National Parks Near Las Vegas (Map, Distances, Driving Time)

National Parks near Las Vegas offer a stunning contrast to the bright lights and vibrant entertainment of the Las Vegas Strip.

While Las Vegas is renowned for its entertainment, gambling, and even hockey, it is also strategically situated among several stunning national parks, making it an ideal gateway for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. Las Vegas serves as a launching point for exploring the natural wonders of not only Nevada but also neighboring states like California, Utah, and Arizona.

Join us on an adventure to uncover the majestic landscapes that lie just beyond the city’s commotion, as we explore the National Parks near Las Vegas.

National Parks Near Las Vegas

Maps of National Parks Near Las Vegas

Best National Parks Near Las Vegas

There are several excellent national parks within driving distance of Las Vegas. However, for a comprehensive experience of this remarkable area, consider exploring not only the national parks but also the National Recreational Areas, National Monuments, National Preserves, National Park Sites, and State Parks that dot the region. By incorporating these diverse destinations into your road trip itinerary, the range of options becomes virtually limitless!

1. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Nevada

  • Driving distance from Las Vegas: 21 miles
  • Driving time: 0.5 hours

Red Rock Canyon, located just 21 miles from Las Vegas, is not only one of the closest parks but also among the most stunning. Boasting immense cliffs, colossal rock formations, and a landscape adorned with red boulders, it serves as a magnet for photographers, hikers, and rock climbers.

Even if hiking or climbing isn’t your thing, a one-way, 13-mile-long road winds through the park, showcasing its most spectacular sights.

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area (NV)
Red Rock Canyon National scenic 13-mile road.

For those with limited time yet a strong desire to break away from the city lights of Vegas, the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is an excellent starting point. Just a short drive from Las Vegas, it offers a swift escape into the natural wonders.

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Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Nevada

2. Hoover Dam and Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada

  • Driving distance from Las Vegas: 21 miles
  • Driving time: 0.5 hours

Another location managed by the National Park Service and situated extremely close to Las Vegas is Lake Mead, a mere half-hour drive from the city and the largest freshwater reservoir in the area. This manmade lake, created by the iconic Hoover Dam, is so expansive that it stretches from Nevada into Arizona.

The Lake Mead National Recreation Area is vast, encompassing an enormous lake, canyons, valleys, cliffs, and mountains. Additionally, there are ample wilderness areas to explore within its expansive boundaries.

Popular activities at Lake Mead include fishing, swimming, and wakeboarding, with a constant presence of boats dotting the expansive water. The lake serves as the perfect retreat to cool off from the desert heat and bask in the beauty of the natural surroundings.

Lake Mead National Recreation Area (NV)
Lake Mead National Recreation Area

3. Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

  • Driving distance from Las Vegas: 60 miles
  • Driving time: 1 hour

If you are planning a trip to visit Lake Mead, then you won’t want to miss Valley of Fire State Park as well. In fact, it might be a good idea to combine a visit to both of these amazing locations. 

This park gets its name from the red sandstone cliffs and rock formations, and they shine as if on fire during sunrise and sunset. There are a variety of hiking trails through Valley of Fire, as well as plenty of campsites for park visitors to use. 

Valley of Fire State Park is every landscape and outdoor photographer’s dream location, and the beautiful scenery is second to none. Don’t forget your camera when you go to visit!

Valley of Fire State Park (NV)
Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

4. Death Valley National Park, California

Death Valley is the closest national park to Las Vegas. It is also famous for many things, like being the largest national park in the lower 48 states. It also holds the records for the lowest point in elevation in North America and the hottest and driest location in North America. 

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Death Valley National Park – Dante’s Point

So why would anyone want to visit a place like this? Luckily there are many reasons, and there is much more than just desert as its name and reputation would have you believe!

Death Valley has giant sand dunes, mountains covered in snow, large canyons, mosaic badlands, and even a few waterfalls, depending on the time of year

Death Valley National Park. Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes
Death Valley National Park. Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes

Before visiting the park, don’t forget to download the official Death Valley map.

5. Snow Canyon State Park, Utah

  • Driving distance from Las Vegas: 170 miles
  • Driving time: 2 hours 25 minutes

The first location on our list found in Utah, Snow Canyon State Park, is famous for its large canyons that are carved out of white and red sandstone. The scenery is breathtaking here, and because of the mild weather, it is open year-round.

