Las Vegas is known for its casinos, nightlife, and luxury hotels. But did you know there are 19 incredible national parks near Las Vegas? Within an eight-hour drive of Sin City, you’ll find narrow slot canyons, mystical hoodoos, bucket-list-worthy geologic landmarks, and skyscraping mountains.
From Las Vegas, you can drive to national parks and national monuments across Nevada, Utah, California, and Arizona. If you’re looking to combine a trip to some of America’s best national parks with a city escape, look no further than Las Vegas!
This guide covers the best Las Vegas national parks, with the highlights and must-see destinations.
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How many National Parks are near Las Vegas?
There are 12 national parks near Las Vegas, including national parks across Nevada, Utah, California, and Arizona. In addition, there are dozens more national monuments and recreation areas within driving distance of Las Vegas.
This guide covers the 12 national parks near Las Vegas and the seven best national monuments and recreation areas closest to Las Vegas.
Best National Parks Near Las Vegas
There are 63 national parks in the United States, and Las Vegas is within a seven-hour drive from 12 of them! Its proximity to many parks makes Las Vegas the best gateway to national parks in America and the perfect place to start national park road trips to California, Utah, and Arizona.
This section covers the 12 national parks closest to Las Vegas, ranked from nearest to farthest.
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1. Death Valley National Park
- Closest City: Lone Pine, California and Beatty, Nevada
- Distance from Las Vegas: 2 Hours / 135 Miles
Death Valley is the closest national park to Las Vegas, only two hours away. The park sits on the border of Nevada and California and is famous for being the hottest, lowest, and driest place in North America.
It’s also the largest national park in the contiguous United States!
While Death Valley may seem like a barren desert wasteland, it isn’t! The park has colorful canyons, scenic sunrises, and jagged mountain peaks. Telescope Peak stands at over 11,000 feet tall, only a short distance away from the lowest point in North America.
On a summer day, temperatures often reach over 120 degrees. However, from late fall to early spring, temperatures are more pleasant. Spring is also the best time to catch the wildflower super bloom, typically from late March to early April.
Death Valley has many incredible landscapes, from the rolling dunes at Mesquite Flats to stunning viewpoints like Zabriskie Point and Artist’s Point.
You can stand at the lowest point in North America at Badwater Basin, located at 280 feet below sea level.
2. Zion National Park
- Closest City: Springdale, Utah
- Distance from Las Vegas: 2 Hours 30 Minutes / 160 Miles
Zion National Park is the closest of Utah’s “Mighty 5” national parks to Las Vegas. Located 2.5 hours from Sin City, Zion National Park makes for the perfect weekend getaway.
This park is the oldest and most visited in Utah and arguably one of the best the state offers
Zion is home to towering sandstone canyons and plenty of shrubby greenery, unlike any other park in Utah. The Virgin River flows through the heart of Zion Canyon, transforming the desert into an oasis. The rushing river and its waterfalls are only a few of the things that make Zion magnificent.
Bucket list hikes like Angels Landing, The Narrows, and Observation Point bring millions of adventure seekers each year.
But even if you aren’t up for a challenging hike, you can see beautiful landscapes in Zion along the easier Emerald Pools, Canyon Overlook, or Riverside Walk trails.
From spring through fall, the park sees massive crowds and requires all visitors to take the Zion National Park shuttle along Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. One of the best ways to avoid crowds in Zion is to start your day at sunrise!
For additional natural beauty, don’t miss stopping at Valley of Fire State Park on the way to Zion from Las Vegas!
3. Joshua Tree National Park
- Closest City: Twentynine Palms, California
- Distance from Las Vegas: 3 Hours / 185 Miles
Joshua Tree National Park is one of California’s most visited national parks, located only 3 hours from Las Vegas. This retreat in Southern California is the perfect weekend getaway from Las Vegas.
If you’re looking to relax after hiking in Joshua Tree, a spa in Palm Springs is only a short drive away.
The park sits at a junction of the Colorado Desert and the Mojave Desert. In Joshua Tree, you’ll find its quirky, namesake Joshua Trees. Beyond that, the park is filled with giant boulders, Cholla cactuses, and beautiful mountain viewpoints.
Massive, fascinating rock formations like Skull Rock and Arch Rock cover Park Boulevard, the main route through the park. Joshua Tree truly comes alive at sunrise and sunset, casting a unique golden glow and elongated shadows across the desert.
While there are plenty of beautiful sunrise spots in Joshua Tree, the best place to start your day is at the Cholla Cactus Garden.
