Running and Traveling: Las Vegas

IMG_2382I’ve been to Las Vegas a bunch of times for work and I’ve always just run up and down the strip. There’s a good 8km of swerving in and out of hotels and going up and down stairs to cross the road. It does the job but it’s not exactly enjoyable.

When you fly into Vegas, you’re flying over the desert and there’s nothing and then all of a sudden, city. I knew there had to be desert trails somewhere but it took some googling to find out where.

What I found just outside of Vegas was Red Rock Canyon, a half an hour drive from the strip there are kilometres and kilometres of trails and a scenic drive. On my last trip there wasn’t time to go explore but this time I made sure that I made it out there.

IMG_2367And it turns out that January is a perfect time to go trail running in the desert. There’s no shade so I’d pretty hot if it is was warmer out. I ended up going on a beautiful day, it was 15C and sunny.

The first trail I tried at the trail head said that I was 6 miles (just under 10k) out and back. That was perfect because 10k was on my schedule for the day. After 2.5km of constant climbing on technical rocky trails, I decided to turn around try another trail that I might be able to actually run on.

IMG_2369Running back down the steep hill was lots of fun and I got to jump from rock to rock on part of it. Back at the trail head, I tried another trail seemed to be going downhill. The trail ended up weaving through cactuses on a sandy and rock-filled trail.

I was really thankful that I was wearing pants because I got a little too close to a couple cacti. I managed to only fall once and it was thankfully not on a cactus!

There are no trail markers which added an element of adventure. In Ontario, trail markers are on trees and it seems like there doesn’t seem to be a desert equivalent. Or if there is, I completely missed it! I only got really lost once and the second trail ended up with amazing views of the whole park.


It got cold quickly once you were in the shade and after almost 9km of slow running I decided to call it a day but it was just the kind of adventure that I was looking for.

I only got to see a fraction of the trails. You could spend days exploring there! I’m really glad I made it out there and I’m hoping to be back to explore more of the trails. If you’re in Vegas and want to find some trails, I highly recommend it!

Where have you unexpectedly found great (trail) running?

Happy running!


6 thoughts on “Running and Traveling: Las Vegas

  1. Ross Goodacre January 27, 2016 / 6:13 pm

    This looks fantastic! I’m visiting Las Vegas in June, you have tempted me to take my running trainers!

    • KatherineRunsUltras January 27, 2016 / 8:13 pm

      Yes, you definitely should! It’s worth the trip to see it even if you don’t run!

  2. Gareth January 28, 2016 / 1:51 pm

    Looks amazing! Those trails definitely look technically challenging but bounding from rock to rock is always fun!

    • KatherineRunsUltras January 28, 2016 / 6:22 pm

      It was lots of fun, I’m missing it as a run in a snow storm in Toronto 🙂

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