservoir in the United States.

At 1.4 million acres, the lake and surrounding recreation area has an abundance of outdoor activities. The lake is popular for boating, swimming and fishing. Hiking trails in the surrounding area showcase some of the best scenery in southern Nevada. And you can’t forget a tour of the world-famous Hoover Dam.

In our 2018 visit to Lake Mead National Recreation Area, we camped in the area near the Alan Bible Visitor’s Center. The following day we toured the Hoover Dam and learned more about how Lake Mead was formed in the 1930’s.

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National Parks within 3 hours of vegas

National Parks Within 3 Hours of Las Vegas

As mentioned above, Las Vegas has become a hub for national park travel to the southwestern United States. If you’ve got several days to travel outside the city, there are five national park units within a three hour drive of downtown Las Vegas. These are perfect for a day-trip or added on to the front or back-end of a trip to Sin City.

Death Valley National Park

Park Website: https://www.nps.gov/deva/index.htm
Park Address:
Furnace Creek Visitor’s Center
Furnace Creek, CA 92329

Death Valley National Park straddles the California and Nevada border roughly 2 hours 45 minutes west of Las Vegas. People come to Death Valley because it’s a place to set records. It’s the hottest, driest, and lowest of all the national parks–a place of true extremes.

So many people come from Las Vegas to see Death Valley National Park that the National Park Service advertises the best route to travel through the major attractions in the park:

Begin at Dantes View, 20 Mule Team, Zabriskie Point, Devils Golf Course, Badwater Basin, Artists Drive, Furnace Creek Visitor Center, Harmony Borax Works, and then Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes.

https://www.nps.gov/deva/planyourvisit/must-see-highlights.htm

Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park

Park Website: https://www.nps.gov/grca/index.htm
Park Address:
20 South Entrance Road
Grand Canyon, AZ 86023

A day trip to the Grand Canyon is one of the most popular tourist attractions advertised at hotels and casinos in Las Vegas. As soon as you step off the airplane, you’re greeted with choices for bus tours, helicopter rides, and travel bookings to one of the most popular destinations in the world.

While the South Rim Visitor’s Center and Mather Point are slightly beyond 4 hours drive from Las Vegas, it’s possible to see parts of Grand Canyon National Park within a day trip. Regardless, we think it’s worth spending a longer time in the park. At least 2-3 days for hiking, visitor’s centers and plenty of sunrise/sunset photos.

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Pipespring National Monument
Pipe Spring National Monument

Pipe Spring National Monument

Park Website: https://www.nps.gov/pisp/index.htm
Park Address:
406 Pipe Springs Road 
Fredonia, AZ 86022

In the desert Southwest, water reigns king. That’s why for thousands of years, the area around Pipe Spring National Monument has been a stopping point for Native Americans, pioneer settlers, and Mormon ranchers. A true desert oasis, the water flowing from the natural spring has fed generations of people in the area.

Designated as a national monument in 1923, Pipe Spring now allows visitors the chance to experience an early Mormon settlement, including original buildings, period furniture, and living history exhibits. A few hours at Pipe Spring (and a ranger-led tour) are a special experience that should not be missed as you travel to nearby Grand Canyon or Zion National Parks.


Hiking in Zion National Park - Canyon View

Zion National Park

Park Website: https://www.nps.gov/zion/index.htm
Park Address:
1 Zion Park Blvd. 
State Route 9 
Springdale, UT 84767

One hundred sixty miles to the northeast of downtown Las Vegas rests one of the pinnacles of the National Park Service – Zion National Park. We don’t have much to say about Zion other than you have to see it for yourself. The towering peaks, hiking along the Virgin River, and the endless opportunities to get lost in nature speak for themselves.

Add it to your next Las Vegas vacation. We promise you wont be disappointed.

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