Then, head to Keys Views at sunset, one of the highest points in the park, to overlook the Coachella Valley and Palm Springs.
4. Bryce Canyon National Park
- Closest City: Tropic, Utah
- Distance from Las Vegas: 3 Hours 45 Minutes / 260 Miles
Bryce Canyon National Park is one of the unique landscapes of the United States and is located less than a four-hour drive from Las Vegas! You can easily combine a trip to Bryce Canyon with Zion National Park when starting from Las Vegas.
This popular park is home to the largest concentration of hoodoos in the world! Hoodoos are orange and beige spires formed long ago by erosion and cover the landscape in Bryce Canyon.
The most popular thing to do in the park is the Bryce Canyon Scenic Drive. The scenic drive takes just half a day.
Don’t miss the 20 scenic viewpoints along the way, including Rainbow Point, Sunrise Point, Sunset Point, and Bryce Point.
One of the best ways to see the hoodoos up close is on a hike. The best trails in the park include the Queen’s Garden and Navajo Loop Trail, Peek-a-Boo Loop Trail, and the Rim Trail.
Bryce Canyon National Park is also a certified International Dark Sky Park, making it one of the best places in the world to stargaze and see the Milky Way.
After stargazing, stick around for sunrise over the Bryce Amphitheater when the hoodoos are painted vibrant orange, pink, and purple.
5. Grand Canyon National Park
- Closest City: Tusayan, Arizona (South Rim) and Fredonia, Arizona (North Rim)
- Distance from Las Vegas to South Rim: 4 Hours 15 Minutes / 280 Miles
- Distance from Las Vegas to North Rim: 3 Hours 30 Minutes / 225 Miles
Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most iconic destinations in the United States. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a Wonder of the World. Located about 4 hours from Las Vegas, a weekend trip to the Grand Canyon can easily be done.
The national park is separated into two central regions: the North and South Rims. The South Rim is home to Grand Canyon Village, which has more amenities and is the most visited area of the park.
However, the North Rim is a bit closer to Las Vegas but is only open during the summer.
If you only have time to visit one rim of the Grand Canyon, make it the South Rim.
The best thing to do along the Grand Canyon’s South Rim is to explore the viewpoints along Desert View Drive and Hermit Road overlooking the canyon. Don’t miss Ooh Aah Point for incredible views!
If you’re interested in hiking, don’t miss the Bright Angel Trail or the South Kaibab Trail. In addition, the Rim to Rim Trail makes for an excellent backpacking trip for more adventurous hikers.
For a day trip to the Grand Canyon, consider visiting the West Rim instead. While not technically part of the national park, this rim is only 2 hours from Las Vegas and offers the SkyWalk viewing area.
Read more about Grand Canyon National Park:
– Top Rated: 22 Things to Do at the Grand Canyon South Rim
– Viewpoints: 22 Best Views at the Grand Canyon
– Where to Stay: Best Places to Stay near the Grand Canyon
6. Great Basin National Park
- Closest City: Baker, Nevada
- Distance from Las Vegas: 4 Hours 30 Minutes / 300 Miles
Great Basin National Park is located about 4.5 hours north of Las Vegas in northern Nevada. This remote park sits along Highway 50, known as the “Loneliest Road in America”.
Great Basin is also home to the oldest living tree in the world, the Bristlecone Pines!
The park is named after the Great Basin watershed, one of the largest in North America. The watershed extends from Oregon to Southern California and across Nevada into Utah.
Here you’ll find a mix of alpine landscapes and deep limestone caverns. One of the park’s best activities is the Lehman Caves tour.
If you are more interested in hiking, don’t miss the Alpine Lakes Loop Trail, the Bristlecone Trail, and the Wheeler Peak Summit Trail.
Great Basin National Park is also a certified International Dark Sky Park, making it one of the best national parks near Las Vegas to stargaze. In September, the park hosts the annual Great Basin Astronomy Festival!
7. Capitol Reef National Park
- Closest City: Torrey, Utah
- Distance from Las Vegas: 5 Hours / 335 Miles
Capitol Reef National Park is one of Utah’s lesser-visited national parks, located about 5 hours away from Las Vegas. However, this park is often included as a part of a trip to every Utah national park, best done as a week-long road trip from Las Vegas!
While Capitol Reef is lesser-known, it still has plenty to offer! The region provides a unique mix of historical landmarks and stunning landscapes surrounding the park’s hallmark feature, the Waterpocket Fold.
The Waterpocket Fold is a 100-mile-long rift in the Earth’s surface, creating deep, narrow canyons. It was some of the last lands in the contiguous 48 states to be charted by cartographers.