Snow Canyon State Park (UT)
Snow Canyon State Park

Popular activities that can be found at Snow Canyon State Park include hiking, biking, horseback riding, camping, and photography. 

Located just a few hours outside of Las Vegas, Snow Canyon is one place you must visit to truly appreciate. Many people argue that if this park was found in any other state, it would easily be a national park. You may even find yourself never wanting to leave!

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Hiking in Snow Canyon State Park

6. Zion National Park, Utah

Situated just a 2.5-hour drive from Vegas, Zion National Park proudly stands as the closest to Las Vegas among Utah’s “Mighty 5” national parks. As a result, Zion makes an ideal destination for a day trip from Las Vegas or a perfect weekend getaway.

As Utah’s first national park and most visited, Zion boasts a unique charm that sets it apart. This distinctive blend of geological wonders and vibrant greenery makes Zion a standout among Utah’s national parks.

The highlight of the park is the majestic Zion Canyon, sculpted over time by the meandering Virgin River. The cliffs and mountains in this region are nothing short of world-class, attracting visitors from across the globe.

Zion National Park
Zion Canyon scenic drive

Zion magnetizes millions of visitors each year, drawn by iconic hikes like Angels Landing, The Narrows, and Observation Point. These must-visit trails cater to those seeking high-adrenaline adventures. However, for those preferring gentler paths, trails like the Emerald Pools, Canyon Overlook, or Riverside Walk offer equally stunning vistas of Zion’s unique landscapes.

To beat the crowds and make the most of your trip to Zion National Park, consider arriving early. Popular trails can get crowded, so an early start ensures a more peaceful experience.

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Zion National Park. Angels Landing Trail

7. Joshua Tree National Park, California

  • Driving distance from Las Vegas: 185 miles
  • Driving time: 3 hours 10 minutes

Found in Southern California, Joshua Tree National Park is a desert wonderland that is chock-full of interesting and beautiful things to see. While the Joshua trees are the main attraction and where the park got its name, there are plenty of other desert attractions to explore. 

One of the most popular activities at Joshua Tree is camping, and there are numerous campsites available for anyone visiting the park. 

A little over a 3-hour drive from Vegas, Joshua Tree National Park is a great place for some beautiful desert scenery and exploration. You might even stumble into some old homesteads and goldmines as well!

Joshua Tree National Park (CA)
The Barker Dam Area in Joshua Tree National Park

8. Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, Utah

  • Driving distance from Las Vegas: 190 miles
  • Driving time: 3 hours

Utah has some amazing parks; luckily, Las Vegas sits right next to the Nevada and Utah border. Coral Pink Sand Dunes is one of these and is often overlooked by visitors because of the other larger and more famous national parks in the area. 

Just as the name implies, there are red and pink dunes in this park that are the main attractions. These were formed by the erosion of Navajo sandstone cliffs. 

One of the most popular activities at this park is riding ATVs throughout the dunes, but other visitors also enjoy camping, hiking, and photography. If any of these sound like fun to you, then Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park should be on your list!

Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park (UT)
Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

9. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Bryce Canyon National Park is found just east of Zion National Park and is most often visited by people who are there to see both parks. In fact, these two parks are often combined in one trip for most visitors, and you can’t enjoy one without the other!

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Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon is famous for its rock spires as well as its cliffs, canyon walls, and other rock formations that form a natural amphitheater

Plenty of trails allow you to drop down into Bryce Canyon and explore these rock formations and scenery up close, and this is definitely one of the best things to do while visiting this iconic national park. 

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Bryce Canyon National Park

10. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

  • Distance from Las Vegas to South Rim: 275 miles / 4 hours 15 minutes
  • Distance from Las Vegas to North Rim: 265 miles / 4 hours 30 minutes

Grand Canyon National Park, an iconic UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the Wonders of the World, stands as a must-visit destination in the United States. Located approximately 4 hours from Las Vegas, it offers a captivating weekend getaway for those seeking awe-inspiring natural beauty.

The national park is divided into two primary regions: the North Rim and the South Rim. Choosing between the two depends on the time of year and your planned itinerary.

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Grand Canyon National Park. South Rim

The South Rim, the more popular of the two, boasts an extensive array of tourist offerings and is open year-round. Grand Canyon Village, situated here, serves as a hub with numerous amenities. Along Desert View Drive and Hermit Road, a series of viewpoints showcase the vastness of the canyon, with highlights including the South Kaibab Trail and its mesmerizing viewpoints, such as Ooh Aah Point.

