Punch the clock — but hold off on that Netflix binge session. Energize your weekday evening with one of these quick, fun, after-work hikes
You’ve swooshed off your last email, Googled your last goog, and that victorious punch on the clock is minutes away. It’s a warm spring afternoon, and the thought of cramming yourself into an overcrowded gym suddenly looms like a dark, Arnold Schwarzenegger-shaped cloud. But here’s something to pump you up again. This is the perfect time of year to stay outdoors for your daily exercise rituals. One of the best perks of living in Southern Nevada is having the option to hike a mountain and dine at a James Beard Award-winning restaurant all in the same afternoon! There are trails all over the valley that are easily accessible and walkable — before the sun sets.
No tedious planning. No heavy packs. No special clothing. Just grab a good pair of shoes and a bottle of water, and you’re ready to go.
Have a peaceful evening stroll — or post-work cardio blowout — at this northwest gem
As its name implies — okay, states outright — this mountain stands by itself among the surrounding residential neighborhoods and several nearby parks. The trail is accessible from multiple entry points, including Lone Mountain Regional Park and the trailhead at the corner of North Vegas Vistas Trail and West Holloway Heights Avenue. It’s an uphill hike, but the trail is flat and graded, so it’s good for runners or even those with strollers. For a cardio boost, several paths diverge from the main trail and go directly up the mountain to rock overhangs and peaks. This trail is great for beginners or anyone looking for an easy after-work jaunt. And even though it’s well-populated, you can still catch some desert wildlife hopping around on the mountain side. Hey, critters have to relax after work, too.
Location: 4445 N. Jensen St.
Distance: 2.25 miles
Time: 45 minutes
Elevation gain: 183 feet*
Fossil Ridge Ravine Loop
Time-travel to the distant past on this Red Rock-adjacent hike with stunning views
On the way up this trek, take a closer look at the ground you walk on. Permian Extinction fossils can be found throughout this hike in the rocks and boulders right underneath your feet. (Can you believe this desert was once ... the ocean?!) Once you hit the ridge, look up. Stunning 180-degree views of the west side of Red Rock National Conservation Area surround you. Because the trail is next to the Cowboy Trail Rides, horses and horseback riders are often present, as well as mountain bikers. Trot by the corrals on your way back to the car to say hello to Jackson the Red Rock Canyon Burro.
Location: On the northwest side of Blue Diamond Hill across from Red Rock NCA
Distance: 2.4 miles
Time: 1 hour
Elevation gain: 421 feet
Sloan Canyon 101
Break off a piece of this big hike for a bite-sized, after-hours power-up
In its entirety, this hike is probably a bit too long for an after-work trek. But the easy, winding nature of the path lends itself perfectly to making the journey as long or as short as you want. I went to the Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area with the noble intention of completing the Petroglyph Canyon hike, but I changed course because I had my four-legged hiking buddy with me. I learned that dogs are not allowed on the Petroglyph Canyon hike because it is bighorn sheep-breeding territory — but dogs are allowed on the adjacent 101 trail. I was not disappointed. It took me about an hour and a half to do four miles of the hike — two miles out and two back in.
Location: Nawghaw Poa Road, Henderson
Distance: 6.92 miles
Time: 1-3 hours
Elevation gain: 584 feet
Calico Basin (from the Red Spring Picnic Area)
It’s like Red Rock — but without all the, you know, Red Rock hassles
The Calico Basin area is an outlier to the Red Rock Canyon Scenic Loop, and it’s a good way to enjoy the unique red sandstone without (shhhhh!) paying the entrance fee to the proper loop. From the Red Spring parking lot, take the trailhead to your right. Stay to the right once you reach the base of the mountains, where you can follow the trail over to the Calico Spring area. A sea of pink, white, red, and brown waves crash through this desert oasis hike. This is another hike that’s easy to customize — make it as easy or as hard as you like.
I tried my hand at some rock scrambling near the base of the mountain known as Cannibal Crag, which is also a good spot to post up and watch the legit rock climbers — just look straight up.
Location: Turn right on Calico Basin Road before the Red Rock NCA turnoff
Distance: 3-4 miles
Time: Less than 2 hours
Elevation Gain: 562 feet
Note: Be aware that Calico Basin has a private residential community. Please stick to public trails, don't trespass, and generally treat the area with the same consideration as you would any other public recreation amenity.
This former mining territory is a little rough around the edges —
but the panoramic valley views really pay off
Gypsum Ridge is an area composed of about 1,200 acres of old mining territory on the west side of the valley. With a similar elevation to that of Sunrise Mountain or Lone Mountain, it provides spectacular panoramic views of the Strip’s casinos from the top. Aside from lovestruck/mischief-prone teenagers who occasionally frequent the caves in the area, this is a pretty easy walk that has a good cardio warmup at the beginning. Note: There’s not a shade tree to be found on this hike, so take advantage of springtime’s mild temperatures for this one. Added bonus if there’s a good wildflower bloom.
Location: Trailhead near Warm Springs and Fort Apache Roads
Distance: 4.1 miles
Time: 1.25 hours
Elevation gain: 446 feet
*Elevation figures are based on Rachel’s Apple Watch stats. Those stats reflect her actual hikes, not the complete hikes’ total elevation gains.