Today, the park shares the history of early Mormon settlers and the indigenous Fremont people.
Beyond exploring the park’s history, visitors can enjoy the 8-mile Capitol Reef Scenic Drive and hike popular trails like Hickman’s Bridge Trail, the Capitol Gorge Trail, and the Cassidy Arch Trail.
If you’re seeking solitude, Capitol Reef has plenty to explore in the Cathedral Valley District, like the Temple of the Sun and Moon.
Read More: 15 Best Things to Do in Capitol Reef
8. Petrified Forest National Park
- Closest City: Holbrook, Arizona
- Distance from Las Vegas: 5 Hours / 370 Miles
Located 5 hours from Las Vegas in eastern Arizona, Petrified Forest National Park protects ancient petrified trees said to be more than 200 million years old. The park is split into two regions: the Painted Desert, home to colorful clay hills, and the Petrified Forest.
The park’s namesake feature, the Petrified Forest, has a large concentration of petrified wood. These trees have turned to stone after being buried under sediment and minerals for millions of years. The petrified wood here is estimated to be 225 million years old.
The best hikes in Petrified Forest include the Blue Mesa Trail and the Crystal Forest Loop.
History buffs will love the park’s museums and ancient ruins. The park includes Puerco Pueblo, one of the largest pueblos in North America, with over 100 rooms. In addition, don’t miss the Painted Desert Inn located along historic Route 66 and the Rainbow Forest Museum.
9. Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks
- Closest City: Visalia, California
- Distance from Las Vegas: 5 Hours 45 Minutes / 380 Miles
Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park are located adjacent to each other in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California, about 6 hours from Las Vegas.
The parks are jointly operated, sharing entrance stations, park resources, and a website!
Together, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks protect giant sequoia trees and majestic mountain landscapes, including Mount Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous United States. The largest tree in the world, the General Sherman Tree, can be found here.
In addition to the General Sherman Tree, don’t miss exploring more giant sequoias along the Congress Trail, the Big Trees Trail, and the General Grant Grove Trail.
Outside the sequoia groves, trails like the Mist Falls Trail, located at the end of the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway, and the Moro Rock Trail offer excellent views of the towering Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Read More About Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks:
– 18 Best Hikes in Sequoia
– Best Campgrounds in Sequoia
– Best Time of Year to Visit Sequoia
– 8 Best Hikes in Kings Canyon
– 7 Best Campgrounds in Kings Canyon
10. Yosemite National Park
- Closest City: Mariposa, California
- Distance from Las Vegas to Yosemite Valley: 6 Hours 45 Minutes / 450 Miles
- Distance from Las Vegas to Tioga Pass: 5 Hours 15 Minutes / 335 Miles
Yosemite National Park is one of America’s most popular and scenic national parks. Located around 6 hours from Las Vegas, a trip to Yosemite can be visited on a long weekend or a more extended road trip, adding Death Valley, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon.
The most iconic part of the park is Yosemite Valley, where towering canyon walls, grassy meadows, and flowing waterfalls are abundant. Famous granite peaks like El Capitan and Half Dome stand out amongst the Sierras and are best seen from Tunnel View.
There are plenty of incredible bucket-list-worthy activities in Yosemite National Park, including hikes like the Lower and Upper Yosemite Falls Trail, the Mist Trail to Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls, and the Sentinel Dome and Taft Point Loop.
In the summer, visitors can explore other areas of the park outside of Yosemite Valley, like Glacier Point Road and Tioga Pass Road to Tuolumne Meadows.
Yosemite is also one of the best places to see giant sequoias outside Sequoia National Park. Mariposa Grove features groves of giant sequoias accessible on a short hike.
11. Arches National Park
- Closest City: Moab, Utah
- Distance from Las Vegas: 6 Hours 15 Minutes / 450 Miles
Arches National Park is one of Utah’s most photographed national parks, known for its bright orange sandstone arches. Located about 6 hours from Las Vegas, this park provides one of the best opportunities to see natural arches, with more than 2,000 within the park boundary!
The most iconic arch in the park is the Delicate Arch, a tall formation perched on a rocky cliff edge. The arch is best reached on a strenuous 3-mile hike, perfect for sunrise or sunset.
Many arches are located along short hikes from the main road. Popular trails include the Park Avenue Trail, the Double Arch Trail, and The Windows Loop. Those looking for longer hikes will enjoy the 8-mile Devil’s Garden Trail.
The park also offers ranger-led tours of the Fiery Furnace, a complex maze of arches and canyons in the heart of the park.