The North Rim, quieter and cooler, operates from May 15 to October 15 for overnight stays and opens for day access from December 1. Notable attractions on the North Rim include Bright Angel Point, Cape Royal, and Roosevelt Point. Adventurous hikers may undertake the challenging Rim-to-Rim hike via the North Kaibab trail.

If time permits only one rim visit, prioritize the South Rim. Explore viewpoints along Desert View Drive and Hermit Road, and don’t miss the breathtaking Ooh Aah Point.

Opt for a day trip to the Grand Canyon’s West Rim if time is limited. While not officially part of the national park, it’s a mere 2-hour drive from Las Vegas and features the thrilling SkyWalk viewing area.

Grand Canyon National Park, South Rim (AZ)
Grand Canyon National Park. The Desert View.

11. Kodachrome State Park, Utah

  • Driving distance from Las Vegas: 285 miles
  • Driving time: 4 hours 30 minutes

Located southeast of Bryce Canyon National Park, Kodachrome State Park stands as a vibrant tapestry of colorful sandstone spires, red rock boulders, majestic mountains, and the expansive canvas of clear blue skies.

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Kodachrome State Park. Panorama Trail.

Kodachrome Basin State Park in Utah derives its name from the popular Kodak Kodachrome film. The park’s unique geological features, including colorful sandstone spires and vibrant rock formations, resemble the rich and vivid colors characteristic of images captured on Kodachrome film.

Nature enthusiasts can partake in a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking. The park’s diverse trails cater to different skill levels, ensuring there’s an adventure for everyone.

If time allows, consider camping within the park to fully immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature. Camping spots scattered in and around the park offer a unique experience, especially under the expansive night sky.

Kodachrome State Park (UT)
Kodachrome State Park

12. Great Basin National Park, Nevada

  • Driving distance from Las Vegas: 300 miles
  • Driving time: 4 hours 40 minutes

Nestled in eastern Nevada, near the Utah border, Great Basin National Park stands as a tranquil haven, offering a stark contrast to the chaotic atmosphere of Las Vegas. Approximately 300 miles north of the city, this national park provides a scenic drive through the unique landscapes of Nevada.

Great Basin National Park is renowned for its unique combination of ancient bristlecone pine groves, vast caves, and the imposing presence of Wheeler Peak, the second-highest peak in Nevada. As you ascend the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive, the rugged terrain gradually transforms into a mesmerizing alpine environment. Bristlecone pines, some of the oldest living trees on Earth, punctuate the landscape, creating a surreal and ancient ambiance.

Enjoy at the crystal-clear night skies, designated as an International Dark Sky Park, providing unparalleled stargazing opportunities.

The park has numerous hiking trails catering to different skill levels. The Bristlecone Trail offers a moderate trek through the ancient groves, while more seasoned hikers can tackle the challenging Wheeler Peak Summit Trail.

Great Basin National Park, Nevada
Great Basin National Park, Nevada

Due to the park’s elevation, ranging from 6,000 to 13,000 feet, temperatures can vary significantly. Summers are mild, but winter brings snow and colder conditions. Check the weather and road conditions before your visit, and be prepared for seasonal changes.

13. Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

Approximately a 5-hour drive northeast of Las Vegas, Capitol Reef is a National Park in Utah that stands as a lesser-known treasure than its more famous counterparts. Despite its relatively subdued reputation, this park is a marvel of the desert, showcasing colorful canyons, monolithic sandstone domes, and intricately eroded rock formations.

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Capitol Reef National Park, Utah. Cathedral Valley

Nestled in the heart of Utah, Capitol Reef National Park features the mesmerizing Waterpocket Fold, a nearly 100-mile-long warp in the Earth’s crust. Named for the distinctive white Navajo Sandstone domes reminiscent of the U.S. Capitol, the park unfolds as a kaleidoscope of vibrant rock layers, deep canyons, and unique formations.

For first-time visitors, commence your exploration with the scenic Capitol Reef Drive, a 25-mile odyssey through the heart of the park. Be sure to pause at iconic stops like Panorama Point and Sunset Point for panoramic views of the surreal landscape.

Capitol Reef is designated as a Dark Sky Park, making it an ideal location for stargazing. Bring binoculars or a telescope and join ranger-led programs to unravel the mysteries of the night sky.