Read More: 22 Best Places to Stay Near Arches
12. Canyonlands National Park
- Closest City: Moab, Utah
- Distance from Las Vegas: 6 Hours 30 Minutes / 465 Miles
Canyonlands National Park is located about 30 minutes from Arches National Park near Moab, Utah. Therefore, a trip to Canyonlands from Las Vegas is best combined with Arches, given their close location.
The park is split into four regions, with Island in the Sky being the most visited and accessible. Visitors seeking longer hikes and a bit more solitude will enjoy The Needles District.
The Island in the Sky District is home to Mesa Arch, the most photographed arch in Utah. Mesa Arch at sunrise offers incredible views of the park’s deep canyon carved out by the Green River and the Colorado River.
In addition, the scenic drive through Island in the Sky offers plenty of spectacular viewpoints, including the Grand View Point Trail, the Buck Canyon Overlook, the Green River Overlook, and the Shafer Trail Overlook.
In the Needles District, the Druid Arch Trail is perfect for adventurous hikers but requires AWD to reach the trailhead.
National Monuments & Recreation Areas Near Las Vegas
In addition to the incredible national parks near Las Vegas, seven must-see national monuments and national recreation areas are within driving distance. While this post isn’t a comprehensive list of every national park site in the area, it does cover the most scenic and impressive parks close to Las Vegas.
13. Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument
- Closest City: Las Vegas, Nevada
- Distance from Las Vegas: 20 Minutes / 18 Miles
Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument is the closest national monument to Las Vegas, located only 20 minutes from the strip. Therefore, visiting this park is the perfect half-day trip from Las Vegas.
The park protects ancient Ice Age fossils and is home to a large site of fossils from the Pleistocene Epoch. In addition, fossils of large mammals like Columbian mammoths, camels, bison, sloths, and American lions can be found here.
The best hike in the park takes you to the Big Dig in the southern area of the park. This dig site was excavated in 1962 and contained large mammal fossils.
Another excellent hike is the Aliante Loop Temporary Trail which provides a quick overview of the park.
14. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
- Closest City: Las Vegas, Nevada
- Distance from Las Vegas: 25 Minutes / 20 Miles
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is one of the most visited national recreation areas near Las Vegas. Red Rock is only 30 minutes from the strip and can be seen in just a half-day.
The park is known for its striped red sandstone cliffs and rock formations, best seen on a trip along the park’s 13-mile scenic drive.
There are also several opportunities for hiking, including the 3-mile Calico Tanks Trail or the more challenging Ice Box Trail. In addition, the Lost Canyon Children’s Discovery Trail provides an excellent activity for families with children.
15. Lake Mead National Recreation Area
- Closest City: Boulder City, Nevada
- Distance from Las Vegas: 45 Minutes / 40 Miles
A trip to Hoover Dam and Lake Mead National Recreation Area is one of the most popular day trips from Las Vegas. Located less than an hour away, a trip to these water-filled areas provides a much-needed escape from the desert heat.
The Hoover Dam, located adjacent to Lake Mead National Recreation Area, towers 725 feet over the Colorado River. Visitors can tour the dam and take in the views from the Observation Deck and the bridge overlooking the dam.
Next door, Lake Mead is the largest man-made reservoir in the United States and was created by the Hoover Dam. The best way to experience the park is by getting out on the water! Popular activities include swimming, boating, fishing, paddle boarding, and water skiing.
There’s also hiking near Lake Mead, including the Railroad Tunnel Trail, the Lovell Wash and Anniversary Narrows Slot Canyon Trail, and the Secret Canyon Trail. The best time to hike is in the winter when temperatures are cooler, as the summer heat can be dangerous.
16. Mojave National Preserve
- Closest City: Baker, California
- Distance from Las Vegas: 1 Hour / 70 Miles
Mojave National Preserve is tucked between Joshua Tree and Death Valley in Southern California, only one hour from Las Vegas. So if you crave desert landscapes, a trip to the Mojave desert is the perfect Las Vegas day trip.
The national preserve is home to sand dunes, cinder cone volcanoes, mountain peaks, and Joshua Trees. In the spring, you can even see wildflowers! The park is also filled with abandoned mines and homesteads.
If you have a day at Mojave National Preserve, don’t miss the Kelso Dunes. These 700-foot-tall dunes provide some of the best views of the area!
17. Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
- Closest City: Page, Arizona
- Distance from Las Vegas: 4 Hours 15 Minutes / 270 Miles
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is shared between Utah and Arizona, protecting the land around Lake Powell and the Colorado River. About 4 hours from Las Vegas, a trip to Glen Canyon is the perfect weekend trip from Las Vegas.
The most popular destination in Glen Canyon is Horseshoe Bend. This photo-famous spot overlooks a sharp turn in the river below and is incredible at sunset.
On Lake Powell, you can explore the park on the water by boating, fishing, kayaking, paddleboarding, or water skiing.
Seasoned hikers can make the 15-mile hike to Reflection Canyon for true solitude and incredible natural beauty. However, you’ll need to drive 50 miles on a 4WD road to get to the trailhead.
18. Lake Powell Navajo Tribal Park
- Closest City: Page, Arizona
- Distance from Las Vegas: 4 Hours 15 Minutes / 275 Miles
Another must-see park in the Page area is the Lake Powell Navajo Tribal Park. Located only a short distance from Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, these two parks can be visited in one weekend.
This park is most known for Antelope Canyon, a spectacular, photogenic slot canyon and one of the most visited slot canyons in the world. The canyon was initially formed by a series of flash floods followed by hot temperatures, causing erosion of the sandstone rock walls.
The only way to see Antelope Canyon is on a guided tour of the Navajo Nation’s land. The canyon is divided into two sections, the Upper Canyon and the Lower Canyon. Both can be seen on a guided tour where you learn about the history and geology of the area.
19. Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park
- Closest City: Monument, Valley, Arizona
- Distance from Las Vegas: 6 Hours 15 Minutes / 400 Miles
Monument Valley is another iconic feature located along the Utah-Arizona border. The famed desert landscape filled with mesa, buttes, and spires has been featured in movies like Forrest Gump and is a popular place to visit on an Arizona or Utah road trip.
This unique landscape is located entirely within Navajo Nation land, forming the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. One of the best ways to see the park is on a guided tour with a local Navajo guide, where you can learn about tribal customs and traditions.
Several beautiful hikes in the park, including the Wildcat Trail, provide must-see views of Mitten Buttes and Merrick Butte. Much of the park can also be seen on a 17-mile scenic drive.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Las Vegas National Parks
Which National Park is located within a few hours’ drive from Las Vegas?
Death Valley National Park is the closest national park to Las Vegas, located about 2 hours and 120 miles away from downtown Las Vegas. Death Valley’s close location to Las Vegas makes it the perfect opportunity for a national park day trip from Las Vegas.
What is the closest National Park in Utah to Las Vegas?
The closest national park in Utah to Las Vegas is Zion National Park, about 2.5 hours and 165 miles northeast of the city. A trip to Zion National Park is perfectly combined with Bryce Canyon National Park for a weekend trip from Las Vegas.
Where are the closest sequoia trees to Las Vegas?
The closest sequoia trees to Las Vegas are found in Sequoia National Park, about 6 hours and 380 miles away from the heart of Las Vegas. Sequoia National Park is home to giant sequoias, including the General Sherman Tree, the largest tree in the world.
Is Hoover Dam a national park?
While Hoover Dam is not an official national park, it is still federally protected land. Hoover Dam is part of the United States Bureau of Reclamation and is located next to Lake Mead National Recreation Area. While the Bureau of Reclamation is not part of the National Park Service, National Recreation Areas are.
Final Thoughts on National Parks Near Las Vegas
While there are many national parks near Las Vegas, these are the best and should be considered for any national park road trip from Las Vegas.
These are the 19 best national parks near Las Vegas:
- Death Valley National Park
- Zion National Park
- Joshua Tree National Park
- Bryce Canyon National Park
- Grand Canyon National Park
- Great Basin National Park
- Capitol Reef National Park
- Yosemite National Park
- Petrified Forest National Park
- Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks
- Arches National Park
- Canyonlands National Park
- Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
- Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument
- Lake Mead National Recreation Area
- Mojave National Preserve
- Lake Powell Navajo Tribal Park
- Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
- Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park
Ready to start planning your Las Vegas national parks road trip? You’ll love these posts:
- California: 16 Best National Parks in California
- Southern Utah: 14 Best National Parks in Southern Utah
- Joshua Tree: One Day in Joshua Tree Itinerary
- Utah Road Trip: 8-Day Utah National Parks Road Trip
- Zion & Bryce: 3 Days in Zion & Bryce Canyon
- Capitol Reef: 15 Best Things to Do in Capitol Reef
- Canyonlands: 12 Best Hikes in Canyonlands
- Yosemite: One Day in Yosemite Itinerary
- Sequoia: 18 Best Hikes in Sequoia National Park
- Kings Canyon: 8 Best Hikes in Kings Canyon
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