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Scenic Byway in Capitol Reef National Park

14. Yosemite National Park, California

Yosemite National Park, one of the most iconic national parks in the United States, lies approximately a 6-hour drive northwest of Las Vegas. Crossing state lines into California, visitors embark on a journey into the heart of the Sierra Nevada mountains, where Yosemite’s stunning granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, and towering sequoias await.

Famed for its breathtaking landscapes, Yosemite is home to the majestic El Capitan and Half Dome cliffs. The park also boasts the powerful Yosemite Falls, one of the tallest waterfalls in the world. With over 800 miles of trails, Yosemite caters to hikers of all abilities and provides ample opportunities for rock climbing, camping, and wildlife viewing.

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Yosemite National Park, California.

While Yosemite Valley is the most visited area of the park, regions like Tuolumne Meadows and the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias offer a quieter experience with equally stunning scenery.

Given that Yosemite is one of the most visited National Parks in the US, make sure to book your accommodations, as campgrounds fill up quickly, especially in the peak summer months. Book well in advance to secure your spot.

A day trip to Yosemite National Park from Las Vegas is nearly impossible given the distance, so consider a multi-day visit to fully appreciate the vast beauty and recreational opportunities the park has to offer.

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Yosemite National Park, California. Yosemite Valley

15. Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona

  • Driving distance from Las Vegas: 370 miles
  • Driving time: 5 hours 40 minutes

Petrified Forest National Park is situated roughly a 6-hour drive east of Las Vegas, near the border of Arizona and New Mexico. This park stands out for its vast collection of fossilized trees, dating back millions of years when the region was a lush forest. Now, it presents a striking landscape dotted with the vibrant colors of the petrified wood and the unique geology of the Painted Desert.

The best way to start your exploration within the park is to drive the scenic road and witness the expansive beauty of the Painted Desert. Stop at viewpoints such as Tawa Point and Chinde Point for panoramic vistas that showcase the vastness of this ancient landscape.

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Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona

Many of the best views and experiences within the park come from its accessible trails and historic sites. Here, the remains of ancient trees have been crystallized over time into rainbow-hued stone logs, creating a natural gallery of geological and paleontological wonders.

Trails like Crystal Forest and Blue Mesa feature close-up views of petrified wood and badland hills. Take a walk to see these marvels up close.

Explore the Puerco Pueblo, an ancient Native American archaeological site within the park. Marvel at the petroglyphs etched into the rocks, offering a glimpse into the lives of those who once called this region home.

16. Sequoia National Park, California

  • Driving distance from Las Vegas: 380 miles
  • Driving time: 6 hours 10 minutes

Sequoia National Park is about a 7-hour drive west of Las Vegas, nestled in the southern Sierra Nevada mountains of California. Though it’s often overshadowed by nearby Yosemite, this park is a haven of towering trees, rugged landscapes, and unmatched natural beauty.

Known for its massive sequoia trees, especially the famous General Sherman Tree—considered the world’s largest tree—Sequoia National Park boasts giants that stand tall with timeless grandeur, creating an awe-inspiring atmosphere.

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Sequoia National Park, California

For a breathtaking panoramic view, climb Moro Rock. Though the ascent is steep, the reward is the stunning landscape surrounding you.

To fully immerse yourself in the natural surroundings, consider camping in the park. Lodgepole Campground is a popular choice, offering a peaceful setting among the giant sequoias.

The park experiences distinct seasons. Summer provides pleasant hiking conditions, while winter blankets the landscape in snow, creating a unique and serene atmosphere. Check weather conditions before your visit for a more enjoyable experience.

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Sequoia National Park, California. Crescent Meadow.

17. Kings Canyon National Park, California

  • Driving distance from Las Vegas: 420 miles
  • Driving time: 6 hours 45 minutes

Positioned approximately a 7-hour drive from Las Vegas, Kings Canyon National Park often shares the spotlight with the adjacent Sequoia National Park, renowned for hosting the biggest trees in the world.

Kings Canyon itself is celebrated for its dramatic, deep-cut valleys, with the titular Kings Canyon ranking among the deepest canyons in North America. The park also boasts an array of serene meadows, giant sequoias, and powerful waterfalls, providing a tranquil escape into nature.

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Kings Canyon National Park, California

To commence your exploration, visit Grant Grove, home to the General Grant Tree, another massive sequoia. This grove offers a less crowded but equally impressive alternative to the Sequoia General Sherman area.

Embark on a hike to Zumwalt Meadow, where a relatively easy trail provides a peaceful hiking experience with striking canyon views and access to meadows and river scenery.

Drive the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway; this route offers breathtaking views of the park. Make sure to stop at various lookout points for picture-perfect views of the canyon.

Given the park’s active black bear population, use bear-proof storage boxes for food and scented items, and familiarize yourself with proper procedures in the event of an encounter.

Kings Canyon Scenic Byway
Kings Canyon Scenic Byway

To maximize your time, I always suggest visiting  Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park on the same trip. If time permits, consider adding Yosemite to your itinerary for an extended Sierra Mountains park experience.

18. Arches National Park, Utah

Arches National Park stands as one of the most iconic and visually stunning parks in the United States. Boasting over 2,000 natural stone arches, this national park unveils a distinctive landscape of contrasting colors, landforms, and textures not commonly found in the areas near Las Vegas.

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Arches National Park, Utah.

A highlight among Utah’s “Mighty 5,” this park treats visitors to monumental views, featuring renowned landmarks like the delicate Delicate Arch, the expansive Landscape Arch, and the towering Double Arch. Beyond the arches, the park showcases towering spires, pinnacles, and balanced rocks, crafting a terrain that appears almost otherworldly.

For an enhanced experience, consider exploring the park during the serene moments of sunrise or sunset. The arches and rock formations exhibit even more vivid colors during these golden hours, providing unparalleled photo opportunities and cooler temperatures for your explorations.

I recommend planning your visit to Arches National Park during the spring (March to May) and fall (September to October) seasons. It’s advisable to avoid the peak summer months (June to August) when temperatures can surpass 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32°C), potentially making outdoor activities less enjoyable and even miserable.

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Arches National Park, Utah. North Window Arch.

19. Canyonlands National Park, Utah

  • Driving distance from Las Vegas: 470 miles
  • Driving time: 6 hours 50 minutes

Nestled approximately 330 miles northeast of Las Vegas, Canyonlands National Park beckons adventurers to explore its rugged beauty. Located near the town of Moab in southeastern Utah, this park is a testament to the raw power of the Colorado River and the geological forces that have shaped the landscape over millions of years.

Canyonlands National Park is vast, divided into three distinct districts by the canyons carved by the Colorado and Green Rivers. Each district—Island in the Sky, The Needles, and The Maze —offers a unique and mesmerizing array of canyons, mesas, buttes, arches, and panoramic vistas.

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Canyonlands National Park, Utah. Colorado River.

Island in the Sky: Perched atop a massive mesa, this district provides expansive overlooks of the canyons below. Visitors can marvel at the vastness of the landscape, including iconic features like Mesa Arch and Grand View Point.

The Needles: Characterized by colorful spires and rock formations, The Needles district is a playground for hikers and backpackers. Trails like Chesler Park and Joint Trail showcase the intricate beauty of this remote area.

The Maze: Accessible only by rugged backcountry routes, The Maze is a true wilderness experience. It offers solitude and challenges for those seeking a remote and untouched landscape.

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Canyonlands National Park, Utah. Dead Horse Point.

Due to the vastness of Canyonlands, plan your visit with a specific district or activity in mind. Each area offers unique experiences, and it’s important to allocate sufficient time for exploration.

FAQ: National Parks Near Las Vegas

What is the Closest National Park to Las Vegas?

The closest national park to Las Vegas is Death Valley National Park. While Death Valley is primarily accessible from the California side, it is the nearest national park to Las Vegas, located roughly 120 miles west of the city.

How Many National Parks in Nevada?

Great Basin National Park is the only national park in Nevada.

What are the “Mighty 5” National Parks in Utah?

The “Mighty 5” refers to a group of five national parks located in the state of Utah, each known for its unique and breathtaking geological features. These distinguished national parks near Las Vegas include Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, and Zion National Park

National Parks Near Las Vegas | Conclusion

Las Vegas is a great city with plenty of attractions and things to do for the average person. But if you are like me and love the outdoors, it can be the perfect starting point to get out and visit some of the best national and state parks and landscapes in the country. With its close proximity to some of the best national parks near Las Vegas and breathtaking landscapes, the city becomes an unparalleled starting point for an unforgettable adventure!

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by Viktor Elizarov
I am a travel photographer and educator from Montreal, Canada, and a founder of PhotoTraces. I travel around the world and share my experiences here. Feel free to check my Travel Portfolio and download Free Lightroom Presets.

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